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“Brilliant, eye-opening, and absolutely inspiring—and a riveting read. Hare and Woods have written the perfect book for our time.”
— Cass Sunstein, author of How Change Happens and co-author of Nudge

“Powerful, insightful, accessible—this book gives me hope.”
— Megan Phelps-Roper, author of Unfollow

“How can a top predator like the wolf have evolved to become ‘man’s best friend’? Finally a book that explains in the clearest terms how friendliness and cooperation shaped dogs and humans. This book left me with a happy and optimistic view of nature.”
— Isabella Rossellini, actress and activist

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The Genius of Dogs is a fascinating look at what goes on between the ears of the animals we share our lives with. I found it entertaining, fast-moving, and filled with gee-whiz insights that gave me a new appreciation for the complex social intelligence of man’s best friend.”
— John Grogan, author of Marley & Me and The Longest Trip Home

The Genius of Dogs is a fantastic book. It makes it very clear that there are different kinds of intelligence. All dog lovers should read this book.”
— Temple Grandin, author of Animals Make Us Human and Animals in Translation

The Genius of Dogs is not just about dogs, and not just about genius. It’s an exciting detective story by two comparative biologists with amazing discoveries to report.”
— Bernd Heinrich, author of Mind of the Raven

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“This is a startling book. Page after page astonished me. A beautifully written journey into the tangled jungle of the human mind, it also brings us movingly into intimate, loving contact with our extraordinary cousins. This is a compelling story, told with striking honesty, humor, and intelligence.”
– Alan Alda, actor, director, screenwriter, comedian, and author.

“Funny, adventurous, and heartbreaking. Woods takes us with her to darkest Africa to meet our nearest relative, the nearly extinct bonobo. This must-read book illuminates extraordinary courage in both people and animals.”
– Sara Gruen, author of New York Times Bestseller Water For Elephants

“Don’t think that this is just a book about apes. It’s a love story, an adventure story, and a political education about a country that has seen more tragedy and inhumanity than you can imagine. Above all, it’s an introduction to creatures who have every claim to being more human, in the best sense of the word, than we are.”
– Adam Hochschild, author of the award winning King Leopold’s Ghost



Vanessa Woods is the Director of the Duke Puppy Kindergarten and an award winning writer and journalist. In 2010, her book Bonobo Handshake: A memoir of Love and Adventure in Congo won the Thomas Lowell award for non fiction and her children’s book, It’s true, Space turns you into Spaghetti was named an Acclaimed Book by the Royal Society in 2007. Her books have been translated into 12 languages. Woods received the Australiasian Science award for journalism in 2004.

In 2022, Vanessa was voted a Duke icon by the Duke community and selected by a special committee at The Chronicle, an award which recognizes "kindness, passion, talent or intellect”.

Hare and Woods live together with their dog Congo in North Carolina. Their first book together, The Genius of Dogs was a New York Times Bestseller.

Vanessa is the Director of the Duke Puppy Kindergarten, a longitudinal study funded by the National Institute of Health to assess the impact of different rearing strategies on the behavior and cognitive development of assistance dogs. The goal of the project is to increase the supply of assistance dogs and to see more dogs graduate and serve more people.

Each semester, over a hundred Duke undergraduates help raise 7-10 the puppies from Canine Companions for Independence from 10-20 weeks of age. The students will also run the puppies through a range of cognitive games that will function as a kind of early aptitude testing, which will be used in the future as early identifiers of puppies who are most likely to graduate as assistance dogs.