100 books like The Empathy Effect

By Liz Neporent, Helen Riess,

Here are 100 books that The Empathy Effect fans have personally recommended if you like The Empathy Effect. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Human Motivation

Richard E. Boyatzis Author Of Helping People Change: Coaching with Compassion for Lifelong Learning and Growth

From my list on building leadership skills through models.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a professor and scientist, using my Intentional Change Theory (ICT), I have studied sustained desired change of individuals, teams, organizations, communities, and countries since 1967. I have authored more than 200 articles and 9 books on leadership, competencies, emotional intelligence, competency development, coaching, neuroscience, and management education (including the international best-seller, Primal Leadership with Daniel Goleman and Annie McKee and the recent Helping People Change with Melvin Smith and Ellen Van Oosten). I run several Coursera MOOCs, including Inspiring Leadership Through Emotional Intelligence which has over a million enrolled from 215 countries.

Richard's book list on building leadership skills through models

Richard E. Boyatzis Why did Richard love this book?

To me, an important book should: (1) help us to understand and see things differently; (2) be based on careful research and empirically based; and (3) stand the test of time.

Motivating others is the primary purpose if leaders. McClelland led research into the unconscious processes that motivate people. Using projective techniques and latent coding of myths, folklore, music, prayers, literature and such, he and his colleagues unlocked the deeper messages socialized into people. In this book, McClelland reveals a rich 50 year history of rigorous research from psychology, anthropology, sociology, and history. His theory of motivation is the most liberating and useful, as well as validated through voluminous research. He compiled and updated his many books, articles and those of colleagues in this, his last magnum opus. If you wish to learn about Needs for Achievement, Affiliation and Power and how they explain everything from effectiveness to relationships to…

By David C. McClelland,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Human Motivation as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Human Motivation, originally published in 1987, offers a broad overview of theory and research from the perspective of a distinguished psychologist whose creative empirical studies of human motives span forty years. David McClelland describes methods for measuring motives, the development of motives out of natural incentives and the relationship of motives to emotions, to values and to performance under a variety of conditions. He examines four major motive systems - achievement, power, affiliation and avoidance - reviewing and evaluating research on how these motive systems affect behaviour. Scientific understanding of motives and their interaction, he argues, contributes to understanding of…


Book cover of Working With Emotional Intelligence

John Beeson Author Of The Unwritten Rules: The Six Skills You Need to Get Promoted to the Executive Level

From my list on advancing and succeeding at the executive level.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve spent many years as a management consultant to a range of big, global corporations, smaller companies, and not-for-profits. I also headed up succession planning and management development at two major companies. I decided to go into this field based on a strong conviction, a conviction that continues today: that leadership counts. Strong leaders benefit people in their organizations and, ultimately, society itself. Having worked with many senior leaders and led organizations myself, I know the range of pressures executives face and how easy it is to fail. Companies need a supply of capable, well-equipped senior leaders, and those who aspire to top-level positions need guideposts about achieving their career aspirations. 

John's book list on advancing and succeeding at the executive level

John Beeson Why did John love this book?

This book has more than stood the test of time.

Goleman played a key role in popularizing the notion of emotional intelligence. It’s a key skill for any executive but one I find is often misunderstood. Goleman makes a strong case that one’s emotional intelligence is rooted firmly in self-control and self-mastery. That is, you can’t really tune into others in a deep way unless you are in control of yourself and your emotions. I use this book often in my coaching, and it’s a revelation to many senior leaders and aspiring executives. 

By Daniel Goleman,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Working With Emotional Intelligence as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Do you want to be more successful at work? Do you want to improve your chances of promotion? Do you want to get on better with your colleagues? Daniel Goleman draws on unparalleled access to business leaders around the world and the thorough research that is his trademark. He demonstrates that emotional intelligence at work matters twice as much as cognitive abilities such as IQ or technical expertise in this inspiring sequel.


