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Empathy: Why It Matters, and How to Get It…

Empathy: Why It Matters, and How to Get It

by Roman Krznaric

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I'm doing a lot of reading as of late and moments ago finished On Writing by Stephen King and yesterday I finished Everyone Helps, Everyone Wins by David Levinson. Both are non-fiction but on different subjects from each other. On Writing is a book on writing and Levinson was all about volunteering. Empathy is about Empathy. All good books with a lot of information, a lot of resources, and a lot of stories about others and the authors experience.

I bring this up because Empathy actually talks about writing and how reading can help us with empathy. King brings you into his world and how he became a writer, the challenges and fears that he faced and in the end the near death experience. I spent my time laughing, crying, and at times feeling very, very afraid. Levinson on the other had did the samething minus the fear. Replace the fear with OMG and WTF? Both of these guys can tell a story. They made me feel as if I was just chatting with them over BBQ and maybe a beer. Rootbeer, I don't drink beer.

Roman Krznaric, not so much on the bonding experience.

The book is a quick read but it is full of references and tons of info with little notes and numbers all over the place. There were times that the onion ninjas wanted to come out but I never actually was moved, moved. Not to cry or laugh. Not in fear or disbelief. Not to sit down and chat up the author over some drinks.

But I was moved. I was inspired. I was able to empathize with the author and rejoice with him. I was left with hope and uplifted spirits. This didn't come throughout the book, not like with the others, but when I read the last page, closed the book, and sat back for a moment, that is when it came.

I listened to King and Levinson. I put myself into their shoes and came out understanding them and their lives because I empathized with them. I didn't realize I was putting the habits Krznaric explains in his book to use. I didn't realize it until after I reflected on it all. I think that when I put myself into Krznaric's shoes that is what he would want; for me to reflect on his words and carry them with me.

Because of that I've bumped the rating from a 3 to a 4 star. ( )
  Katrinia17 | Dec 30, 2017 |
Krznaric is no mug. Starting with the discovery of the mirror neurone, which seems to explain how humans can be empathic, he provides a practical road map for exercising and developing one's empathic capacities. The book is easy to read, full of interesting examples, and well referenced and indexed.

I searched in vain for any reference to an explanation of just how our brain's empathic ability works--a psychology of empathy perhaps. It's surprising that Krznaric seems not to have heard of René Girard. As one reviewer here observes, mirror neurones perhaps work both selfishly and selflessly. Indeed, Girard's work explicates that.

However, the triumph of books like this one is that they help us to knock down the myth of Individualism that pervades so much of existence today. The alternative, that humans are social inter-dividual beings is becoming clearer. Whether we shall use our interdividuality for empathy, or resentment and scapegoating, depends on how well be begin to understand ourselves. ( )
  PhilipJHunt | Aug 13, 2014 |
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A popular speaker and co-founder of The School of Life, Roman Krznaric has traveled the world researching and lecturing on the subject of empathy. In this lively and engaging book, he argues that our brains are wired for social connection. Empathy, not apathy or self-centeredness, is at the heart of who we are. By looking outward and attempting to identify with the experiences of others, Krznaric argues, we can become not only a more equal society, but also a happier and more creative one. Through encounters with groundbreaking actors, activists, designers, nurses, bankers and neuroscientists, Krznaric defines a new breed of adventurer. He presents the six life-enhancing habits of highly empathic people, whose skills enable them to connect with others in extraordinary ways--making themselves, and the world, more truly fulfilled.… (more)

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