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Join the International Conference on: How Might We Build a Culture of Empathy and Compassion?


Books on Empathy


Directories of Books on Empathy.


Books List


A Rumor of Empathy
Resistance, narrative and recovery in psychoanalysis and psychotherapy

by Lou Agosta
Routledge,  2015, 243 pages, Amazon

Empathy is an essential component of the psychoanalyst’s ability to listen and treat their patients. It is key to the achievement of therapeutic understanding and change. A Rumor of Empathy explores the psychodynamic resistances to empathy, from the analyst themselves, the patient, from wider culture, and seeks to explore those factors which represent resistance to empathic engagement, and to show how these can be overcome in the psychoanalytic context. 


A Way of Being

by Carl Rogers
Mariner Books; 1980, 416 pages, Amazon

Over the years, however, the research evidence keeps piling up, and it points strongly to the conclusion that a high degree of empathy in a relationship is possibly the most potent and certainly one of the most potent factors in bringing about change and learning.


An Epidemic of Empathy in Healthcare
How to Deliver Compassionate, Connected Patient Care That Creates a Competitive Advantage

by Thomas H. Lee
McGraw-Hill Education, 2015, 224 pages,  Amazon



Born for Love
Why Empathy Is Essential--and Endangered

By Bruce D. Perry and Maia Szalavitz
William Morrow, 2010, 384 pages, Amazon


Empathy might seem like a squishy, vaguely liberal word—a sentimental virtue of minor importance. But the more we learn from neuroscience and psychology, the more it appears that much of human social and economic life, not to mention individual health, fundamentally relies on it.


Buddha's Brain
The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom

by Rick Hanson
New Harbinger Publications, 2009, 251 pages, Amazon


Empathy is unusual in the animal kingdom. So empathy must have had some major survival benefits for it to have evolved. What might those benefits have been? Empathy seems to have evolved in three major steps. First, among vertebrates, birds and mammals developed ways of rearing their young, plus forms of pair bonding – sometimes for life.



Design for an Empathic World:
Reconnecting People, Nature, and Self

by Sim Van der Ryn
Island Press, 2013, 192 pages, Amazon

 He advocates for “empathic design”, in which a designer not only works in concert with nature, but with an understanding of and empathy for the end user and for ones self. It is not just one of these connections, but all three that are necessary to design for a future that is more humane, equitable, and resilient.



Don't Be Nice, Be Real:
Balancing Passion for Self with Compassion for Others

by Kelly Bryson
Elite Books, 2010, 320 pages, Amazon

When I empathize with someone, I become a strong and gentle wind, filling the sailboat of the other's inner exploration.  As the Wind, I have no control over the steering of the boat.  That is left up to the captain of the ship, the person I am being present to.  I do not try to direct, only connect with where the other is in this very present moment.  


Emotional Intelligence
Why It Can Matter More Than IQ

By Daniel Goleman
Bantam, 1995, 384 pages, Amazon


“Self-absorption in all its forms kills empathy, let alone compassion. When we focus on ourselves, our world contracts as our problems and preoccupations loom large. But when we focus on others, our world expands. Our own problems drift to the periphery of the mind and so seem smaller, and we increase our capacity for connection—or compassionate action.”



The Empathic Civilization:
The Race to Global Consciousness in a World in Crisis 

by Jeremy Rifkin 
TarcherPerigee; First Edition edition, 2009, 688 pages, Amazon

 As the forces of globalization accelerate, deepen, and become ever more complex, the older faith-based and rational forms of consciousness are likely to become stressed, and even dangerous, as they attempt to navigate a world increasingly beyond their reach and control. Indeed, the emergence of this empathetic consciousness has implications for the future that will likely be as profound and far-reaching as when Enlightenment philosophers upended faith-based consciousness with the canon of reason.


Empathetic Marketing
How to Satisfy the 6 Core Emotional Needs of Your Customers

by M. Ingwer
Palgrave Macmillan, 2012, 252 pages, Amazon


A business that invests in empathy devotes itself to understanding the emotional needs and motivations of its customers, and aligns itself to meet them. Companies have increasingly embraced the role of emotion in selling products and services, but often merely pay lip service to its importance without understanding how to harness it.



