The War For Kindness is out in the world today, and it is a war. The subtitle: Building Empathy in a Fractured World is what got me. We all know we should be kinder, we know that as a society, we are often impatient at best and cruel at our worst- primarily online.
Zaki has provided a primer of how all of us can grow in kindness, and he doesn’t just say what he thinks. The Appendix contains a proof of validity to every claim that he makes in the book. The footnotes are extensive, and inside each chapter, you’ll find the narrative highly exciting and easily readable.
This isn’t a boring thesis on the subject it shows example after example of how we as humans rarely hate what we know. It isn’t just a book that says don’t hate- study after study shows that building empathy is a key to kindness
I especially enjoyed reading about the Changing Lives program where convicted felons are introduced to classic literature like The Old Man and the Sea in a discussion setting with the judge who sentenced them and the DA. The discussions include an English professor, and upon successful completion, their sentences were shortened. No one shared personal stories, but through the study of the circumstances and actions of the characters, the convicted men soon began to draw parallels to their own lives and times. They gained empathy into fictional characters, and even that helped them as they struggled through their challenges. At the end of the first year, 45% had not re-offended. There are dozens of other examples in the book ranging from ancient times to the present. It is just excellent.
I think this book would be great for a book club, or assigned high school, college reading. It is my current go-to recommendation for a nonfiction Summer read.