Category Archives: literature

In Ronald Duncan’s Writing Hut

I am sitting in a tiny, sparse stone hut at the top of a North Devon cliff, overlooking the sea. Outside is an enticing sign: ‘Ronald Duncan’s Writing Hut is Open’. This is where the West Country poet and playwright – best known for writing the libretto for Benjamin Britten’s opera The Rape of Lucretia […]

Also posted in deathstyle, empathy, seize the day, simple living | Tagged | 1 Comment

Why The Empathy Critics Are Wrong: Empathy Doesn’t Break Democracy, It Makes It

You can always tell when a new idea is becoming popular – people start critiquing it. That’s certainly the case when it comes to empathy, a concept that is getting more public attention today than at any point in its history (the frequency of Google searches for the word ‘empathy’ has more than doubled in […]

Also posted in emotions, empathy, ethics, history, philosophy, politics, psychology, public policy | 3 Comments

Why George Orwell Became A Tramp

It was exactly 30 years ago that George Orwell set the opening of his novel 1984: ‘It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.’ Most people know Orwell for this novel, and his satirical tale Animal Farm. Less well known is that he was one of the great empathic adventurers of the […]

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Empathy Library launches today!

Today I’m pleased and proud to announce the launch of my new project, the world’s first online Empathy Library. It’s a digital treasure house where you will find inspiring and powerful books and films that catapult your imagination into other people’s lives. There are Top Ten Charts, you can browse by themes like love or […]

Also posted in art, conversation, empathy, empathy library, empathy through education, film, videos | 2 Comments

Six Life Lessons from Leo Tolstoy

Tolstoy was more than just a great novelist with one of the best beards of the nineteenth century. He was also a radical social and political thinker who was constantly grappling with the problem of how to live. I’ve just written an article about his approach to the art of living called Six Life Lessons […]

Also posted in belief, empathy, ethics, family, love, money, philosophy, religion, simple living, work | 3 Comments

How Should We Live? Great Ideas from the Past for Everyday Life

It’s launch day for my new book How Should We Live? Great Ideas from the Past for Everyday Life, which has just been released in the US. Previously published in the UK under the title The Wonderbox (sorry, a bit confusing, I know), it’s about what history can teach us about the art of living. […]

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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 reading a novel change the world?

‘It was through books that I first realised there were other worlds beyond my own; first imagined what it might be like to be another person,’ wrote novelist Julian Barnes in a recent Guardian essay. It’s an enticing thought that reading fiction might help us escape the straitjacket of our egos and expand our moral […]

Also posted in art, belief, empathy, empathy through education, empathy through experience, ethics, family, history, love, philosophy, religion | 2 Comments

The Six Habits of Highly Empathic People

This is the video of a talk I gave at the Royal Society of the Arts, which describes six ways to expand our empathic potential, drawing on everything from the empathy experiments of George Orwell to developments in industrial design, from the struggle against slavery in the eighteenth century to the Middle East crisis today. Discover […]

Also posted in background, belief, climate change, conversation, empathy, empathy through conversation, empathy through education, empathy through experience, ethics, history, podcasts, politics, psychology, public policy, science | 2 Comments

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, interviews, politics | 2 Comments
  • 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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    Front cover of 'The Wonderbox' by Roman KrznaricFront cover of Empathy by Roman Krznaric


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