Beyond Words by Carl Safina

(What Animals Think and Feel)

Once in a while I just have to write about an important book that does not easily fall into the categories I usually write on here. This is one such book. It will move you, inform you and delight you. It is important, now and then, to read a book like this that tells us something important about our world.

Safina examines what we know, what we think we know and what we do not know about how animals think and feel. He traces our misguided ideas from the past including the beliefs that allowed the barbaric practice of vivisection to the newest discoveries of the present.

As a scientist Safina has struggled with what science is able to prove to the satisfaction of many scientists and what he finds undeniable if we will observe and interact with animals. The more closely we examine animal behavior the more undeniable it becomes that they do think and feel. One an even see behaviors in animals that are human like. Here he must struggle with those who warn against anthropomorphizing animals. He does not favor doing this and maintains they are their own species and they think and feel their own way, though there are often surprising similarities to humans.

He closely examines work being done with wild elephants in wildlife refuges in Africa, wolves in Yellowstone Park and finally Orca whales (which are actually dolphins) in Puget Sound. We see how all these highly social animals behave, interact and obviously feel. He brings us the great joy in seeing these animals express happiness, sadness, grief, and other powerful emotions as well as how immensely smart they can be. However he also brings us the deep sadness in seeing how we are killing these animals at such a rate that they face almost certain extinction.

This book is highly informative and moving. It will make you smile and it will make you cry. It is an outstanding book.

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.