How Reading Fiction Improves Empathy

A New York Times piece sometime back by writer Susan Pinker summarizes multi-years research on the relationship between reading fiction and how we understand others.  The article, “Novel Findings: Fiction Makes Us Feel for Others,” looks at several studies between 2006 and 2013 that reveal remarkably similar results.  Here are three quotes that have advisors’ names all over them.  “Fiction reading predicted higher levels of empathy. Such readers also lived large in the flesh-and-blood social …

Black Ice

Several years ago, a business trip took me to Minnesota in the dead of winter. For a Florida-born, this experience was a paradigm shift of frigid proportions. I rented a car in Minneapolis and drove to a small town halfway between the twin cities and Fargo, ND. With a room reservation in Fargo because of an early flight the next day, I prepared to leave that small town in the dead of night when a …

Mr. Rogers and the Advisor

“The older I get,” wrote television legend Fred Rogers, “the more convinced I am that the space between people who are trying their best to understand each other is hallowed ground.” I did not grow up in Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood, but in a way, I vicariously walked into that space when our three children were young. Every afternoon, they would be glued to the television as Mr. Rogers sang his way into and out of …