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The War for Kindness

Building Empathy in a Fractured World

By Jamil Zaki
Narrated by Jamil Zaki / 7 hours 12 minutes

“In this masterpiece, Jamil Zaki weaves together the very latest science with stories that will stay in your heart forever.”—Angela Duckworth, author of Grit

Empathy is in short supply. Isolation and tribalism are rampant. We struggle to understand people who aren’t 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 is suffering from an “empathy deficit.” Since then, things only seem to have gotten worse.   

It doesn’t 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 trait—something we’re born with or not—but 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 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 don’t succumb to burnout. 

Written with clarity and passion, The War for Kindness is an inspiring call to action. The future may depend on whether we accept the challenge.

Praise for The War for Kindness

“A wide-ranging practical guide to making the world better.”—NPR

“Relating anecdotes and test cases from his fellow researchers, news events and the imaginary world of literature and entertainment, Zaki makes a vital case for ‘fighting for kindness.’ . . . If he’s right—and after reading The War for Kindness, you’ll probably think so—Zaki’s work is right on time.” San Francisco Chronicle

“In this landmark book, Jamil Zaki gives us a revolutionary perspective on empathy: Empathy can be developed, and, when it is, people, relationships, organizations, and cultures are changed.”—Carol Dweck, author of Mindset

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