Book cover of Moving Up without Losing Your Way: The Ethical Costs of Upward Mobility

Richard E. Boyatzis Author Of Helping People Change: Coaching with Compassion for Lifelong Learning and Growth

From my list on building leadership skills through models.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a professor and scientist, using my Intentional Change Theory (ICT), I have studied sustained desired change of individuals, teams, organizations, communities, and countries since 1967. I have authored more than 200 articles and 9 books on leadership, competencies, emotional intelligence, competency development, coaching, neuroscience, and management education (including the international best-seller, Primal Leadership with Daniel Goleman and Annie McKee and the recent Helping People Change with Melvin Smith and Ellen Van Oosten). I run several Coursera MOOCs, including Inspiring Leadership Through Emotional Intelligence which has over a million enrolled from 215 countries.

Richard's book list on building leadership skills through models

Richard E. Boyatzis Why did Richard love this book?

Like most countries of the world, the US is built on waves and steady immigration. As one of the few countries where upward mobility is possible, and economic prosperity abounds, we have been a magnet for immigrants wanting a better life for themselves and their children. Professor Morton extends the challenges of marginality, social class, as well as ethnic and racial and gender prejudice to the experience of modern day immigrants. Her stories and research reflect the experience any of us have had as immigrants or children of them. She also explains how the cultural and identity changes needed to go beyond surviving to thriving often involve letting go of previous parts of ourselves and identities.

By Jennifer Morton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Moving Up without Losing Your Way as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The ethical and emotional tolls paid by disadvantaged college students seeking upward mobility and what educators can do to help these students flourish

Upward mobility through the path of higher education has been an article of faith for generations of working-class, low-income, and immigrant college students. While we know this path usually entails financial sacrifices and hard work, very little attention has been paid to the deep personal compromises such students have to make as they enter worlds vastly different from their own. Measuring the true cost of higher education for those from disadvantaged backgrounds, Moving Up without Losing Your…


Book cover of The Sword and the Shield: The Revolutionary Lives of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.

Charles Postel Author Of Equality: An American Dilemma, 1866-1896

From my list on the struggle for equality in the USA.

Why am I passionate about this?

These days I am a history professor and prize-winning author. But before I started my education at my local community college, I dropped out of high school to work odd jobs on farms and in factories, and spent two decades pondering the hows and whys of the gaping inequalities in our society. My books are part of that ongoing quest. They have won a number of awards, including the Bancroft Prize and the Frederick Jackson Turner Award.

Charles' book list on the struggle for equality in the USA

Charles Postel Why did Charles love this book?

Martin or Malcolm? Civil Rights or Black Power? Integration or Separation? In this book, equal parts wise and smart, Joseph shows the limits of such questions. With their different styles and ways, both Martin and Malcolm fought for the common cause of equality and full citizenship. This book gets to the heart of why this cause was the defining struggle for equality of the post-World War Two decades.

By Peniel E. Joseph, Peniel E. Joseph,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Sword and the Shield as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X are the two most iconic figures of the Civil Rights movement. To most Americans, Malcolm and Martin represent contrasting political ideals -- self-defense vs. non-violence, anger vs. pacifism, separatism vs. integration, the sword vs. the shield. The Civil Rights movement itself has suffered the same fate: while non-violent direct action is remembered today as an unalloyed good and an unassailable part of our democracy, the movement's combative militancy has been either vilified or erased outright. In The Sword and the Shield, acclaimed historian Peniel Joseph offers a dual biography of Malcolm and Martin…


Book cover of Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion

Vangelis Chiotis Author Of The Morality of Economic Behaviour: Economics as Ethics

From my list on economic morality.

Why am I passionate about this?

Two self-interested people will try to outperform each other. One will win, the other will lose. If they instead cooperate, both will win a bit, and lose a bit. Is this preferable? I say yes, because in the long term, winning a bit many times, is better than winning a lot, once. Choosing short-term gain at the expense of long-term benefit is a waste of potential for societies and individuals. Traditional morality works, sometimes, in some cases. Rational morality can fill the gaps, and expand the circle of morality so that when higher ideals fail or become too difficult to follow, rationality can be about more than just short-term self-interest.

Vangelis' book list on economic morality

Vangelis Chiotis Why did Vangelis love this book?

Paul Bloom wants to persuade the reader to be against empathy, as he is, because morally we’re better off without empathy.

He is right, and I see his argument as similar to the argument made by Sugden, although its structure is very different. Bloome, rightly, says that we cannot rely on empathy to be moral – we need something more and something more tangible.

