The War for Kindness: Building Empathy in a Fractured World

by Zaki, Jamil (Author)

ISBN: 9780451499240

A Stanford psychologist offers a bold new understanding of empathy, revealing it to be a skill, not a fixed trait, and showing, through science and stories, how we can all become more empathetic.

In this age of political tribalism, racism, and xenophobia, it feels like empathy is in short supply. We struggle to understand, never mind care about, people who aren't just like us. Indeed, studies show that Americans are more isolated and less kind than we were even thirty years ago. As former president Obama has said, the United States isn't suffering from a budget deficit but an empathy deficit.

In this groundbreaking book, Jamil Zaki lays out an entirely new theory of empathy. He argues that empathy is not a fixed trait-something we're either born with or not-but a skill we can learn. We can dial our empathy up or down depending on our circumstances. And we can permanently strengthen it through intentional effort. Zaki draws on the latest research, much of it from his own lab, as well as stories of people fighting for kindness in the most difficult circumstances, to show how we can harness this new mind-set to break down divisive cultural barriers. We meet a former neo-Nazi who founded an organization to help extract people from hate groups, we see Hutus and Tutsis strive for forgiveness after genocide, we see police officers in Washington change their culture to decrease violence among their ranks, and we see nurses in an NICU fine-tune their caregiving so that they don't succumb to burnout. Written with clarity and passion, The War for Kindness is an inspiring call to action. The future of American society may depend on whether we accept the challenge. Random House Green Omni, Spring 2020

Format: Hardcover, 272 pages

Publisher: Crown, June 2019

Product Dimensions: 9.4 L × 6.3 W × 0.9 H

* Subject to availability