We’ve all read books and watched films that have transported us and changed us, that have catapulted our imaginations into lives vastly different from our own. Think of a movie like City of God, which reveals the violent world of two boys growing up in the shantytowns of Rio. Or the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, with its classic line, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view—until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”
These are the kinds of books and films that take us on unforgettable empathic journeys, enabling us to step into the shoes of strangers and look through other people’s eyes. It’s what I refer to in my new book Empathy: A Handbook for Revolution as “armchair empathy”—a kind of travel you can do from the comfort of your own home.