The Empath's Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People
Life Strategies for Sensitive People

by Judith Orloff
Sounds True, 2017, 245 pages, Amazon

What is the difference between having empathy and being an empath? “Having empathy means our heart goes out to another person in joy or pain,” says Dr. Judith Orloff.  “But for empaths it goes much farther.  We actually feel others’ emotions, energy, and physical symptoms in our own bodies, without the usual defenses that most people have.”



by (HBR Emotional Intelligence Series)
Harvard Business Review Press (May 9, 2017), 144 pages Amazon


Empathy is credited as a factor in improved relationships and even better product development. But while it’s easy to say "just put yourself in someone else’s shoes," the reality is that understanding the motivations and emotions of others often proves elusive. This book helps you understand what empathy is, why it’s important, how to surmount the hurdles that make you less empathetic―and when too much empathy is just too much.   This volume includes the work of: Daniel Goleman, Annie McKee,
Adam Waytz, etc.


From Bench to Bedside (Social Neuroscience)

By Jean Decety (Editor)
The MIT Press, 2011, 336 pages, Amazon

The experience of empathy is a powerful interpersonal phenomenon and a necessary means of everyday social communication. It facilitates parental care of offspring. It enables us to live in groups and socialize. It paves the way for the development of moral reasoning and motivates prosocial behavior. 


Philosophical and Psychological Perspectives

By Amy Coplan and Peter Goldie (co-editors)
Jesse Prinz, Marco Iacoboni, Martin Hoffman, Jean Decety.....
Oxford University Press,  2011, 464 pages, Amazon

This collect, which draws together eighteen chapters on empathy, follow in a long tradition of work on empathy in philosophy and psychology. Empathy has, since at least the seminal work of David Hume and Adam Smith, been seen as centrally important in at least tow respects. First, it has been seen as important in relation to our capacity to gain a grasp on the content of other people's minds, and to predict and explain what they will thin, feel, and do.


What it is and why it matters 

by David Howe 
Palgrave Macmillan, 2012, 248 pages, Amazon

David Howe's fascinating new book examines what empathy is, why we have it and how it develops. He explores the important part empathy plays in child development and therapeutic work as well as its significance for how society organizes itself.


Why It Matters, and How to Get It

by Roman Krznaric
Perigee Books, 2015, 272 pages, Amazon

I believe that empathy – the imaginative act of stepping into another person’s shoes and viewing the world from their perspective – is a radical tool for social change and should be a guiding light for the art of living.


Empathy and Democracy
Feeling, Thinking, and Deliberation

by Michael E. Morrell
Penn State University Press, 2010,  232 pages, Amazon


Today's democracies are still struggling to fulfill democracy's promise of equal consideration, and the claim I will defend is that they can do so most fully by giving
empathy a central role in democratic decision-making.


Empathy and Moral Development
Implications for Caring and Justice

by Martin L. Hoffman
Cambridge University Press,  2001, 342 pages, Amazon


The book's focus is empathy's contribution to altruism and compassion for others in physical, psychological, or economic distress; feelings of guilt over harming someone; feelings of anger at others who do harm; feelings of injustice when others do not receive their due.


Empathy and the Practice of Medicine
Beyond Pills and the Scalpel 

by Howard Spiro
Yale University Press, 1996, 222 pages, Amazon


Empathy Imperiled
Capitalism, Culture, and the Brain

by Gary Olson
Springer, 2012, 110 pages, Amazon

Empathy is putting oneself in another’s emotional and cognitive shoes and then acting appropriately. The evolutionary process has given rise to a hard-wired neural system, described as “the most radical of human emotions, that equips us to connect with one another.


Empathy in Conflict Intervention
The Key to Successful NVC Mediation

by Richard D Bowers, Nelle Moffett 
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform,  2012, 188 pages, Amazon

What empathy provides for the mediator is a way to create an unbiased connection with each client without reverting to a cold aloofness that is sometimes taught in mediation training.


