It guides our thoughts and actions, from the great art we create to the devastating wars we wage. It's the real reason why we buy expensive cars and crave fame. It drives us to put our health at risk and to disguise our animal nature. Think you're not constantly thinking about death? This book shows it's at the heart of life. Psychologists Sheldon Solomon, Jeff Greenberg, and Tom Pyszczynski have spent twenty-five years researching the many ways that fear of death - and our desire to transcend it - guides our behaviour. This book is the culmination of their ground-breaking work which proves that fear of death is the hidden motive behind almost everything we do. It shows how human culture keeps our fear of death at bay by infusing our lives with order, stability, significance and purpose, allowing us to function moment to moment without becoming overwhelmed by the knowledge of our ultimate fate. It provides surprising evidence of what happens when that fear breaks through: when reminded of their own death, judges dole out harsher punishments, people become more intolerant towards those different from themselves and more in favour of violence. But the fear needn't consume us: this book reveals how we can better come to terms with death and learn to lead lives of courage, creativity, and compassion. It offers a compelling new paradigm for understanding the choices we make in life and immerses us in a new way of understanding human evolution, child development, history, religion, art, science, mental health, war, and politics in the twenty-first century. 'Deep, important, and beautifully written, The Worm at the Core describes brilliant and utterly original research on a force so powerful it drives our lives, but so frightening that we cannot think clearly about it.' Daniel Gilbert author of Stumbling on Happiness 'This is not a book to be read in solitude . . . every few lines some fascinating or unexpected fact forces you to exclaim: Blimey! Listen to this ... ' Spectator Sheldon Solomon, Jeff Greenberg, and Tom Pyszczynski are professors of psychology at Skidmore College, the University of Arizona, and the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, respectively. They have been collaborating on research and writing projects for more than twenty-five years.