Psychologist SHOWS YOU How You Could Cultivate More EMPATHY in Your Life | Jamil Zaki


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When you think of empathy you may think of being overpowered with feelings and emotions for someone close to you that is having a response to something. Possibly you lump sympathy in the same basket with empathy and toss kindness in for good measure. Stanford professor and psychologist, Jamil Saki, joins me to not only break down the distinction between empathy and sympathy, but also explains the reason that empathy is critical to success and achieving goals. Understanding how empathy is so closely connected to how we advance as communities and build stronger relationships is life changing.

Order Jamil Zaki’s new book, The War for Kindness:

War For Kindness Empathy Gym:


War For Kindness | Jamil explains the oxymoron and the need to fight separation [0:26]

Darwin Debunked | Jamil on how much more successful species are working together [2:26]

Kindness Wins | 2 ways kindness is proven to be evolutionary winner & key to success [4:04]

Collaborative Intelligence | Why humans have evolved intelligence to collaborate and win [6:10]

Cooperation | Jamil on the effectiveness of cooperation to advance culture and society [9:24]

Empathy | Jamil on why empathy is a vital skill for relationships and achieving goals [10:34]

Defining Empathy | 3 parts that define the full range of empathy for connecting to others [11:56]

Empathy & Kindness | Why you can have one without the other and how it’s less healthy [13:00]

Sympathy | Why Jamil avoids this term and feels the word has been compromised [14:19]

Helpful Empathy | Jamil explains why certain parts empathy are not always useful [20:13]

Survival Skill | How Jamil landed on his passion for exploring empathy as psychologist [21:57]

Parochial Empathy | Jamil on how conflict leads us to selective empathy [26:24]

Train Up Empathy | Jamil shares ways to build and improve empathy [30:08]

Rwanda Genocide | How story-telling is being used to heal and finding empathy [34:27]

Contact | How prejudice & hatred are easiest at a distance and how Tony found empathy [38:33]


“empathy is actually a vital skill that allows us to accomplish a lot of our goals” [10:47]

“sometimes I think people imagine that empathizing has to mean, I hurt when you hurt, and if we believe that then that can get get us into some cul de sac with our own process of empathy that we don't really need to go into.” [21:32]

“I think of my parents divorce as like an empathy gym.” [23:43]

“when we immerse ourselves in those stories, we can build our empathy towards real people, we can broaden our care towards real others, and that can be another really powerful way to practice this sort of personal growth” [38:05]

Guest Bio:

JAMIL ZAKI is a professor of psychology at Stanford University and the director of the Stanford Social Neuroscience Lab. Using tools from psychology and neuroscience, he and his colleagues examine how empathy works and how people can learn to empathize more effectively. His writing on these topics has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the New Yorker, and the Atlantic. He lives in San Francisco with his wife and their two daughters.

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835 episodes