Empathy in Education
Engagement, Values and Achievement

by Bridget Cooper
Bloomsbury Academic, 2013, 296 pages, Amazon

A thorough exploration of the role empathy plays in learning throughout all levels of education and its crucial relationship to motivation, values development and achievement.


Empathy in Patient Care
Antecedents, Development, Measurement, and Outcomes

by Mohammadreza Hojat
Springer; 2010, 296 pages, Amazon

Empathic engagement is the pillar of the patient-doctor relationship, which is not only beneficial to the patient, but also to the doctor.

Empathy in the Context of Philosophy
Renewing Philosophy

by Lou Agosta

This work begins from our Socratic ignorance of empathy. It applies four philosophical methods – phenomenology, self psychology, language analysis, and interpretive suspicion (hermeneutics) to generating a clearing for empathy as authentic being with one another in community. In philosophical empathy, the other individual humanizes the one who, in turn, give humanity back to the other in everyday empathy.

Empathy Lessons  

by Lou Agosta

CreateSpace Independent Publishing; 2018, 394 pages, Amazon

Breezy yet brainy, Empathy Lessons provides 30 compelling and actionable lessons in restoring and expanding empathy in relationships and emotional well-being, at home and at work, in parenting and in business, at school and in the private consulting room, in the corporate jungle and in the empathy desert, in the public market and in the intimacy of the bedroom. Empathy is oxygen for the soul.


Empathy Magic: Insides Out

by Marian Brickner, Anne Paris
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2013, 42 pages, Amazon

Through empathic encounters, immersive connections can ultimately diminish feelings of aloneness while strengthening the persons core... I believe one of your major tasks in moving through the creative process is finding a way to be more empathic with your own experience.


Empathy Reconsidered
New Directions in Psychotherapy

by Arthur Bohart (Editor), Leslie S. Greenberg (Editor)
Maureen O'Hara,.....
American Psychological Association, 1997, 477 pages, Amazon


Empathy - the sense of being "in feeling" with another - has long been acknowledged as an important part of the therapist-patient bond. But with the advent of managed-care approaches, short-term psychotherapy, and the growing popularity of manualized approaches, empathy has started to take on a diminished role seen as a useful but not vital element in therapy, good to have but not necessary for the therapy's success.


Empathy Stories
Heart, Connection, & Inspiration

Edited by  Mary Goyer 
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform  2016204 pages, Amazon

Empathy Stories is a collection of uplifting stories and anecdotes highlighting empathy-in-action in real conversations. These stories show what’s possible when compassion comes first between family, co-workers, and perfect strangers in difficult – even life threatening – interactions.


Empowered by Empathy
25 Ways to Fly in Spirit

by Rose Rosetree
Women's Intuition Worldwide,  2000, 342 pages, Amazon


Entangled Empathy
An Alternative Ethic for Our Relationships with Animals

by Lori Gruen
Lantern Books 2015, 144 pages, Amazon


Empathy is also something we are taught to "get over" or grow out of. We learn to quash our caring reactions for others, and our busy lives and immediate preoccupations provide excuses for not developing empathy.


From Detached Concern to Empathy
Humanizing Medical Practice

By Jodi Halpern
Oxford University Press, 2001, 115 pages, Amazon


As a psychiatrist as well as a faculty member in bioethics at UC Berkeley for almost two decades, I’ve investigated what happens to patients when their doctors show a lack of empathy. Doctors were trained to believe that emotional detachment from patients is personally and professionally necessary, but experience shows that patients don’t trust doctors who are aloof or superficially friendly. Yet, only recently have studies proven just how harmful detachment and how beneficial empathy is for healing....


Humanity on a Tightrope
Thoughts on Empathy, Family, and Big Changes for a Viable Future 

by Paul R. Ehrlich, Robert E. Ornstein 
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers 2012, 210 pages, Amazon


The feelings of empathy and semblance is to be cultivated and are extremely important in order to avert the collapsing civilization. It is high time that we educate ourselves with the basics of empathy that we have lost while being focused on catering to our individual needs. We all need to renew our knowledge of this one indispensable trait which can help all of us in thinking about our common life-planet.


