Every summer Lebanon County and surrounding counties’ libraries participate in A Summer Read, a reading initiative for adults that runs from July through September. Each year this health literacy campaign selects a title to read.

“A beautifully written, inspiring book! The Rabbit Effect is truly eye opening and a joy to read. It illuminates vital public health research showing kindness in our day-to-day lives can make the world a healthier, happier place. I recommend this book highly for anyone who wants to live more healthfully.”

—Christy Turlington Burns, humanitarian and founder of Every Mother Counts

Discover an eye-opening and provocative new way to look at our health based on the latest groundbreaking discoveries in the science of compassion, kindness, and human connection.

For all of its rigor and science, medicine is full of stories—mysteries—that doctors and research cannot explain. Patients who are biologically healthy, but feel ill. Patients who are biologically ill, but feel healthy. What if these health mysteries could teach us something about what really makes us sick—and how to be healthy?

When Columbia University doctor Kelli Harding began her clinical practice, she never intended to explore the invisible factors behind our health. But then there were the rabbits. In 1978, a seemingly straightforward experiment designed to establish the relationship between high blood cholesterol and heart health in rabbits discovered that kindness—in the form of a particularly nurturing post-doc who pet and spoke to the lab rabbits as she fed them—made the difference between a heart attack and a healthy heart.

As Dr. Kelli Harding reveals in this eye-opening book, the rabbits were just the beginning of a much larger story. Groundbreaking new research shows that love, friendship, community, life’s purpose, and our environment can have a greater impact on our health than anything that happens in the doctor’s office. For instance, chronic loneliness can be as unhealthy as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day; napping regularly can decrease one’s risk of heart disease; and people with purpose are less likely to get sick. Through provocative storytelling and compelling research, Harding presents a new model for you to take charge of your health.

At once paradigm-shifting and empowering, The Rabbit Effect shares a radical new way to think about health, wellness, and how we live.

—from the author’s website

Dr. Kelli Harding wants to make the world a kinder and healthier place. She believes everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and kindness.

Harding is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York City. She is a diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, as well as boarded in the specialty of psychosomatic (mind-body) medicine.

Dr. Harding attended the University of Rochester School of Medicine, where she graduated with honors. She then trained in internal medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City and psychiatry at Columbia University Irving Medical Center. At Columbia, Dr. Harding also completed an NIMH research fellowship focused on unexplained symptoms and earned a Masters in Public Health. Nationally, she served on the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Board of Directors, which leads the academic medical community to improve the health of all.

Dr. Harding spent much of her career clinically in the emergency room at New York-Presbyterian Hospital before starting an out-patient mental health practice. She currently dedicates her time to teaching medical students, seeing patients, writing, and educating the general public about health and wellness. She has appeared on Today, Good Morning America, NPR, The New York Times, BBC, Medscape, Psychology Today, Oprah.com, Thrive Global, Refinery 29, Parents Magazine, and U.S. News and World Report.

Dr. Harding lives in New York City with her family.

—from the author’s website

Feel Better with Kindness: Conversation with Dr. Kelli Harding | Action For Kindness  

How Being Kind Can Improve Your Health: A Webinar with Kelli Harding, M.D. | Happify Daily

How Being Kind Can Improve Your Health: A Webinar with Kelli Harding, M.D. from Happify on Vimeo.

Action For Happiness This free app gives you friendly nudges with an action idea each day;
sends you inspiring messages to give you a boost; and helps you connect & share ideas with like-minded people Available for Android and iOS.

59 Journal Prompts: Be Kind To Humankind Short on time? Try these writing prompts to get you thinking about the impact of kindness and the specific ways you can implement more kind acts into your life.

DIY Kindness Journal This is a great family-oriented activity! It includes instructions for how to create a family journal to record your family volunteering memories. It includes a printable Family Service worksheet and tons of journal prompts.

This is a collaboration of WITF Pick of the Month and Midtown Scholar Bookstore.