Purposeful Empathy

Tapping Our Hidden Superpower for Personal, Organizational, and Social Change

Purposeful Empathy

Tapping Our Hidden Superpower for Personal, Organizational, and Social Change

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Empathy has never been more important, yet we're living in an era of a massive empathy deficit. At the same time, workplace culture has changed dramatically. Leaders, who have already been stretched to the limit, are now being called on to create and nurture genuine connection, psychological safety, and well-being across their organizations--all while adapting to the values of a new generation that won't compromise on diversity, equity, and inclusion.

As this book shows, human beings are wired to care, and we can become more empathic with practice. Empathy increases dopamine, reduces stress, boosts self-esteem, heightens the immune system, and enriches our relationships. Empathy also improves business key performance indicators. This means that leveraging empathy on purpose can lead to better health, happier and more productive workplaces, and a more meaningful life. That's why empathy is our superpower.

Through inspiring stories; interviews with experts, including business leaders, neuroscientists, activists, social entrepreneurs, and spiritual leaders; a new model rooted in positive psychology and coaching; and self-development exercises at the end of each chapter, Purposeful Empathy offers wisdom and practical advice to foster personal, organizational, and social transformation.


"Anita Nowak has achieved something rare: she inspires soul-searching and action without sounding preachy. Purposeful Empathy should be on every socially conscious leader's reading list."

John Wood, founder of Room to Read and U-Go, and author of Purpose Incorporated

"I've been saying for decades that humanity is on a collision course and must become more empathic to save our civilization. In this splendid book, Anita Nowak explains why each of us stands to benefit by flexing our empathy muscles. What are we waiting for?"

Paul R. Ehrlich, PhD, Bing Professor of Population Studies, emeritus, and president of the Center for Conservation Biology at Stanford University, and author of Humanity on a Tightrope

"Whether you're an artist, educator, activist, or entrepreneur, if you care about the well-being of others--and achieving great results at the same time--you must read this book."

Maria Ross, brand strategist and author of The Empathy Edge

"Reading Purposeful Empathy is like attending a wellness retreat and leadership masterclass at the same time. Do yourself a favor and read it."

Derek Sivers, founder of CD Baby and author of Anything You Want

"Purposeful Empathy is a necessary book for our time."

Edwin Rutsch, founding director of the Center for Building a Culture of Empathy

"Purposeful Empathy debunks the myth that empathy is a soft skill. Anita Nowak has written a definitive guide to empathic leadership and culture. I recommend this book with a five-star approval."

Paul L. Gunn Jr., founder and CEO of KUOG and author of Success the Right Way

"Anita Nowak's work is thoughtfully designed to help guide readers toward true, action-oriented changemaking. If you want to contribute to a better, brighter future, Purposeful Empathy is required reading."

Michael Ventura, advisor and author of Applied Empathy

"Anita Nowak's passion and relentless work toward building empathy in our world is inspiring. Her book Purposeful Empathy is a great example."

Elif M. Gokcigdem, PhD, founder of Organization of Networks for Empathy and author of Designing for Empathy

"For the latest on empathy research and why every child, adult, family, teacher, business, and community can benefit from improved social-emotional skills, look no further than Anita Nowak's Purposeful Empathy."

Lynne Azarchi, director of Kidsbridge Youth Center and author of The Empathy Advantage

"Purposeful Empathy is beautifully written. Through compelling stories and thought-provoking exercises, Anita Nowak makes practicing empathy accessible, inviting, and rewarding."

Katharine Manning, president of Blackbird DC and author of The Empathetic Workplace

"In Purposeful Empathy, Anita Nowak has done a masterful job bringing the reader on a journey that makes the complex seem easy, the intangible feel real, and delivers a dose of courage to make the world a better place."

Rob Volpe, CEO of Ignite 360 and author of Tell Me More About That

"Anita Nowak offers a blueprint for business leaders hoping to create a thriving workplace culture, a how-to for parents hoping to be positive role models for their children, and a call to arms for anyone seeking to make the world a better place."

Minter Dial, speaker, podcaster, and author of Heartificial Empathy

"Purposeful Empathy validates our fears about what's going wrong in our lives and in the world, but then shows us how to be part of the solution--without burning out."

Kaitlin Ugolik Phillips, author of The Future of Feeling

"One of the most important books of our time on the vital role that empathy plays in leading with purpose."

April Adams-Redmond, chief marketing officer, Unilever / Pepsi Joint Venture

"Changemaking is tough work that requires grit, collaboration, and, above (and beneath it) all, empathy. Purposeful Empathy is the unambiguous call to action we need to bring about a more just and sustainable world."

Barb Steele, executive director, Ashoka Canada


"[An] earnest discussion of the individual's power to effect change....this provides plenty of insight."

Publishers Weekly

Product Info

  • Publisher Broadleaf Books
  • Format Hardcover
  • ISBN 9781506485058
  • eBook ISBN 9781506485102
  • Dimensions 6.25 x 9.25
  • Pages 253
  • Publication Date April 11, 2023