Alan Alda: Build empathy. Monitor your relationships.

Learn the art and science of building relationships at Big Think Edge.

  • Learn simple exercises that are scientifically proven to boost your empathy.
  • At Big Think Edge, Alan Alda shares his insights on empathy and effective communication.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge to become a better you - personally and professionally.

Empathy is a superpower for connecting and communicating with others, but it can be surprisingly fragile. Even a bad mood or preoccupied mind can easily close us off to the people – even the ones we're closest to, let alone to colleagues or strangers on the daily commute.

Noticing this, Alan Alda wondered what exercises could help bulk up his "empathy muscle" regardless of shifting circumstances. An exercise he invented became the focus of a psychological study that discovered a way to significantly increase empathy.

Alan Alda teaches "The Art and Science of Relating: Build and Monitor Empathy" for Big Think Edge.

Subscribe now.

Empathy makes you a better human

Empathy tends to evaporate when we don't practice it. At Big Think Edge, Alan Alda teaches an immediately actionable video lesson that will teach you exercises to significantly grow your capacity for empathy.

Greater empathy is an asset whether you're looking to boost your career, inspire and connect with a team you manage, or have more peaceful and thoughtful relationships in your personal life.

Subscribe to Big Think Edge and you'll access a diverse collection of lessons taught by the world's top thinkers and doers, like Alan Alda, Malcolm Gladwell, Bryan Cranston, Linda Hill, John Cleese and Navy SEAL Rob Roy.

3D printing might save your life one day. It's transforming medicine and health care.

What can 3D printing do for medicine? The "sky is the limit," says Northwell Health researcher Dr. Todd Goldstein.

Northwell Health
Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • Medical professionals are currently using 3D printers to create prosthetics and patient-specific organ models that doctors can use to prepare for surgery.
  • Eventually, scientists hope to print patient-specific organs that can be transplanted safely into the human body.
  • Northwell Health, New York State's largest health care provider, is pioneering 3D printing in medicine in three key ways.
Keep reading Show less

The information arms race can’t be won, but we have to keep fighting

The tactics that work now won't work for long.

Politics & Current Affairs

Arms races happen when two sides of a conflict escalate in a series of ever-changing moves intended to outwit the opponent.

Keep reading Show less

10 excerpts from Marcus Aurelius' 'Meditations' to unlock your inner Stoic

Great ideas in philosophy often come in dense packages. Then there is where the work of Marcus Aurelius.

(Getty Images)
Personal Growth
  • Meditations is a collection of the philosophical ideas of the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius.
  • Written as a series of notes to himself, the book is much more readable than the dry philosophy most people are used to.
  • The advice he gave to himself 2,000 years ago is increasingly applicable in our hectic, stressed-out lives.
Keep reading Show less

What if all humanity had to do to save itself was listen?

By working together, and learning from one another, we can build better systems.

  • Many of the things that we experience, are our imagination manifesting into this physical realm, avers artist Dustin Yellin.
  • People need to completely rethink the way they work together, and learn from one another, that they they can build better systems. If not, things may get "really dark" soon.
  • The first step to enabling cooperation is figuring out where the common ground is. Through this method, despite contrary beliefs, we may be able to find some degree of peace.