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Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion Hardcover – December 6, 2016

4.1 out of 5 stars 272 ratings

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From the Publisher

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

An Amazon Best Book of December 2016: Raise your hand if you're against empathy. No one…? Paul Bloom freely admits that taking a stance against empathy is a position that most people will shun. But as Bloom lays out his argument for why rational analysis, morality, and compassion are better compass points to follow for making the world a better place, indeed, empathy begins to sound like a miserable basis for decision-making. Parenting, charity, psychotherapy, and war all come under Bloom's scrutiny, and with a wry voice and lots of examples, he knocks down one by one the arguments for why empathy would create better outcomes. Careful to draw the line between compassion and empathy, Bloom can sometimes sound like he's retreading the same argument's path, but his tongue-in-cheek asides keep the book entertaining and drew me to the end long after I'd come to agree with his premise. For those who want to understand better how the heart and head battle for supremacy and which organ should be a better guide, this is a counterintuitive approach that's as entertaining to read as it is informative. --Adrian Liang, The Amazon Book Review


“An invigorating, relevant and often very funny re-evaluation of empathy, one of our culture’s most ubiquitous sacred cows, which in Mr. Bloom’s view should be gently led to the abattoir.” (New York Times)

“Provocative . . . In a time of post-truth politics, his book offers a much-needed call for facts.” (The Economist)

“Cleverly contrarian…” (New York Post)

“A lucidly argued tract about the hazards of good intentions.” (Vox)

“Like a tough-to-crack case against an idea that most of us have long known is key to repairing the world… will legitimately change how you think about the world and your own sense of morality.” (New York Magazine)

“Mr. Bloom is undoubtedly right that empathy alone makes for bad policy: While it can motivate us to care, we need reason to help us design and implement policies aimed at reducing suffering.” (Wall Street Journal)

“A nuanced foray into some fraught grey areas.” (Nature)

“Refreshing.” (Library Journal)

“Provocative… and powerful.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Bloom’s more positive view of the role of reason fits with what I take to be the correct understanding of ethics.” (Project Syndicate)

Product details

  • Item Weight : 12.8 ounces
  • Hardcover : 304 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 0062339338
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0062339331
  • Publisher : Ecco (December 6, 2016)
  • Product Dimensions : 0.9 x 5.2 x 7.9 inches
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.1 out of 5 stars 272 ratings
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