Now available: Design for Impact by Erin Weigel

Peak empathy? No, Practical Empathy!

06/16/2015

Practical Empathy cover thumbnailGiven that Indi Young and I first began discussing her new book idea many, many years ago, Practical Empathy: For Collaboration and Creativity in Your Work was a marathon in the making. Even the last mile proved to be full of unexpected (and unpleasant) challenges.

So I’m thrilled (and relieved) that, as of today, Practical Empathy is finally available! And not just in paperback; like all of our books, it’s also available in DRM-free PDF, MOBI, and ePUB formats. Learn more at the book’s site, where you can sample the table of contents, illustrations, FAQ, and read testimonials like this one from Karen McGrane:

Your product design should be informed by a deep understanding of user goals. In Practical Empathy, Indi outlines a way of working that goes beyond data-driven research methods to deliver genuine empathy for the people who use the things we make.

By the way, I know what you’re thinking: everyone’s talking about “empathy” lately. Are we at the point of having reached peak empathy? The answer really depends on what we mean by the word.

And Indi’s take on empathy is quite different than what you might assume:

This book is not about the kind of empathy where you feel the same emotions as another person. It’s about understanding how another person thinks—what’s going on inside her head and heart. And most importantly, it’s about acknowledging her reasoning and emotions as valid, even if they differ from your own understanding. This acknowledgment has all sorts of practical applications, especially in your work. This book explores using empathy in your work, both in the way you make things and the way you interact with people.

Yes, we all could stand to be more empathetic in the ways we feel about others. But Indi’s book focuses on cognitive empathy, which offers a huge and hugely practical payoff to anyone involved in just about any aspect of design. We hope you’ll enjoy the payoff from reading from Practical Empathy.