The Power of Kindness

Brian Goldman investigates whether his empathy has disappeared after years working in an emergency room and addresses the importance of kindness in his medical memoir.

Brian Goldman

Brian Goldman has been an emergency room physician for more than 30 years. Having attended untold thousands of patients on countless night shifts, suffering everything from colds to life-threatening injuries and illnesses, Goldman has seen humanity in physical and emotional pain and at its most desperate. What is the emotional cost of having been witness to such suffering and tragedy? Is it possible that the weight of responsibility, the stress of having cared for all these patients has taken its toll? Is he the same caring doctor he was at the beginning of his career? And what does kindness truly look like in himself, and in others?

In The Power of Kindness, Goldman begins his search for empathy within himself, undergoing an fMRI to measure his own capacity for kindness and to see if that capacity has changed over his years as a doctor. While awaiting the results, Goldman visits a brain lab in Quebec City, where he makes a startling discovery; a psychologist's office at Western University in Ontario, where he learns why he may not be as caring as he would like to believe; a research lab in Osaka, Japan, where he meets lifelike, empathetic robots; and a nursing home in rural Pennsylvania, where he meets a therapist who teaches others to reach inside the hearts and minds of people suffering from dementia. Powerful and engaging, The Power of Kindness takes us from the theatre of medicine to the world at large, and investigates why kindness is so vital to our existence. (From HarperCollins)