‘Empathy inspires with a unique combination of teaching, storytelling, and a serious call to action.’ – Brené Brown, author of the New York Times #1 Bestsellers Daring Greatly and The Gifts of Imperfection
About the book
98% of people have the ability to empathise and step into the shoes of others. But few of us use our full empathic potential.
Roman Krznaric’s new book shows how we can boost our empathy and use it to improve our relationships, enhance our creativity, rethink our priorities in life, and tackle social problems from everyday prejudice to violent conflicts. Empathy, Krznaric argues, has the power to transform relationships, from the personal to the political, and create fundamental social change.
Through encounters with actors, activists, groundbreaking designers, undercover journalists, nurses, bankers and neuroscientists, Krznaric defines a new breed of adventurer. He sets out the six life-enhancing habits of highly empathic people, whose skills enable them to connect with others in extraordinary ways.
Drawing on over 10 years of research, you will discover how babies can teach empathy, what happens at a ‘human library’, how our empathic brains work and encounter the world’s first Empathy Museum. Krznaric also tackles the big questions: Can we empathise too much? How is empathy different from sympathy or compassion? And can empathy be used to manipulate people?
Krznaric argues our brains are wired for social connection: empathy is at the heart of who we are. It’s an essential, transforming quality we must develop for the 21st Century.
Selected articles and media
Print and online
Guardian: How My Children Became My Greatest Teachers – article on my personal struggles to practice empathy in family life.
Time Magazine: Five Ways to Be More Empathic
Salon Magazine: The One Thing That Could Save the World – this article is a response to critics of empathy
Yes! Magazine: Empathy Heroes – who are the greatest empathic adventurers of all time?
Guardian Australia: Is Australia losing its empathy?
Daily Good: The Six Habits of Highly Empathic People. This is my all-time most popular article on empathy. Warning: it was written before the book came out so differs slightly in content from the book itself.
Other print and online: Red Magazine, Oprah.com, The School of Life blog, Readers Digest, Psychologies Magazine, Waterstones blog, Guardian Education, Books for Breakfast, Welldoing.org, Virgin Unite, RSA Journal, Hay Festival blog, Health Care Interoperability, Guardian Sustainable Business, Filosofie Magazine (Dutch), Management Team Magazine (Dutch), Happinez Magazine (Dutch), Revista Comunicacao Empresarial (Portuguese), Inc., Sensa (Croatian), Leiden Law Blog, De Standaard (Belgium)
TV and Video
The Power of Outrospection: 10 min RSA Animate video on empathy. Watch the famous hairy hand bring some of the key ideas in the book to life. Over half a million views.
TEDx Athens: Talk on How to Start an Empathy Revolution. (With Spanish, French and Greek subtitles.)
Sunday Brunch – Channel 4: Chatting with presenters Tim Lovejoy and Simon Rimmer. We discussed (amongst other things) why, if our brains are wired for empathy, there are so many trolls online.
VPRO Boeken: Dutch TV book show. This 17-minute interview in English is probably the most personal and revealing I’ve done.
Step Into the Empathy Museum: check out my latest project in this two-minute video
Hay Festival: In this short video I explain how the Luftwaffe helped to create the British welfare state (of course, empathy had something to do with it).
Kids in the House: A series of microvideos on how empathy can be used in parenting and building relationships
Google Author Talks: A half-hour talk on the 6 habits of highly empathic people, recorded at Google’s California Head Quarters
Other TV and video: The School of Life, Empathy and Happiness- The 3 Minute Pitch, Pearson Education, Friends of the Earth, Studio 10 – Network 10 TV Australia, Does Empathy Make or Break Democracy?, Resurgence/Network of Wellbeing, Forgiveness Project. Action for Happiness, Politics & Prose
Radio and Podcast
BBC Radio 4 – Today Programme: I discuss the role of empathy in peace-building and Mandela’s role as an empathic leader.
BBC Radio 3 – Free Thinking: Can empathy really create a revolution? I debate the issues with author Sheri Fink and philosopher Jan Slaby.
ABC Radio National Australia – Life Matters: Interview with Natasha Mitchell. This is my favourite of all the radio pieces I’ve done on Empathy.
Other radio and podcast: BBC World Service – Weekend, BBC Radio Scotland – Sunday Morning, RTE 1 Ireland – Marian Finucane Show, ABC Radio Brisbane, 2UE Radio Sydney, 2SER Radio Sydney, Open House Radio Australia, Ashoka UK, Cygnus Books, BBC Naked Scientists, Word of Mouth New Hampshire, Radio West KUER Utah, CBS radio San Francisco
Blogosphere: Forbes Magazine, The Happiness Experiment, Designing Stories, Good Men Project, Independent Record, IKIM Institute Malaysia, Incredible Awareness, Designing Stories, Living Dharma, Think and Be Happy, Real Time Magazine, Pensamiento Imaginactivo, Fashion Ethics, Urban Times, Media Roots.
Empathy Library (a project I’ve launched together with my new book): The Bookseller, BBC Radio 5’s Outriders programme (starts at 17.50min), Christian Science Monitor, Daily Good, Yes! Magazine, UTNE Reader, Ashoka’s Start Empathy blog, Revista Galileu, Porvir and Lucilia Diniz in Brazil, NationSwell, Stichting Beroepseer in the Netherlands.
