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The War for Kindness: Building empathy in a fractured world

Jamil Zaki provides an easy to digest understanding of empathy along with detailing the advances in empathy research.  According to the book, empathy levels have been declining for decades, however the author notes that empathy isn’t a fixed trait, but rather a skill that we can build and grow. Empathy, he argues, is truly necessary to combat some of societies greatest challenges.  The book mixes both research and anecdotes from people who have shown kindness and empathy in challenging circumstances that have led to inspiring outcomes. He interviews a former neo-nazi who is now helping extract people from hate groups, police officers and how they’re are changing their culture to decrease violence and NICU nurses who need to balance empathy to avoid burnout. As teachers nurture empathy in their classrooms, these stories can provide great insights.

Jamil Zaki’s website has information about his research and an “empathy gym” with challenges to push yourself to connect better and be a little kinder.

If you are interested in Zaki’s work, have a listen to the Podcast “Hidden Brain” where he is interviewed about the book, his research into empathy and his positive outlook on the future.


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