How to empathise with a telesales caller

telesalesWhat kinds of life experiences open us up to empathy? One of my own, which in part inspired me to write my new book, Empathy: A Handbook for Revolution, took place when I had a horrible job working in telesales in Sydney after I left university. Here’s what I learned…

Something like this has probably happened to you. It is a quarter to seven on a Tuesday evening. You are cooking dinner and, at the same time, trying to get your overtired five-year-old to put on her pyjamas. The phone rings. It could be your mother. But in all probability it is somebody trying to sell you something. You pick up the phone. ‘Hello, is that ____ ?’ Your name is mispronounced. You were right. Telesales. You interrupt their pitch, telling them you’re not interested before you even know what they’re calling about. They ask for just a few minutes of your time. You respond, impatiently, that you’re busy cooking and that you’re not interested. And the moment they start replying, you hang up. Read More »

Posted in conversation, empathy, empathy through conversation, ethics, work | 2 Comments

UPDATE! Empathy Sermon at The School of Life (with Stevie Wonder and Nina Simone)

So sorry folks but in the blog post I just sent you about my recent Empathy Sermon at The School of Life many people couldn’t see the embedded video in their email. So here is the post again but this time including a link to the video. Big apologies. Hope you enjoy it…

It was a huge privilege and pleasure to give one of The School of Life’s Sunday Sermons at London’s historic Conway Hall recently. Last time I’d been there was to discuss the power of vulnerability with emotions researcher Brené Brown. This time I was there to talk about my new book Empathy, but that was just part of it. The 500-strong congregation stood at the beginning and end to sing two great empathy-related songs: Stevie Wonder’s Living for the City and Nina Simone’s Feeling Good. There were even little shoe-shaped biscuits from Biscuiteers

Here’s the video from the Sermon in full, where I talk about the six habits of highly empathic people and how to make them part of your everyday life.

Roman Krznaric’s new book Empathy: A Handbook for Revolution is out now.

Posted in emotions, empathy, history, peace building, philosophy, videos | Leave a comment

Empathy Sermon at The School of Life (with Stevie Wonder and Nina Simone)

It was a huge privilege and pleasure to give one of The School of Life’s Sunday Sermons at London’s historic Conway Hall recently. Last time I’d been there was to discuss the power of vulnerability with emotions researcher Brené Brown. This time I was there to talk about my new book Empathy, but that was just part of it. The 500-strong congregation stood at the beginning and end to sing two great empathy-related songs: Stevie Wonder’s Living for the City and Nina Simone’s Feeling Good. There were even little shoe-shaped biscuits from Biscuiteers

Here’s the video from the Sermon in full, where I talk about the six habits of highly empathic people and how to make them part of your everyday life.

Roman Krznaric’s new book Empathy: A Handbook for Revolution is out now.

Posted in emotions, empathy, history, peace building, philosophy, videos | Leave a comment

How old men living in cages in Hong Kong opened my mind

I’ve been giving a lot of talks in the last few weeks about my new book Empathy: A Handbook for Revolution. And almost every time someone asks me about the personal experiences that led to my own interest in empathy. So here I’d like to share one of these experiences – a kind of epiphany – from my time growing up as a teenager in Hong Kong. Read More »

Posted in belief, emotions, empathy, ethics, money, politics | 7 Comments

Is global empathy in decline?

Syrian woman and children, Aleppo, 2013Is global empathy in decline? Are our societies becoming less caring and more narcissistic? Have we become numb to media images of human suffering, such as photos of children traumatised by air strikes in Syria? In this article in the Guardian, I explore the recent decline of empathy in Australia, as well as other countries such as the UK and USA – and try to offer some innovative solutions for reversing the trend.

The article is based on my new book, Empathy: A Handbook for Revolution.

You can find information about my upcoming book events here, including talks in London, Oxford, Amsterdam and Zagreb. Hope to see you at one of them – come and say hello!

Posted in emotions, empathy, ethics, peace building, politics, public policy | 1 Comment

Empathy and Happiness: The 3 Minute Pitch

Want to put empathy to work in your relationships? How can empathy boost personal wellbeing? Find out in this three-minute video below, based on my new book Empathy: A Handbook for Revolution. (Sorry, the video doesn’t work on some phones – you’ll need to look at it on a laptop or desktop.)

Posted in conversation, empathy, empathy through conversation, family, psychology | 1 Comment

New book out today: EMPATHY

Empathy coverToday is launch day for my new book, Empathy: A Handbook for Revolution. More than ten years in the making, I explore the six habits of highly empathic people, and how stepping into other people’s shoes can both transform everyday life and create radical social change.

You can find out more about the book here. Buy it from Amazon or your local bookstore.

I discuss some of the key ideas in the book in this article in the Guardian, and in my new TEDx talk How to Start an Empathy Revolution.

Alongside the book, I have launched the world’s first online Empathy Library, a digital treasure house where you can find powerful and inspiring books and films all about empathy. Do take a look.

Please spread word about the book to friends, family, lovers and strangers. And let me know what you think of it!

Posted in art, emotions, empathy, ethics, family, history | Leave a comment

TED Talk: How to Start an Empathy Revolution

TEDx Athens opening slideMy new talk from TEDx Athens has just gone online – How to Start an Empathy Revolution. From human libraries to babies teaching empathy, here are the ingredients for transforming empathy into a force for social change. I hope you enjoy it! Please share with friends, family, colleagues and strangers.

The talk is based on my new book Empathy: A Handbook for Revolution.

 

Posted in conversation, emotions, empathy, empathy through conversation, empathy through education, empathy through experience, ethics, history, peace building, politics, psychology, science, videos | 3 Comments

Empathy Library launches today!

ELlogoToday 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 poverty, and join the library to add your own favourite items. Think of it as Goodreads for the Empathy Revolution! Supporting organisations include The School of Life, Friends of the Earth, Ashoka and Roots of Empathy.

Check out the Empathy Library here.

Posted in art, conversation, empathy, empathy library, empathy through education, film, literature, videos | 2 Comments

How to master simple living in 2014

Okay, the Christmas frenzy is over and it’s time for resolutions. What’s it going to be in 2014? For the coming year I’m going to borrow a mantra from the 19th century naturalist Henry David Thoreau, who preached the pleasures and virtues of ‘simplicity, simplicity, simplicity’.

And for a bit more inspiration, I’ve written an article on what we can learn today from the great simple livers from history (including Thoreau). Check it out over at YES! Magazine.

Posted in belief, ethics, nature, philosophy, politics, simple living | 1 Comment
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