The Nurture Effect

How the Science of Human Behavior Can Improve Our Lives and Our World

A fascinating look at how nurturing environments can increase people’s well-being in virtually every aspect of our society — from early childhood education to corporate practices. The author, a research psychologist in Oregon, is one of the nation's leading experts on how to prevent behavioral and psychological problems in children and teens. The author explores a wide range of topics, hypothesizing that if we can tackle smoking as a nation, then we can create a society where every person can thrive. It’s a compelling read about the potential of behavioral science to help solve critical social problems.

252 pages. ©2015.
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Reader Reviews for this Book


Review posted January 28, 2023


Love this book. Fascinating account of how nurturing environments shape us as people.


Review posted January 23, 2023


"The Nurture Effect" was helpful in understanding how coercion is the root of contributing to family, community, worldly dysfunction. Very helpful and scientifically proven examples on how to rethink our approach to creating a nurturing environment not only for our children but for adults willing to change old patterns of thinking and interacting.


Review posted January 6, 2023


I loved this book it was just perfect research to bridge some gaps in addressing community development from an evidence based perspective.


Review posted July 24, 2022


“Think of this book as a beacon of hope.” Easy fast read while still being inspirational. Made me slow down and practice being cognitive.


Review posted June 19, 2022


This great book helped me think about how to use behavioral economics in energy management. Everyone could learn something from this book!


Review posted June 10, 2022


Great read for parents and people that work it youth!


Review posted May 12, 2022


it's facinating to read how our behaviors can be changed and manipulated by environment.


Review posted April 11, 2022


Beautiful, important concepts for all ages


Review posted April 10, 2022


I found this book truly inspirational, yet practical. It is grounded in years of research and written in an accessible and engaging way. I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone who cares about making the world a little better place.


Review posted April 2, 2022


The principles in this are very solid. If we could have more nurturing/connections in our world, it would help solve a lot of problems.


Review posted March 28, 2022


This is a great read for anybody interested in the systems or who makes policy. There are a lot of helpful, research backed ideas and solutions. It should be a required read for all those in leadership and policy making positions.


Review posted March 21, 2022


A little dense for my liking but another good choice by Select Books.


Review posted March 18, 2022


good read,


Review posted December 28, 2021


What a meaningful book. Especially grateful for the perspective and insight the words allowed my mind to gaze. Would recommend to anyone looking for clarity in an everchanging world.


Review posted October 10, 2021


Such an incredibly important book for everyone to read! Thank you for such a well written book.


Review posted September 18, 2021


Great book that talks about how we can have a direct impact on the development of our children and prevent harm


Review posted August 20, 2021


I would say 3.5 stars for this book. The author has an obvious bent. the programs he highlights are good and I loved learning about them. He repeated linked everything back to evolution, which was not needed and not in keeping with the purpose the book. When he decided to get political I lost a bit of respect and desire to finish. I will admit to not finishing the book due to his tunnel vision.

Autumn R Mosley

Review posted June 8, 2021


A wonderful book that provides some great evidence-based options for creating better people.


Review posted May 11, 2021


The information regarding children was beneficial and insightful. However, the thoughts and suggestions for adults and society were narrowly focused and from a privileged perspective.


Review posted April 14, 2021


The focus of this book is on children and families. He gives potential actions for various groups at the end of chapters. There are many research references backing up the recommendations. He makes the case around the cost of failing to create nurturing environments for families and also the impact of poverty. Many of the recommendations will have a huge cost, yet we need to figure out how to start. I wish there were more concrete action steps, especially for small communities.


Review posted February 7, 2021


The Title says it all. This is a great read for parents, educators, policy makers and citizens who want to work toward a more nurturing society. Highly recommended.

Barbara Henneke

Review posted January 30, 2021


"The Nurture Effect: How the Science of Human Behavior Can Improve Our Lives and Our World", was an insightful book about the importance of establishing and maintaining a nurturing environment in order to help make the the world in which we live, a better place. There are examples from across the lifespan. There are also specific ways in which citizens, educators, caregivers, etc. can nurture in a variety of settings. Although the book is scientifically and medically based, it is easy to read and understand.


Review posted January 28, 2021


This book is a must read for all. As we continue to grown our communities and especially in times of recovery we must be in tune to ourselves and others around us. We can make a difference to the youth in our communities and prevent many problems.


