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'It’s almost like these areas of the brain behave according to a neural Golden Rule.'
Literary fiction might be more empathy-generating than genre books.
A good story can be so much more than entertainment.
We could all use this right about now.
And although the focus on empathy in the workplace and the new breed of business books is heartening, I wonder whether non-fiction is the best place for business managers and leaders to gain an understanding of empathy. I believe that Cloudstreet, Animal Farm or Harry Potter could be a better place to start.
Australia, we have a communication problem. If there’s one thing to be learned from the events of the last month, it’s that as a nation we’re struggling to listen to and hear each other, both in our politics and in our communities.
We don’t have a “refugee problem”. We have a problem with inequality and disenfranchisement. We have a problem with social integration, with people genuinely feeling that our society and politics shuts them out, fails to value them.
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At the entrance of Lionel Watts Oval in Belrose, Sydney, there's a sign reminding people that they're not at the SCG. Most people look at the sign and smile. Others roll their eyes.
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It's almost like everyone is ignoring the massive elephant in the room: no strategy works if any of the kids are having a shit day. Or a shit life.
Australia has been a bit slack in our ability to put ourselves in the shoes of others. Look at Tinder, where with a mere swipe to the left or right we either accept or dismiss a whole human being. And why wouldn't we? It feels great to be in control; it feels great to be liked. But are we losing our sense of empathy?