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The War for Kindness: Building Empathy in a Fractured World

The War for Kindness: Building Empathy in a Fractured World (Trade Paperback / Paperback)

By Zaki, Jamil

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Empathy has been on people's mind a lot lately. Philosophers, evolutionary scientists and indeed former President Obama agree that an increase in empathy could advance us beyond the hatred, violence and polarization in which the world seems caught. Others disagree, arguing it is ...easiest to empathize with people who look, talk or think like us. As a result, empathy can inspire nepotism, racism and worse. Having studied the neuroscience and psychology of empathy for over a decade, Jamil Zaki thinks both sides of this debate have a point. Empathy is sometimes an engine for moral progress, and other times for moral failure. But Zaki also thinks that both sides are wrong about how empathy works. Both scientists and non-scientists commonly argue that empathy is something that happens to you, sort of like an emotional knee-jerk reflex. Second, they believe it happens more to some people than others. This lines people up along a spectrum, with deep empaths on one end and psychopaths on the other. What's more, wherever we are on that spectrum, we're stuck there. In The War for Kindness, Zaki lays out a very different view of how empathy works, one that breaks these two assumptions. Empathy is not a reflex; it's a choice. We choose empathy (or apathy) constantly: when we read a tragic novel, or cross the street to avoid a homeless person, or ask a distraught friend what's the matter. This view has crucial consequences: if empathy is less a trait (like height), and more a skill (like being good at word games), then we can improve at it. By choosing it more often, we can flex our capabilities and grow more empathic over time. We can also tune empathy, ramping it up in situations where it will help and turning it down when it might backfire. Zaki takes us from the world of doctors who train medical students to empathise better to social workers who help each other survive empathising too much. From police trainers who help cadets avoid becoming violent cops to political advocates who ask white Americans to literally walk a (dusty) mile in Mexican immigrants' shoes. This book will give you a deepened understanding of how empathy works, how to control it and how to become the type of empathiser you want to be.
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ISBN 9781472139337
Released AU 11 Jun 2019
Publisher Little, Brown Book Group
Format Trade Paperback/Paperback
Alternate Format(s) View All (4 other possible title(s) available)
Availability
78 In stock at publisher; ships 6-12 working days

Full details for this title

ISBN-13 9781472139337
Stock Available
Status In stock at publisher; ships 6-12 working days
Publisher Little, Brown Book Group
Imprint Robinson
Released 11 Jun 2019
Publication Country United Kingdom United Kingdom
Format Trade Paperback/Paperback
Author(s) By Zaki, Jamil
Category Popular Science
Self-Help & Practical Interests
Popular Psychology
Number of Pages 272
Dimensions Width: 152mm
Height: 232mm
Spine: 26mm
Dewey Code 152.41
Weight 340g
Interest Age General Audience
Reading Age General Audience
Library of Congress Empathy
NBS Text Popular Science
ONIX Text General/trade

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