Humanizing Health Care
Creating Cultures of Compassion With Nonviolent Communication

by Melanie Sears
Puddledancer Press,  2010, 112 pages, Amazon
Using the Nonviolent Communication process in healthcare.


When someone receives empathy, there is nothing to defend against so you are more likely to be seen as a friend. When you can empathize with anything they say, it gives them unconditional acceptance. This feels freeing to people and allows them to explore parts of themselves that they usually keep hidden.



I Am Your Mirror
Mirror Neurons and Empathy

by Matteo Rizzato 
Blossoming Books, 2014, 122 page, Amazon

Mirror neurons are one of the most extraordinary discoveries of contemporary neuroscience. They explain, on a scientific level, why we understand other people’s behavior to a deep degree. They were discovered by Professor Giacomo Rizzolatti, who wrote the preface to this book.



I Feel You
The Surprising Power of Extreme Empathy

by Chris Beam
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018, 272 pages, Amazon

A cogent, gorgeous examination of empathy, illuminating the myths, the science, and the power behind this transformative emotion Empathy has become a gaping fault line in American culture. Pioneering programs aim to infuse our legal and educational systems with more empathic thinking, even as pundits argue over whether we should bother empathizing with our political opposites at all. Meanwhile, we are inundated with the buzzily termed “empathic marketing”—which may very well be a contradiction in terms.



If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?
My Adventures in the Art and Science of Relating and Communicating

by Alan Alda
Random House  2017, 240 page, Amazon

Award-winning actor Alan Alda tells the fascinating story of his quest to learn how to communicate better, and to teach others to do the same. With his trademark humor and candor, he explores how to develop empathy as the key factor.


Kinesthetic Empathy in Creative and Cultural Practices

by Dee Reynolds (Editor), Matthew Reason (Editor)
Intellect Ltd  2012, 334 pages, Amazon



Listening Well
The Art of Empathic Understanding

By William R Miller
Wipf and Stock  2018,  114 pages Amazon

Are you a good listener? How well do you really know the people around you? A capacity for empathic understanding is hard-wired in our brains, but its full expression involves particular listening skills that are seldom learned through ordinary experience. Through clear explanation, specific examples, and practical exercises, Dr. Miller offers a step-by-step process for developing your skillfulness in empathic listening. With a solid basis in sixty years of scientific research, these communication skills are not limited to professionals, and can be learned and applied in your everyday life.


Mirroring People
The Science of Empathy and How We Connect

By Marco Iacoboni
Picador, 2009, 336 pages, Amazon


Empathy plays a fundamental role in our social lives. It allows us to share emotions, experiences, needs, and goals. Not surprisingly, there is much empirical evidence suggesting a strong link between between mirror neurons (or some general forms of neuronal mirroring) and empathy.


Nonviolent Communication
A Language of Life, Life-Changing Tools for Healthy Relationships

by Marshall B. Rosenberg
Puddledancer Press, 2015, 280 pages, Amazon


Empathy is a respectful understanding of what others are experiencing. Instead of offering empathy, we often have a strong urge to give advice or reassurance and to explain our own position or feeling. Empathy, however, calls upon us to empty our mind and listen to others with our whole being.


Organizing through Empathy

by Kathryn Pavlovich (Editor), Keiko Krahnke (Editor)
Routledge, 2013, 248 pages
, Amazon

This book challenges the existing paradigm of capitalism by providing scientific evidence and empirical data that empathy is the most important organizing mechanism. The book is unique in that it provides a comprehensive review of the transformational qualities of empathy in personal, organizational and local contexts


Practical Empathy
For Collaboration and Creativity in Your Work

by Indi Young
Rosenfeld Media, 2015, 200 pages, Amazon
Empathy in human-centered design.


Conventional product development focuses on the solution.  Empathy is a mindset that focuses on people, helping you to understand their thinking patterns and perspectives.


Practicing the Art of Compassionate Listening

by ANDREA S. COHENLeah GreenSusan Partnow
The Compassionate Listening Project, 2011, 84 pages, Amazon
Training, How to do empathic listening.


How to build a culture of empathy?
Listen with the heart and teach people specific conflict resolution skills they can use in the heat of conflict when they might tend to lose their ability to stay centered in the heart.


