The Science of Creating Connection and Bridging Divides

12 September 2023

Territory Rights — Worldwide.


We live in enormously polarised times. From politics to race, religion, gender and class, division runs rampant. In 2020, 40 percent of each political party said that supporters of the opposing party were “downright evil.” In 2019, hate crimes reached a ten-year high in the United States. One in five Americans suffers from chronic loneliness, with teenagers and young adults at increasing risk. Social ties at work, at school and in our communities have frayed. How did we become so alienated? Why is our sense of belonging so undermined? What if there were a set of science-backed techniques for navigating modern social life that could help us overcome our differences, create empathy and forge lasting connections even across divides? What if there were a useful set of takeaways for managers and educators of all stripes to create connection even during challenging times?

In Belonging, Stanford University professor Geoffrey L. Cohen applies his and others’ groundbreaking research to the myriad problems of communal existence and offers concrete solutions for improving daily life at work, in school, in our homes, and in our communities. We all feel a deep need to belong, but most of us don’t fully appreciate that need in others. Often inadvertently, we behave in ways that threaten others’ sense of belonging. Yet small acts that establish connection, brief activities such as reflecting on our core values, and a suite of practices that Cohen defines as “situation-crafting” have been shown to lessen political polarisation, improve motivation and performance in school and work, combat racism in our communities, enhance health and well-being and unleash the potential in ourselves and in our relationships. Belonging is essential for managers, educators, parents, administrators, caregivers and everyone who wants those around them to thrive.


"Cohen alternates between telling the deep history of successful social psychological interventions and focusing on modern interventions that are being used to astounding effect...If we want more people to have the chance to maximize their abilities and th" — Mattthew Lieberman, Science Magazine

"This book is a beacon of hope for our fractured times. A leading expert on belonging offers an engaging analysis of the science and practice of breaking down the barriers between people and building bridges to a more respectful world." — Adam Grant, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Think Again

"Belonging is a masterpiece of social psychology—well-researched, highly engaging, and fundamentally useful to anyone who wants to bring out the best in themselves and in others, whether at school, at home, or in the workplace. At a time of so much social disruption and disconnection, Geoffrey L. Cohen has provided a very helpful and profoundly hopeful guide, rooted in well-tested psychological principles, that we urgently need. Everyone should read this book!" — Beverly Daniel Tatum, author of Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? and Other Conversations About Race

"Belonging combines rich science, compelling stories, and beautiful prose to illuminate the social psychological principles behind the need to belong and how to foster belonging and connection in a fractured world. Reading this book will yield insig" — Sonja Lyubomirsky, author of The How of Happiness

"This book shines piercing illumination on one of today’s most timely topics—the causes and consequences of belonging to modern social groups. Importantly, it maps scientifically grounded routes to minimizing the harmful consequences while optimizing the p" — Robert B. Cialdini, PhD, author of Influence and Pre-Suasion



140 x 211 mm • 448 pages


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