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

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


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"We are all connected on a neurobiological level far more than we have previously realized. Consciously or not, we are in constant, natural resonance with one another’s feelings. When we are engaged in shared mind awareness, the possibilities for mutual aid and collaborative problem solving abound."

Helen Riess, MD

A Revolutionary Guide for Understanding and Changing the Way We Connect

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 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, Dr. Riess presents a definitive resource on empathy: the science behind how it works, new research on how empathy develops from birth to adulthood, and tools for building your capacity to create authentic emotional connection with others in any situation.

Dr. Riess emerged as leading researcher on empathy by creating a breakthrough training curriculum now used internationally in health care, business, and education. Drawing from this successful program and the latest science, she presents:

• The E.M.P.A.T.H.Y.® method—a powerful seven-step system for understanding and increasing empathy, starting with Eye Contact and ending with Your Response

• How empathy works—a comprehensive synthesis emerging from neuroscience, sociology, developmental psychology, and evolutionary theory

• Tools for recognizing and promoting empathic behavior in yourself and others

• Parenting and teaching empathy in kids—guidance for every stage of development

• Texts, emojis, and digital empathy—the modern challenge of authentic connection in the information age

• Empathy through art and literature—exploring the power of creative expression to expand our emotional experience

• Leading with empathy—how political and business leaders can combine compassion with efficiency through group empathy skills and shared mind intelligence

• Digging deep for empathy—how to reverse scapegoating and recognize shared humanity with those we normally keep at a distance

• Self-compassion—why your ability to express love toward yourself affects every other relationship in your life

"Nourishing empathy lets us help not just ourselves," says Dr. Riess, "but also everyone we interact with, whether for a moment or a lifetime." The Empathy Effect is a life-changing book that will revolutionize the way you understand yourself, relate to your loved ones, and connect to every person in your life.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781683640288
Publisher: Sounds True, Incorporated
Publication date: 11/27/2018
Pages: 248
Sales rank: 215,088
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Helen Riess

HELEN RIESS, MD, is associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, HuffPost, JAMA, and more. She lives in Boston, Massachusetts. For more, visit

Liz Neporent

LIZ NEPORENT is an award-winning health and medical journalist, and is currently a managing editor at Medscape/WebMD. She lives in New York City and upstate New York. For more, visit

Table of Contents

Foreword Alan Alda ix

Introduction 1

Part I

Chapter 1 Shared Mind Intelligence 9

Chapter 2 How Empathy Works 17

Chapter 3 The Empathy Spectrum 27

Chapter 4 The Seven Keys of E.M.P.A.T.H.Y.® 43

Chapter 5 Who's In, Who's Out… 61

Part II

Chapter 6 Growing Up with Empathy 75

Chapter 7 The ABCs of Empathy in Education 95

Chapter 8 Texts, Screens, and Digital Empathy 113

Chapter 9 Empathy, Art, and Literature 125

Chapter 10 Leadership and the Politics of Empathy 147

Chapter 11 Digging Deep for Empathy 167

Chapter 12 Self-Empathy 187

Acknowledgments 201

References 205

Index 221

About the Author 225

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The Empathy Effect: Seven Neuroscience-Based Keys for Transforming the Way We Live, Love, Work, and Connect Across Differences 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Shelly9677 More than 1 year ago
Five stars! What more can I say? This book is informational, educational, rooted in scientific research and sorely needed! In a perfect world, health care professionals and educators would read this book and pass the knowledge on to their colleagues and students. As someone who has suffered empathy-burnout in the past and as a natural born advocate, I benefited greatly by reading this book. It was interesting, engaging and empowering.
CharJones2525 More than 1 year ago
The author, an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, shares the seven keys of her globally-renown neuroscience-based program for strengthening empathy. An important work in a world where our differences, rather than our human connectedness, are often emphasized to grave detriment. Highly recommended. Pub Date 27 Nov 2018 Thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for the review copy. Opinions are mine. #TheEmpathyEffect #NetGalley
DrRobertHughes More than 1 year ago
One of my favorite quotes is “ Common sense is not so common” ( Voltaire). And neither is empathy. If empathy were common, the world would likely be a much better place. And if we're trying to teach empathy in this world, there would be no better source then the new book by Harvard Psychiatrist, Helen Riess MD. But not only teach, but also understand the biology, sociology and psychology of empathy. Simply put, chapter 4 of Dr Riess’s treatise should be “required reading” for all Homo sapiens. What is empathy? Read chapter 4. It breaks it down, spells it out ( iterally) and will make any reader respond- “Oh, I get it now." And for the sophisticated reader (or would be sophisticate), the rest of the book spells out the science, the psychology and the math of empathy. It is well worth dwelling in. But for the me and those like me, we will applaud and dwell in Chapter 4. Thank you Dr. Riess. We owe you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I want to begin by saying that it's important to understand there is a difference between sympathy and empathy and it's significant, which you will understand more clearly when you read this remarkable must-read book, Dr. Riess covers the differences further in her book, and she writes, “Throughout every stage of development, parents shape a child’s ability to give and receive empathy. …raised by an abusive parent, the child will rarely want much to do with a parent as an adult.” As I read I asked myself, “Where has this book been for the last twenty or thirty years?” I was reading a book that helped me to understand my life more completely. I had always known my life was off-kilter in some areas, but I struggled with trust. And with discerning the difference in unhealthy and healthy love, etc.. I sought out psychiatrists and psychologists in an attempt to understand and correct my off-kilter issues that were the direct effect of my very early years. The Empathy Effect was not written for solely for scientists or physicians, including mental health. This book was written to benefit parent's interactions with their children; for teachers to learn how to interact with their students from pre-school to college; for politicians to interact with world leaders; for those in intimate relationships to learn to interact with one another. And for our communities, we are part of. As well as law enforcement agencies to learn how to interact with the public; and for leaders to better interact with their subordinates. The Empathy Effect is for parents with disabled children and caretakers. After reading this book and absorbing the power of the seven keys, this book, coupled with training should be made mandatory for teachers at all levels of education. It should be compulsory for politicians beginning with the President of this nation, and all leaders charged with managing subordinate personnel. This book is a must for the military and all law enforcement agencies as this book has the potential to save hundreds of lives. As well as all juvenile detention facility staff, and any other entity where there is the chance of blunting, rather than engaging empathy in others. We don’t look at one another anymore, and we don’t listen when someone else is speaking to us, we communicate via text message, email, and social media sites. I used to receive emails from someone sitting in the office right next to my mine, and the tone was often misread because I could not see the face of the sender. I wanted the sender to get off his or her lazy butt and walk next door to my office and talk to me. I encouraged face-to-face when possible to avoid misreading a sender’s feelings. There should be a copy of The Empathy Effect in every home in our country including the White House. I encourage everyone that reads my review to pre-order this book. I am confident that if enough people bought and read The Empathy Effect, and put it to use in their everyday lives, we would begin to see the changes we are so desperately in need of in many areas of life, and within our country. PLEASE get a copy of The Empathy Effect. And then begin the changes you need in your life to become a more empathetic person, or to increase your “empathic capacity" as Dr. Riess would say. The Empathy Effect can make our world great again. Thank you to Sounds True Publishing, NetGalley and Dr. Riess for the opportunity to read and review this 5-Star book. D.B. Moone