Roots of Empathy
Changing the World Child by Child

by Mary Gordon
The Experiment, 2009, 312 pages, Amazon

Gordon, Mary (2009) Roots of Empathy: Changing the World Child by Child (The Experiment)

Your quest for an empathic culture, or a Culture of Empathy as you call it, I think is a great quest. I don't think it's ever to late to develop empathy. It starts so naturally... I think we should do everything that we can to cultivate empathy and we can do it at every level. So why would we not.


The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself

By Kristin Neff
William Morrow, 2011, 320 pages, Amazon


Neff, Kristin (2011) Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself (William Morrow)

More and more, psychologists are turning away from an emphasis on self-esteem and moving toward  self-compassion in the treatment of their patients.


Stand in My Shoes
Kids Learning About Empathy

by Bob Sornson
Love and Logic Press, 2013, 30 pages, Amazon


The Age of Empathy
Nature's Lessons for a Kinder Society

By Frans de Waal
Crown, 2009, 304 pages, Amazon


Humans overestimate the complexity of empathy. If you tell the average psychologist there's empathy in animals, they will say that's not possible. They think empathy means you consciously put yourself in the shoes of somebody else. We now know from human research that there’s a lot of empathy in automatic responses.

De Waal, Frans (2010) The Age of Empathy: Natures Lessons for a Kinder Society (London, Souvenir Press)


The Art of Empathy
A Complete Guide to Life's Most Essential Skill

by Karla McLaren  
Sounds True, 2013, 392 pages, Amazon


Empathy is possibly the most important social skill you possess, yet it can be very fragile. It is common to get triggered and lose the capacity to empathize in the presence of conflict, anger, fear, or anxiety. You may attack or withdraw, or become unable to think or feel your way to a more useful response.


The Empathic Brain
How the Discovery of Mirror Neurons Changes our Understanding of Human Nature

by Christian Keysers 
Social Brain Press, 2011, 248 pages, Amazon

A brain imaging study in the Netherlands shows individuals with psychopathy have reduced empathy while witnessing the pains of others. When asked to empathize, however, they can activate their empathy.


The Empathic Civilization
The Race to Global Consciousness in a World in Crisis

By Jeremy Rifkin
Tarcher, 2009, 688 page, Amazon


When one empathizes with another, the experience is an affirmation of his or her existence and a celebration of his or her life. Empathetic moments are the most intensively alive experiences we ever have.


The Empathic Practitioner
Empathy, Gender, and Medicine

by Ellen More  
Rutgers University Press, 1994, 276 pages, Amazon


The Empathy Effect

Seven Neuroscience-Based Keys for Transforming the Way We Live, Love, Work, and Connect Across Differences


by Helen Riess

Sounds True, 2018, 240 pages Amazon


Empathy is undergoing a new evolution. In a global and interconnected culture, we can no longer afford to identify only with people who seem to be a part of our “tribe.” As Dr. Helen Riess of Harvard Medical School has learned, our capacity for empathy is not just an innate trait—it is also a skill that we can learn and expand. With The Empathy Effect, the leading researcher presents a groundbreaking teaching book to help us learn essential skills for transforming the way we relate to others in any situation.


The Empathy Exams

by Leslie Jamison
Graywolf, 2014, 256 pages, Amazon


Empathy isn't just something that happens to us - a meteor shower of synapses firing across the brain - it's also a choice we make: to pay attention, to extend ourselves


The Empathy Gap
Building Bridges to the Good Life and the Good Society

By J.D. Trout
Viking Adult, 2009, 320 pages, Amazon


People agree that empathy is a good thing. We usually like the people who display it, and take its absence as a sign of pathology.


The Empathy Factor
Your Competitive Advantage for Personal, Team, and Business Success

by Marie R. Miyashiro
Puddledancer Press, 2011,  256 pages, Amazon

Nonviolent Communication in Business.
I believe there are two ways to nourish a culture of empathy. One is simply one person at a time. The connection I have with you in this moment.


