Swearing Is Good for You: The Amazing Science of Bad Language (Paperback)
"Entertaining and thought-provoking…Byrne’s enthusiasm for her esoteric subject is contagious, damn it." —Melissa Dahl, New York Times Book Review
In this sparkling debut work of popular science, Emma Byrne examines the latest research to show how swearing can be good for you. She explores every angle of swearing—why we do it, how we do it, and what it tells us about ourselves. Packed with the results of unlikely and often hilarious scientific studies—from the “ice-bucket test” for coping with pain, to the connection between Tourette’s and swearing, to a chimpanzee that curses at her handler in sign language—Swearing Is Good for You presents a lighthearted but convincing case for the foulmouthed.
About the Author
Emma Byrne has written on science, language, and society for the BBC, Science, the BMJ, the Financial Times, and Forbes. She lives in London.
Shit, this book is fascinating.
— Elena Nicolaou - Refinery29
A good book about bad language by a trash-talking woman? Sign me up! Swearing Is Good for You makes science feel downright celebratory.
— Mary Norris, best-selling author of Between You & Me
Swearing Is Good for You is an entertaining and often enlightening book.… Byrne’s readers are sure to come away with a fresh appreciation of language at its most foul.
A poppy, comprehensive look at an often taboo topic.
— Reed Tucker - New York Post
Byrne makes a strong case.… Perhaps more than swearing’s power to help one withstand pain or even bond, it’s Byrne’s revelations about swearing and gender that make me want to try just a little bit harder to curse.
— Danielle Friedman - New York Magazine
An impressive catalogue of research showing how effing and blinding helps us deal with pain, bond with others, is associated with intelligence and makes us more inclined to trust each other.… A glorious, uplifting read.
— Lucy Kellaway - Financial Times
Byrne, who likes a good swear, relishes her subject and her study of its various forms—bodily, copulatory, excretory and slur based—is playfully astute.
— Steven Carroll - Sydney Morning Herald
Science and language writer Emma Byrne… offers up data in Swearing Is Good for You to prove that cussing—in moderation—can help lower anxiety and even curb physical and emotional pain.
Emma Byrne unearths an unorthodox body of research to reveal how swearing helps reduce pain and anxiety and can even bring people together.… Fascinating.
— Real Simple
A chatty, humorously informative narrative that rummages through the science of bad language, grabbing at sociology, psychology, neuroscience and anthropology.
— Hephzibah Anderson - Mail on Sunday