Review: ‘Friendfluence’ by Carlin Flora

by Kim on January 24, 2013 · 9 comments

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Title: Friendfluence: The Surprising Ways Friends Make Us Who We Are
Author: Carlin Flora
Genre: Nonfiction
Year: 2013
Publisher: Doubleday
Acquired: From the publisher via NetGalley
Rating: ★★★½☆

Review: “Friendfluence,” writes journalist Carlin Flora, “is the powerful and often underappreciated role that friends — past and present — play in determining the shape and direction of our lives.” Studies have shown that our friends help mold our identities and, as adults, subtly influence our beliefs, values and physical and emotional health. Our friends are both the most stable and the most flexible relationships we have, yet friendships are not nearly as well-studied or well-recognized as our relationships with our families and our spouses.

In Friendfluence, Flora takes a broad look at the research that is available about friendship, starting with our childhood pals, the benefits and dark sides of friendship, and how technology is changing the way we make friends and maintain friendships. In the book, Flora makes a convincing argument that our friends are more than just extras — they are vital relationships in our lives.

Friendship is one of those topics that I’m really fascinated with right now. I’m not sure why exactly, a mix of my stage in life and recent changes for some of my wonderful close friends perhaps. But for whatever reason, I’m really curious to read about friendship and how we make and keep friends.

For that curiosity, Friendfluence was almost perfect. Friendfluence is a pretty slim book, but I think Flora does an excellent job in packing in a lot of information without feeling overloaded. I felt like I got a good overview of the current research on friendship, mixed with a healthy dose of personal anecdotes and interviews.

And because I’m a nerd, one of my favorite things about the book was the extensive number of other interesting books that Flora cited — she provides a perfect road map of other books to read to explore the topics she covers in a more in-depth manner. I have a whole list of other books on friendship I’m dying to get from the library:

If you are curious about friendship and are looking for a general by well-researched look at the current science of friendship, Friendfluence is a book worth picking up.

Other Reviews:

If you have reviewed this book, please leave a link to the review in the comments and I will add your review to the main post. All I ask is for you to do the same to mine — thanks!

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