The Empathy Trap
Understanding Antisocial Personalities

by Jane McGregor, Tim McGregor
Sheldon Press, 2013 128 pages, Amazon


Sociopathy affects an estimated 1-4% of the population, but not all sociopaths are cold-blooded murderers. They're best described as people without a conscience, who prey on those with high levels of empathy, but themselves lack any concern for others' feelings and show no remorse for their actions.


The Ethics of Care and Empathy

by Michael Slote
Routledge, 2007 152 pages, Amazon


Care ethicists often speak about empathy and its role in caring attitudes and relationships, but they haven't stressed empathy to anything like the extent that I shall be doing here. I shall, for example, be making use of the recent literature of psychology to argue that empathy is the primary mechanism of caring, benevolence, compassion, etc.



The Moral Molecule
The Source of Love and Prosperity

By Paul J. Zak
Dutton Adult, 2012, 256 pages, Amazon

The role of Oxytocin in empathy.

The Moral Molecule is a first-hand account of the discovery of a molecule that makes us moral. It reveals that compassion [and empathy] is part of our human nature, why loneliness can kill you, and why your neighbor may be a psychopath.

Zak, Paul J. (2012) The Moral Molecule: The Source of Love and Prosperity (Dutton Adult)


The Power of Empathy
A Practical Guide to Creating Intimacy, Self-understanding, and Lasting Love in Your Life

by Arthur Ciaramicoli, Katherine Ketcham
Dutton Adult, 2000 288 pages, Amazon


Empathy is the bridge spanning the chasm that separates us from each other. With empathy as our guide we can extend our boundaries, reaching into unexplored territory to create deep, heartfelt relationships.


The Science of Evil
On Empathy and the Origins of Cruelty

By Simon Baron-Cohen
Basic Books, 2011, 256 pages, Amazon

Baron-Cohen, Simon (2011) Zero Degrees of Empathy: A New Theory of Human Cruelty (London, Allen Lane).

Including research, this title presents a way of understanding what it is that leads individuals down negative paths, and challenges us to consider replacing the idea of evil with the idea of empathy-starvation.


The Social Neuroscience of Empathy

By Jean Decety and William Ickes (Co-Editors)
The MIT Press, 2011, 272 pages, Amazon

Social neuroscience has begun to examine the neurobiological mechanisms that instantiate empathy, especially in response to signals of distress and pain, and how certain dispositional and contextual moderators modulate its experience.


The Stress Solution
Using Empathy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to Reduce Anxiety and Develop Resilience

by Arthur Ciaramicoli
New World Library,  2016, 232 pages, Amazon


“We work too much, sleep too little, love with half a heart, and wonder why we are unhappy and unhealthy,” writes clinical psychologist Arthur Ciaramicoli. In The Stress Solution, Ciaramicoli provides readers with simple, realistic, powerful techniques for using empathy and cognitive behavioral therapy to perceive situations accurately, correct distorted thinking, and trigger our own neurochemistry to produce calm, focused energy.


Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life

by Karen Armstrong
Anchor, 2011, 240 pages, Amazon

Karen Armstrong believes that while compassion is intrinsic in all human beings, each of us needs to work diligently to cultivate and expand our capacity for compassion.


Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World

by Michele Borba
Touchstone, 2016, 288 pages, Amazon

Bestselling author Michele Borba offers a 9-step program to help parents cultivate empathy in children, from birth to young adulthood—and explains why developing a healthy sense of empathy is a key predictor of which kids will thrive and succeed in the future.


How to Use Empathy to Create Products People Love

by Jon Kolko
Harvard Business Review Press,  224 pages, Amazon
Empathy in human-centered design.


The key, says Kolko, is empathy. You need to deeply understand customer needs and feelings, and this understanding must be reflected in the product. In successive chapters of the book, we see how leading companies use a design process of storytelling and iteration that evokes positive emotions, changes behavior, and creates deep engagement.


Wired to Care
How Companies Prosper When They Create Widespread Empathy

by Dev Patnaik,  
FT Press,  2009, 266 pages, Amazon
Empathy in business

How can you create new value if your company doesn't have a gut sense for what people outside its walls actually value? The challenge facing business today isn't a lack of innovation, it's lack of empathy.