BOOK REVIEW: Humans of New York

EMPATHY as a field of scientific study — rather than a touchy-feely religion-infused area of undefinables — is fascinating. Turns out we’re hardwired to “feel with” or “feel into” and that it has an important social function.

One could even go so far as to say that the old notions of “dog eats dog” and “survival of the toughest” are losing, among the world’s thinkers, some cachet as the primary way in which we survive. Empathy, in fact, is thought to be integral to social survival.

Brandon Stanton steps into this growing area of scientific interest. He’s not a scientist. Neither is he, by training, a photographer, storyteller, social worker or psychologist. But within a mere five years, he has provided possibly the most visible, most engaging and most talked about empathy experiments the world has ever seen.