How Faith in Friends–and Society–Improves Health, Wealth and Happiness
Trust. It sounds so natural, so easy, that we usually don’t think much about it. But it turns out that trust is central to almost every human action—and even small attempts to improve our faith in others can pay big rewards. People who trust more are happier, live longer, and make more money. One recent study found that even a small uptick in our feelings of trustworthiness can boost the economic growth by trillions of dollars.
But despite the growing recognition of the importance of social ties, trust is at an all-time low. People don’t have faith in government, and only 15 percent of Americans say that they trust that Washington will do what’s right, the lowest level ever recorded. People also increasingly fail to trust business, the media, the courts, or even their neighbors. Gold is trading at an all-time high because of a lack of faith in the dollar, while the Tea Party has become a major force in American politics by arguing that our government has failed its people—and should be almost entirely rolled back.
Many feel uneasy right now about our nation’s future, and the issue of trust is in the headlines almost every day as an eroding commodity. There’s the broken trust at Penn State, the missing funds at Jon Corzine’s brokerage firm, the shootings at Virginia Tech, the Occupy Wall Street protests over corporate greed, to name but a few of the recent stories of broken trust. In his State of the Union address, President Obama repeatedly pointed to the problem, at one point saying, “Let’s face it, we have a serious trust deficit in this nation. The American people no longer trust our institutions of power. And they no longer trust our elected officials.”
But we don’t want it to be this way. Science has shown that humans instinctively want—and need—to trust. The ability to trust and the capacity to be trusted provides improvements across myriad aspects of our personal and civic lives. And while we know the quality is something that we need, we often don’t know how to build our faith in others. Tentatively titled Code of Trust: How Faith in Friends–and Society–Improves Health, Wealth and Happiness uses science, history, psychology, economics, geopolitics, journalistic inquiry, and narrative storytelling to show readers that trust matters; how it contributes to personal longevity, a sense of fulfillment, and the wellness of societies; and how we can take active steps to restore trust in our lives and in our culture.
The book is filled with both big ideas and practical advice, with surprising revelations on nearly every page. It’s the rare book that will change how you think about almost every human interaction. The book will be released by New Harvest, the new book publishing arm of Amazon. The book will be distributed by HoughtonMifflin in both e-book and hardcover editions.