Social Empathy: The Art of Understanding Others

Columbia Univ. Oct. 2018. 288p. illus. ISBN 9780231184809. $35; ebk. ISBN 9780231545686. PSYCH
Segal (social work, Arizona State Univ.; Social Welfare Policy and Social Programs, 4th ed.) summarizes her ten-plus years of research into social work, psychology, cognitive neuroscience, and sociology to present a new study of empathy, raising the fundamental helping skill of imagining oneself in another's place, to a higher level. Empathy is not sympathy or telling someone you know how they feel, writes Segal, who smartly emphasizes how to relate to another race, culture, gender, or any group defined by characteristics different from your own. As the author reminds, understanding and helping others are essential to our collective well-being, and exercising social empathy will advance us toward creating truly multicultural societies. Segal explains the fundamentals of empathy, why the skill is important yet difficult to emulate, barriers to developing the ability, such as physical stressors and other health factors, the role of religious dogma, and the impact of empathy of technology.
VERDICT Essential for all university libraries supporting social work. Ought to be required reading for the pathologically narcissistic POTUS and all his lackeys.

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