Review posted January 21, 2021


I found this book interesting and informative though it took me a bit to get through. It had some good gems in it.


Review posted January 18, 2021


This book is fantastic. A must read. If you follow ACES, this will be a great read to see how our childhoods affect our lives with upbringing in a positive or negative way. Great science and thought provoking read.


Review posted January 5, 2021


This is an excellent book and a good read. Biglan described situations common to all who have or care for children/teens and how to properly intervene to protect them from falling into poor associations and activities. Biglan also discusses a topic dear to my own heart, which is how communities should care for pregnant women and toddlers. Biglan’s solutions are evidence-driven and are, actually, common sense to this reader. I am astonished that his solutions have not been adopted by state and federal lawmakers. I highly recommend this book.

Lacey Henneke

Review posted December 10, 2020


I am excited to apply what I learned from this book in my professional life.


Review posted December 7, 2020


I really like this book- it is a strong and powerful book that I highly recommend to anyone who works with kids, has kids, or is in education. Definitely a page turner and something I couldn't put down.


Review posted November 20, 2020


I appreciate this book. Although at times a bit dry, be i formation is excellent. The book even focuses a bit on Oregon’s specific Parent Management Training. I recommend this for parents, educators, and social workers.


Review posted October 30, 2020


I wonderful read to explore and further understand how nurture impacts our growth, development, and interactions with the world.

Ashley E King

Review posted October 6, 2020


Fascinating topic and an engaging read. It is focused primarily on children and adolescents, but there are parts applicable to a broader audience. Each chapter ends with action items for parents, educators, policy makers, etc.


Review posted September 17, 2020


Excellent analysis of how environmental factors can influence behavior and brain chemistry.


Review posted August 12, 2020


I thought this book was insightful and quite interesting to say the least. If it hadn't been so hard to get into or start, I would have read it faster. Although I did find it fascinating and informational.


Review posted May 15, 2020


Just be nice! Nurturing children makes a huge difference in shaping compassionate adults. As a home-schooled family I noticed that not only were my own four children kind and caring, but all of the other home-schooled children in our homeschool association were some of the nicest kids around. As adults, they are still compassionate and love helping other people. I get calls from people thanking me for raising such wonderful, helpful children.


Review posted March 21, 2020


One person's vapid dream of a nurturing society with very little information and even less that's meaningful. The author ignores systematic problems as though just being nice to each other will somehow overcome capitalism and make everything better.


Review posted March 16, 2020


I found this interesting but it is dense. I’m looking forward to applying this in my classroom.


Review posted February 21, 2020


I have been a part of this program for over a year now. I have to say that "The Nurture Effect" was my favorite. Not only is it touching and inspiring but the writers are from Oregon and studied at Oregon State University!!! I am from Oregon so know this was awesome. I learned so many things, including marketing, that I can feel confident in deflecting my child from the horrible anti-socialism that is out there.


Review posted February 11, 2020


Great book that challenges the way we live and how nurturing environments can improve peoples well being.

Angie Alden

Review posted February 3, 2020


Believing deeply that evolution is the basis for man's development and progress, the author advocates that nurturing the young and advocating for peace throughout families and society will change both. This, of course, assumes that man is basically good and has the strength and discipline to counterbalance any tendencies away from goodness. I found this book to be idealistic, a call to arms for all who believe man can improve by his own efforts. If you believe that the struggles of mankind are due mostly to environment, then this is a book for you. If you believe otherwise, look elsewhere.


Review posted January 13, 2020


An interesting read. Has some good information about taking care of others and how that can create an environment that we would all want to be a part of.


Review posted January 9, 2020


An excellent overview of the effects of optimism and determination to improve the lives of our fellow-citizens. It is a blend of critique of our selfish individualistic culture and a call for compassionate living. Recommended.


Review posted December 31, 2019


Very interesting book - good ideas and thoughts, passed it on to others to read.


Review posted December 27, 2019


Research and action items in these chapters can give you tangible things to do in order to create positive changes in your community. It also includes a lot of citations and recommendations for other works to read.


Review posted December 26, 2019


Good insight. Was able to use this with my foster families!

