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David Robson on the Laws of Connection

Thursday 27th June

Topping & Company Booksellers of Edinburgh, 2 Blenheim Place, Edinburgh EH7 5JH
Doors Open
Start Time

David Robson is an award-winning science writer. He is the author of The Intelligence Trap, and The Expectation Effect, which was a Sunday Times and Financial Times Book of the Year, won the British Psychological Society Book Award and was a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week.

Now David joins us for his new book, The Laws of Connection, which reveals two important and fascinating areas of research. Firstly, he takes us through the science behind the effects of social connection, and secondly he unpacks the data that shows that we are all better at being social than we might think.

In the early 1960s scientists at the University of California, Berkeley set out to establish the key factors affecting health and longevity. Their results, known as the 'Alameda 7', you already know: don't smoke, drink in moderation, sleep seven to eight hours a night, exercise, eat regular meals, maintain a moderate weight, eat breakfast. Years later, however, the same team discovered an eighth factor, one that proved more important than all the others: social connection.

When we form meaningful bonds with others, our wounds heal faster, we shake off infections more quickly and our blood pressure drops. We are less likely to have Alzheimer's, heart attacks or strokes. When people feel that they have strong social support, they perform better on tests of mental focus, memory and problem solving. Greater connection can fuel creativity, increase our financial stability and enhance our work productivity. But making friends can also be daunting.

In The Laws of Connection we meet ideas such as 'the liking gap' and 'the gratitude gap', learn to recognise 'frenemies' and discover a powerful conversational strategy known as the 'fast-friends procedure' that promotes instant rapport. Being social doesn't have to mean having dozens of friends, it can also mean having one true, deep connection with another person. As Robson shows, we can all benefit from the laws of connection.