‘Having spent the past decade studying empathy, I can say without hesitation that Roman’s work is exactly what we need to bring this powerful concept off the page and into our lives. Empathy inspires with a unique combination of teaching, storytelling, and a serious call to action.’ Brené Brown, author of the New York Times #1 Bestsellers Daring Greatly and The Gifts of Imperfection
‘Authentic relationships require us to see the world through the eyes of others. This engaging and insightful book helps us do just that.’ John Gray, author of Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus
‘Where would humanity be without empathy? Our lives would be disconnected, our societies would fall apart. Growing planetary integration calls for us to pay more attention to this ancient mammalian capacity, and Roman Krznaric is our expert guide to explain how it works and how to fix the deficit that faces humanity today.’ Frans de Waal, author of The Age of Empathy
‘Informative and practical, Krznaric’s techniques are easy to incorporate into daily life and provide a road map toward better rapport with both people we know and strangers on the street. Useful advice that promotes a more contented, fulfilling lifestyle.’ Kirkus Reviews
‘Empathy explores the essence of being human…inspiring, fascinating and helpful.’ Rick Hanson, author of Hardwiring Happiness and Buddha’s Brain
‘One of the eye-opening books of 2015 that everyone will be talking about.’ Oprah’s Book Club
‘A powerful case for empathy as the key to a better life and better world.’ Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive, Royal Society of the Arts
‘Eloquent and inspiring writer.’ Mary Anne Hobbs, DJ and broadcaster
‘An absorbing, inspiring book that could start a revolution. Read it.’ Philippa Perry, psychotherapist and author of How to Stay Sane
‘A fascinating look at championing “outrospection” instead of self-absorbed individualism.’ Thuy On, Sydney Morning Herald
‘Krznaric’s “handbook” is not only timely but essential. Neither deprecatory nor utopian, it poses just the right mix of scepticism and optimism.’ Ashraf Jamal, Business Day, South Africa
‘I know it is absurdly early in the year to be choosing the top book of the year, but here goes. I recommend Empathy by Roman Krznaric for both the quality of the content and its importance.’ Mike Childs, Head of Policy, Friends of the Earth
‘Roman Krznaric’s ideas on empathy challenge each one of us to see the world afresh, and in doing so he offers us the chance to become so much greater than we already are.’ John-Paul Flintoff, journalist and author of How to Change the World
‘An extraordinary understanding of the importance of utilizing empathy in our every day life, has been translated into vital guide for personal wellbeing and professional success.’ Patricia Moore, industrial designer and gerontologist
‘A mesmerizing mélange of history, social science, neuroscience, psychology and sociology. Krznaric is calling for nothing short of an empathy revolution and paints a compelling and practical picture of how to get there. His concept of an “Empathy Museum” is as brilliant as he is.’ Mary Gordon, Founder/President, Roots of Empathy
‘Moving across, and between, disciplines, Krznaric casts his net far and wide and the resulting haul is an impressive sight’ Richard King, The Australian
‘The need for empathy, even more than sympathy, will become more urgent as globalisation brings increasingly chill winds in the lives of those who have lived comfortably in the West…Krznaric’s book could help fast-forward the discussions we will have to have.’ Miriam Cosic, Australian Book Review
‘Krznaric traces the age of self-interest back to the 18th century, and he begs us to reconsider our assumptions about the ways we think, behave and interact. We are social creatures and we have ignored the instinct for sociable communalism at the expense of our culture and our world. Fascinating stuff.’ Walter Mason, Good Reading Magazine
‘In his best-selling self help manual, Roman promotes the idea that empathy is at the heart of being human, and so by helping others we can help ourselves feel better too.’ Sarah Holmes, Woman & Home
‘Roman Krznaric explains that understanding why others behave as they do is the key to a happier, more fulfilled life’. Health & Fitness Magazine.
‘Empathy: A Handbook for Revolutionis a fascinating look at empathy not just as a positive trait, but also as a powerful force for good and social change.’ Practical Parenting Australia magazine
‘It’s difficult not to be swept up by Krznaric’s wave of optimism. The ideas and thought processes that buoy them are highly accessible and discerning.’ Jen Vuk, Eureka Street
‘Like the popular works of Bertrand Russell and Alain de Botton it’s easy to read, and it tackles the sort of every day philosophical issues that ordinary people think about.’ Lisa Hill, ANZ LitLovers
‘In this inspiring read, philosopher Roman Krzanric explore the power of empathy as an ideal, rather than an emotion, that has the power to transform relationships.’ Kindness UK
‘At a time when it is all too easy to despair about human nature, this book reminds us of what we can ‘be’ and ‘do’ when we are at our best, and the urgency of trying to do this.’ Monica Lanyado, UK Friends of the Bereaved Families Forum
‘A stimulating read and will give the reader much food for thought about how we can all do our part to bring about a more empathic world.’ Professor Richard Harris, Manhattan Mercury
‘An accessible text based on wide reading, astute observation and sensible thinking. Krznaric gives the kind of sound advice that would support the leaders of any modern organisation.’ International Teacher Magazine