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Review posted December 21, 2019


This book Aline’s with my thoughts and beliefs especially the chapter on nurturing families as I am a home visitor. Great read!


Review posted December 14, 2019


Tony makes a great case for solving many of the problems of the world. While some might take exception to what might be seen as anti capitalistic policies, if his suggestions were generally adopted the world would be a better place


Review posted December 4, 2019


Wow! Surprised with the insight thought I'd learn less but quite fulfilling


Review posted November 22, 2019


Interesting read, but behavioralism is not my way of thinking and I disagreed with many of his ideas.


Review posted November 8, 2019




Review posted November 4, 2019


Great read for working in all fields of social service work


Review posted October 30, 2019


This book has been a wonderful confirmation of my majoring in psychology. Being my final semester in my bachelor's journey, I found this book to be worth it's weight in gold!


Review posted October 28, 2019


This book offers interesting perspectives using behavioral science to help solve social problems teens and society struggle with--to build resilience and prevent behavioral and psychological problems in youth. The author used real world examples of ways to use research to plan and implement nurturing programs.


Review posted October 25, 2019


I like that this book gives you ideas how to change behaviors. It has ideas how we are the way we are and how to help people help the people in our lives by creating a nurturing environment. This works in both homes and workplaces.


Review posted October 25, 2019


Excellent read. I apply information from it all the time in my professional career


Review posted October 10, 2019


A great book. It gives simple solutions to complex societal issues. By nurturing people we can help reverse ills of society. It is a great read! We can all have the happiness we do desperately want and need, personally and globally.

Annette Leong

Review posted October 9, 2019


Tony Biglan's book, The Nurture Effect, was inspiring to read. It aligns perfectly with my work in training Parenting Educator's to use positive parenting approaches with teaching parents about the importance of children's dental health. His inclusion of specific action steps for a variety of stakeholders was welcome, and the scope of the book is impressive.


Review posted September 22, 2019


This book balances research, scenarios, and practical guidance broken into categories, from citizens and parents to those who make policy. It links studies to a wide variety of daily activities and societal approaches. This was so information dense that I found that it wasn't a quick read. Rather, it is food for contemplation, investigation, and consideration of action.


Review posted September 18, 2019


ez read the environment you are raised in follows you


Review posted September 17, 2019


This was a very helpful, insightful book.


Review posted September 5, 2019


Eye opening book

Christen Mansuetti

Review posted September 4, 2019


I love how The Nurture Effect included multiple elements of how human behavior develops. The broad scope of how how important families, schools, and society all play a role and are all responsible for developing well-being in everyone. I believe that with all of the violence and aggression our society has developed toward one another we could all benefit from reading this book. The book made the connection with how stress can affect our behavior and how mindfulness can be a big tool in our well-being. Kudos to the authors for putting the pieces together and helping to solve the puzzle of how to help us grow in empathy as a society.


Review posted August 31, 2019


This book was really helpful in my understanding of my work with children and how I will be a parent someday.

Patricia Jarrett

Review posted July 30, 2019


This book has helped me to understand how important it is to provide a good and nurturing environment for our children and youth, I learned that as a parent and teacher I can make a difference for our generations. Thank you!

onalee Mansor

Review posted July 23, 2019


This is an excellent book with practical methods of how to nurture families in our communities to raise standards of living for the poverty stricken. Doing this requires vested families, schools, community and business to improve outcomes for families and children and make our worlds healthier for all.


Review posted July 21, 2019


Excellent read


Review posted July 16, 2019


I like this book because it opens the world to a debate that has been questions for years and will be discussed for years to come. Nature vs. Nurture. This has helped me to understand the psychological aspects of children and how to connect with them on a better level of understanding.


Review posted June 6, 2019


Great book!


Review posted May 15, 2019


Nature vs Nurture? Great read on how we can made great strides in our societal outcomes by cultivating compassionate, positive, nurturing environments.


Review posted April 30, 2019


What a lovely book! I especially like Action Implications in this book. so helpful in helping the reader put it all together.


Review posted April 27, 2019


I work with a group if teens in a psychiatric residential setting. I liked this book but it is not the I depth topic I was hoping for. I would suggest it, but wish it was a little more focused.


Review posted April 23, 2019


Very good. Captures the importance of behavioral science.