Category Archives: interviews

Sherlock Holmes and the lost history of empathy

Sherlock Holmes

Here’s a new podcast from the rather wonderful Aeon Magazine, in which philosopher Jules Evans explores the theme of empathy. I kick off by talking about the history of empathy, tracing the concept from Adam Smith’s ideas in the 18th century and through developments in child psychology over the past hundred years. Then comes Maria Konnikova, who […]

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Can popular philosophy change the world?

I was recently interviewed by philosopher Jules Evans, author of the bestselling Philosophy for Life: And Other Dangerous Situations, as part of his project on the rise of the practical philosophy movement. The interview originally appeared on his website. Here it is in full.  Roman Krznaric is the author of two popular books that came out this […]

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Ready for a vulnerability hangover? Five ideas from Brené Brown

I recently had the great privilege and pleasure of interviewing Brené Brown, one of the world’s most original and exciting thinkers about emotional life, before a packed audience at London’s historic Conway Hall. It was no surprise that the event, organised by The School of Life, sold out its five hundred tickets within a record […]

Also posted in conversation, emotions, empathy, ethics, family, love, psychology | 14 Comments

Why creativity is not about originality

Michelangelo was bad news for creativity In this interview with bestselling novelist Fiona Robyn featured on her blog Writing Our Way Home, I discuss my approach to the process of creative writing and thinking, and suggest why creativity is not about originality, and how musician Brian Eno can help us think more adventurously.  Fiona Robyn: What drives […]

Also posted in art, creativity, empathy, ethics, work | 1 Comment

New book! How to Find Fulfilling Work by Roman Krznaric

My new book How to Find Fulfilling Work is out today. About the book Part of a new series of guides to everyday living from The School of Life (edited by Alain de Botton), How to Find Fulfilling Work aims to help people navigate the labyrinth of career choices out there and to find a job that […]

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Why George Orwell is my empathy hero

I was recently interviewed by The Browser – a fabulous site which compiles quality writing from around the web – about my five top books on the art of living. In the following extract I discuss George Orwell’s Down and Out in Paris and London, a book which has been a major inspiration for all my work […]

Also posted in background, conversation, empathy, empathy through conversation, empathy through experience, ethics, history, literature, politics | 2 Comments

To smack or not to smack? An interview with Christopher Wakling

Christopher Wakling’s new novel, What I Did, is a brilliant, dark and often excruciatingly funny journey into a family nightmare. Narrated by a six-year-old boy obsessed with the animal kingdom, it has been the recipient of scintillating reviews, was nominated for the Booker Prize and is fast becoming a book club favourite. I talked to the author […]

Also posted in ethics, literature, public policy, reviews | 1 Comment

Dissecting the empathic brain: An interview with Christian Keysers

Why do we shudder when we watch a tarantula crawling across James Bond’s chest in a 007 movie? And what can looking into a monkey’s brain tell us about our capacity to share in the emotional experiences of other people? Answers to these questions appear in The Empathic Brain: How the Discovery of Mirror Neurons […]

Also posted in ethics, measuring empathy, nature, psychology, reviews, science | 6 Comments

Podcast: Empathy, mutual aid and the anarchist prince

Peter Kropotkin was one of the greatest thinkers of the nineteenth century, who managed to multi-task as a Russian prince, renowned geographer and revolutionary anarchist. In this interview with Phonic FM, a wonderful community radio station based in Exeter, I discuss how Kropotkin’s ideas about ‘mutual aid’ relate to my own work on empathy, and why Kropotkin is a prophet for the art of living in the twenty-first century. The interview lasts around 50 minutes.

Also posted in ethics, history, peace building, philosophy, podcasts, politics, science | 1 Comment

Is kindness good for you?

Just in case you missed it, yesterday – November 13 – was World Kindness Day. As part of the global festivities, I was interviewed in the latest issue of Psychologies Magazine about the relationship between kindness and empathy. As I point out, kindness is not without it’s problems:

‘It can sometimes be a little too easy to describe actions as “kind”. If a wealthy individual gives away some money to a charity, how valuable is their gift if it hasn’t involved much of a personal sacrifice?’

Also posted in ethics, philosophy | Leave a comment
  • Welcome to OUTROSPECTION, my blog on empathy and the art of living. You'll find articles, interviews and news on the fundamental questions of how to live, with an emphasis on outrospection, which is about discovering who we are by stepping outside ourselves and exploring the lives of other people and cultures.


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