Book review: Simon Baron-Cohen examines the root of all evil: a lack of empathy

Baron-Cohen and his colleagues have developed a scale for measuring empathy and have identified “the ten major brain regions involved in’’ it. The book is an attempt to lay out this latest research, explain why it matters, and talk about the role of empathy in society. It succeeds on the first two fronts — albeit a bit dryly — but falters on the last.

Unsurprisingly, Baron-Cohen is particularly interested in people with “zero degrees of empathy’’ — that is, those who have “no awareness of how [they] come across to others, how to interact with others, or how to anticipate their feelings or reactions.’’