That something might be rationality, although Bloome himself prefers to speak of reason. Moral theories have for too long relied on unstable ground: empathy and moral character.

If we care about morality, we must ground it on more solid ground.

By Paul Bloom,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Against Empathy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In a divided world, empathy is not the solution, it is the problem; a source of prejudice, not kindness.

We think of empathy - the ability to feel the suffering of others for ourselves - as the ultimate source of all good behaviour. But while it inspires care and protection in personal relationships, it has the opposite effect in the wider world. As the latest research in psychology and neuroscience shows, we feel empathy most for those we find attractive and who seem similar to us and not at all for those who are different, distant or anonymous. Empathy therefore…


Book cover of I See You

Jacqueline B. Toner Author Of Yes I Can!: A Girl and Her Wheelchair

From my list on acceptance and empathy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always loved children. I love tiny babies just discovering the world around them. I love elementary-age kids who are taking pride in developing new skills and learning how to deal with challenges. I love teens who are questioning and rethinking the things they thought they knew. I also love the science and practice of psychology (my profession for over thirty years) and, I love books. To date, I have written nine books. My audience ranges from preschool to high school and topics include strategies to understand and cope with problems as well as psychology as a topic of study.

Jacqueline's book list on acceptance and empathy

Jacqueline B. Toner Why did Jacqueline love this book?

Although this picture book has no words, its message of caring and compassion is clear and powerful. A small boy becomes aware of a homeless woman and simply, gently, acknowledges her. This innocent and kind book serves may serve as an opening to talk to children about homelessness. It also may help us all to remember not to ignore those less fortunate.

By Michael Genhart, Joanne Lew-Vriethoff (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I See You as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

I See You is a wordless picture book that depicts a homeless woman who is unseen by everyone around her - except for a little boy. Over the course of a year, the boy is witness to all that she endures. Ultimately, in a gesture of compassion, the boy acknowledges her through an exchange in which he sees her and she experiences being seen. This book opens the door for kids and parents to begin a conversation about homelessness. In a "Note for Parents, Educators, and Neighbours", there are discussion questions and additional resources about helping the homeless. Ages 4-8.


Book cover of Tiny

Sarah P. Blanchard Author Of Drawn from Life

From my list on the strength of the human spirit.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been drawn to the natural world—not just its beauty but also its dirt, the earthiness and vitality of it. I prefer the company of animals to humans and the questions of curious children to the bland certainty of adults. I’ve worked as a teacher, news reporter, horse trainer, volunteer firefighter, and website designer. I try to pull bits of all these experiences together into my writing while also exploring the characters who fascinate me: flawed, compassionate protagonists who believe they must battle their demons alone and complex antagonists who think they have nothing to lose. There’s nothing so satisfying as a high-stakes challenge with an unpredictable outcome.

Sarah's book list on the strength of the human spirit

Sarah P. Blanchard Why did Sarah love this book?

This book snuck up on me. It’s a lovely story of hope and the strength of the human spirit, featuring three ordinary people living their lives who are suddenly tied together by the tragedy of an accidental death.

I love Hooper’s descriptions of their attempts to muddle through pain and loss, seeking reconciliation and a path forward. This book finds a more upbeat ending than the others on my list, as forgiveness, hope, empathy, and the possibility of a new life come shining through. I love the writer’s obvious compassion for all her characters.

By Kim Hooper,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tiny as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of Janine

Norene Paulson Author Of What's Silly Hair Day with No Hair?

From my list on children’s picture books on inclusion.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a former middle school language arts teacher, I’ve witnessed firsthand the struggles some students face trying to be accepted and the heartbreak they experience when they are not. Every child deserves to be seen and appreciated for who they are and not be excluded or ostracized due to factors over which they have little control. I write and promote picture books about friendship, acceptance, and inclusion because everyone deserves to be included…always. 

Norene's book list on children’s picture books on inclusion

Norene Paulson Why did Norene love this book?

