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Empathy is in short supply. We struggle to understand people who arenât like us, but find it easy to hate them. Studies show that we are less caring than we were even thirty years ago. In 2006, Barack Obama said that the United States was suffering from an âempathy deficit.â Since then, things seem to have only gotten worse.Â
It doesnât have to be this way. In this groundbreaking book, Jamil Zaki shares cutting-edge research, including experiments from his own lab, showing that empathy is not a fixed traitâsomething weâre born with or notâbut rather a skill that can be strengthened through effort. He also tells the stories of people who embody this new perspective, fighting for kindness in the most difficult of circumstances. We meet a former neo-Nazi who is now helping to extract people from hate groups, ex-prisoners discussing novels with the judge who sentenced them, Washington police officers changing their culture to decrease violence among their ranks, and NICU nurses fine-tuning their empathy so that they donât succumb to burnout.
Written with clarity and passion,Â The War for KindnessÂ is an inspiring call to action. The future may depend on whether we accept the challenge.