Kindness - a conversation about political empathy, its power and its limits, with Claudia Hammond

Episode 35: Kindness - a conversation about political empathy, its power and its limits, with Claudia Hammond

Rafael Behr talks to Claudia Hammond - host of BBC Radio 4's psychology series 'All in the Mind.'

Show notes

Host Rafael Behr talks to Claudia Hammond about political empathy, its power and its limits.

Claudia is probably best known as the presenter of BBC Radio 4's long-running show, 'All in the Mind' which covers psychology, neuroscience & mental health.

She is also the Visiting Professor of the Public Understanding of Psychology at the University of Sussex.

Her latest book, 'The Keys to Kindness,' looks at what constitutes kindness, effective strategies to build more of it into our lives and the benefits of being kind.

She draws on the latest research from psychology and neuroscience, and her work in collaboration with the University of Sussex and the BBC, including the largest global survey ever undertaken into attitudes to kindness.


Rafael Behr's first book is released today - Thursday 4 May, 2023

'Politics, A Survivor’s Guide,' is all about the infuriating toxicity of politics, how it got that way and how to resist the slide into cynicism and pessimism that are so corrosive of democracy. It’s about the challenge of staying engaged without getting enraged; the need to empathise with people whose views we cannot share and how that is different to appeasement of politics we believe to be dangerous.

The themes include migration, nationalism, family, identity, culture wars, technology, ideology, Europe, Brexit and a little bit of cardiology.

Available from Waterstones:

Or, for those who are interested in signed copies, from City Books in Hove:

Raf will be speaking at literary festivals, theatres, pubs all around the UK. Often he will be in conversation with fellow journalists and authors, hopefully also in conversation with you in the audience. Below is a list of places and times. Click on date for tickets. There may be more to come...

10 May Brighton Festival

17 May Bath Festival

21 May Aye Write, Glasgow Book Festival

23 May 1000 Trades, Birmingham

25 May Hay Festival

7 June The Elephant and Castle Pub, Lewes (no link yet)

12 June Guardian Live, Kings Cross, London

This podcast is hosted by


Rafael Behr

Rafael Behr

Rafael Behr is a political columnist for the Guardian. He is a former Political Editor for the New Statesman, Chief Leader Writer and Online Editor for The Observer, a business news reporter for BBC online and a foreign correspondent for the Financial Times, based in the Baltic region and Russia. Rafael is a regular contributor to Prospect Magazine, a guest on BBC and Sky News and a speaker at UK think tanks. His book, Politics, A Survivor’s Guide, is published by Atlantic. He hosts the Politics on the Couch podcast. Before becoming a journalist, Rafael was a political risk analyst covering countries of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. He studied modern languages Merton College, Oxford and took a Master’s degree in Russian Studies at the School for Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London. He lives in Brighton with his family. He plays the guitar and harmonica, sometimes simultaneously, not always melodiously.

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Claudia Hammond

Claudia Hammond

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