As a middle school teacher, I knew a lot of Janines. Janine has her own style and isn’t afraid to be herself even if the “cool” kids think she’s odd. However, add in invites to a “cool” kids’ party and Janine has a problem. To attend, the “cool” kids want her to change. How far will Janine go to be included? To be included is a powerful desire but at what cost? Unfortunately, scenarios like this occur every day in classrooms across the country, but this book shines a light on the importance of looking at each person’s uniqueness through the lenses of kindness, compassion, and empathy. 

By Maryann Cocca-Leffler,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Janine as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 5, and 6.

What is this book about?

ILA 2016 Teachers' Choices Reading List

Meet Janine. She is one of a kind! Janine dresses a little different, remembers random facts, reads the dictionary for fun, and has her own style of cheering. Nobody does things the way Janine does things! One girl in Janine's class is throwing a party and all the COOL kids are invited. But Janine is not cool. Some kids think she is strange and want her to change. Will Janine try to be different or just be her spectacular self? In this charming story, Maryann Cocca-Leffler uses her own daughter as inspiration for a…


Book cover of Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself

Lauren Cook Author Of Generation Anxiety: A Millennial and Gen Z Guide to Staying Afloat in an Uncertain World

From my list on how to cope and live with anxiety.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve lived with anxiety for most of my life. Whether it’s been with emetophobia (a phobia of vomit) or an intense bout of panic attacks, I know the story well. Now, as a psychologist, I’ve seen up close what works and what doesn’t. I love helping my clients and the audiences that I work with learn how to accept their anxiety, rather than try to make it go away. This is often counterintuitive at first but we can still live an empowered life, even with the anxiety present. When we do this, we’ve unlocked a whole new level of liberation where we can show up fully, worries and all. 

Lauren's book list on how to cope and live with anxiety

Lauren Cook Why did Lauren love this book?

This book is a staple in the field of psychology and mental health and for very good reason.

So many of us struggle with being kind to our mind and we worry that we’ll truly fall apart if we are compassionate to ourselves. Dr. Neff brings the evidence-backed research to prove that self-compassion is the antidote to anxiety and it has incredibly restorative potential to help us not only get back to baseline, but truly feel better.

By Kristin Neff,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Self-Compassion as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE 10TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION WITH A NEW FOREWORD FROM KRISTIN NEFF

'Kristin Neff offers practical, wise guidance on the path of emotional healing and deep inner transformation.' Tara Brach, PhD, author of Radical Acceptance

Kristin Neff PhD, is a professor in educational psychology, and the world's expert on self-compassion. A pioneer who established self-compassion as a field of study, Kristin offers a powerful solution for combating negativity and insecurity - the symptoms of living in a high-pressure world.

Through tried and tested exercises and audio downloads, readers learn the 3 core components that will help to heal destructive emotional patterns…


Book cover of What Do You Do With an Idea?

Tina Koopersmith Author Of What Am I?

From my list on young children to build self compassion.

Why am I passionate about this?

Children feel all their emotions, but I learned to suppress many emotions to avoid criticism. The youngest, I learned to not trust my intuition. I was taught that the mind was the path to success. In my chosen medical profession, physicians use intellect to heal bodies. The interconnection of thoughts, emotions, energy as well as interconnections between people and the environment are ignored. This separation from all of me was sapping me of the joy of living a full life. During my self healing integration journey: I uncovered limiting beliefs, reconnected with my heart, and dove deep into the source of my pleasure. Bringing this awareness to light should be healing.

Tina's book list on young children to build self compassion

Tina Koopersmith Why did Tina love this book?

This book encourages young children to believe in their thoughts, their ideas, their inner knowing.

This book encourages creativity, self-compassion, motivation, and action. It encourages young children to persevere and not give up hope, even if others cannot appreciate their ideas and their goals. It reminds children that a “NO” is not a failure, but just an opportunity to pivot or change tactics.

By Kobi Yamada, Mae Besom (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked What Do You Do With an Idea? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

A New York Times Best Seller and award-winning book, What Do You Do With an Idea? is for anyone who's ever had a big idea. This is the story of one brilliant idea and the child who helps to bring it into the world. As the child's confidence grows, so does the idea itself. And then, one day, something amazing happens. This is a story for anyone, at any age, who's ever had an idea that seemed a little too big, too odd, too difficult. It's a story to inspire you to welcome that idea, to give it some space…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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