Critical Humanity: Embodying Actionable Leadership in an Age of Compassion and Empathy

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Series: Racial Justice and Social Equity

BISAC: SOC000000

Critical Humanity: Embodying Actionable Leadership in an Age of Compassion and Empathy is scientifically grounded and empirically rich. In this book, Dr. Peter T. Keo argues that critical humanity is compassion and empathy in action to improve the lives of the world’s suffering. However, leaders must close the gap between what they say and the actions they take.

Critical humanity has four key components. First, it favors action over passivity. Second, it favors collectivism over individualism alone. Third, critical humanity requires living in the space / tension between compassion and empathy. Fourth, it requires leaders to close the gap between what they say / believe and their actions, i.e., their espoused values and their action items, respectively. Dr. Keo refers to this gap throughout the book as the “values gap,” because it is a constant tension between the “what I say / believe” and the “what I am actually doing” to truly impact the communities served. Public servants and public service leaders – for whom this book was primarily written – can have a deeper and more meaningful impact by embracing all four components in their service to humanity.

While the contents of this book are empirical in nature, at baseline, it is an expression of Dr. Keo’s personal truth, an epistemology that shares, in equal measures, the joy and pain of a life that is both hopeful and skeptical in humanity. It is an expression that recognizes the tremendous shortcomings and opportunities, again in equal measures, of leaders to properly and authentically serve historically marginalized populations. Dr. Keo had arrived at this realization after decades of embodying the life of a child of Cambodian genocide, war, systemic racism, and poverty. He has experienced life in disenfranchisement in two separate but related occasions, which have shaped his epistemology.

The stories that have formed the impetus for and, indeed, triggered the curiosity undergirding this book, is this: the entanglement of misery and joy is the very essence of life. It is the curiosity of this entanglement – and the need to drastically untangle them to improve the lives of the world’s suffering – that compelled Dr. Keo to write this book, and to develop this new idea: critical humanity.

Table of Contents



Part One: Science and Human Determinism

Chapter 1. The Age of Compassion and Empathy

Chapter 2. The Science of Compassion and Empathy

Chapter 3. The Science of Focus and Concentration

Chapter 4. Leadership and Service to Others

Part Two: Levels of Compassionate and Empathic Leadership

Chapter 5. Organizations and Institutions: The United Nations

Chapter 6. Corporations: Just Capital

Chapter 7. Countries: The United States of America

Part Three: Operationalizing Critical Humanity

Chapter 8. Critical Humanity and Executive Functions

Chapter 9. Critical Humanity and Soft Power

Chapter 10. Shifting the Paradigm: 5 Principles and a Framework to Activate Critical Humanity

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