In Zero Degrees of Empathy: A New Theory of Human Cruelty and Kindness Simon Baron-Cohen takes fascinating and challenging new look at what exactly makes our behaviour uniquely human.
How can we ever explain human cruelty?
We have always struggled to understand why some people behave in the most evil way imaginable, while others are completely self-sacrificing. Is it possible that - rather than thinking in terms of 'good' and 'evil' - all of us instead lie somewhere on the empathy spectrum, and our position on that spectrum can be affected by both genes and our environments?
From the Nazi concentration camps of World War Two to the playgrounds of today, Simon Baron-Cohen examines empathy, cruelty and understanding in a groundbreaking study of what it means to be human.
'Fascinating ... dazzling ... a full-scale assault on what we think it is to be human' Sunday Telegraph
'Highly readable ... this is a valuable book' Charlotte Moore, Spectator
'Important ... humane and immensely sympathetic' Richard Holloway, Literary Review
Bringing cruelty triumphantly into the realm of science, this pioneering journey into human nature at last delivers us from 'evil'.
A compelling and provocative account of empathy as our most precious social resource. Lack of empathy lurks in the darkest corners of human history and Simon Baron Cohen does not shrink from looking at them under the fierce light of science.
Simon Baron-Cohen combines his creative talent with evidence and reason to make the case that evil is essentially a failure of empathy. It is an understanding that can enlighten an old debate and hold out the promise of new remedies.
A book that gets to the heart of man's inhumanity to man... Baron-Cohen has made a major contribution to our understanding of autism
Ground-breaking and important...This humane and immensely sympathetic book calls us to the task of reinterpreting aberrant human behaviour so that we might find ways of changing it for the better...The effect...is not to diminish the concept of human evil, but to demystify it
Fascinating and disturbing
Isn't it lucky...that the very people who can't put themselves into other people's shoes, have a champion [in Simon Baron-Cohen] who, by dint of his curiosity, has turned it into an art form?
Attractively humane...fascinating information about the relation between degrees of empathy and the state of our brains.
Easy to read and packed with anecdotes. The author conveys brain research with verve.