UX Breakfast Book Club with Indi Young

We’re excited to announce that for our June UX Book Club, Indi Young will be joining us in a live video link-up to explore and discuss her new book, Practical Empathy. For this event, our discussions will be over lattes – as we’re holding the bookclub at breakfast time in the CBD.

Indi is a trailblazer of design strategy, interaction design, and information architecture and was one of the founders of the legendary UX agency Adaptive Path.

We’ll be discussing Indi’s latest book, Practical Empathy and she will be taking part in our discussion.

Indi says: “This book is not about the kind of empathy where you feel the same emotions as another person. It’s about understanding how another person thinks – what’s going on inside her head and heart. And most importantly, it’s about acknowledging her reasoning and emotions as valid, even if they differ from your own understanding. This acknowledgment has all sorts of practical applications, especially in your work. This book explores using empathy in your work, both in the way you make things and the way you interact with people.”

30% Discount for UX Melbourne

The lovely folks at Rosenfeld Media have given us a 30% discount. Just use the discount code UXMPE when you order.


Why not buy the eBook and start reading today? It’s not essential to have read all of Practical Empathy to take part in this event – but of course you’ll get loads more out of it if you do. And you can read it knowing you’ll get the chance to talk to Indi about your thoughts, ideas and questions at this event.

When is it?

Thursday 25th June – gathering at 8.00am. Indi will be joining us by video from San Francisco at 8.15am. We’ll be done by 9.00am.

Where is it?

General Assembly, Level 1, 20 Queen Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000

How much does the event cost?

Nothing, it’s absolutely free. 

Can’t make it in person? Join us live online.

You’re welcome to join this event in our live Google Hangout.


Haven’t got time to read it before the meet up?

If you think you might not be able to read Practical Empathy before Thursday morning, here are some quick reads, a quick listen and a fascinating video.

Take a look at some or all of these to get a good understanding of what’s inside Practical Empathy. It will help you get much more out of the event and the discussion.


Central to Practical Empathy is the importance of listening intently. An almost zen-like removal of your own thoughts and assumptions, so that you can really get into the inner thoughts of the person you’re listening to. This except, published on A List Apart, talks about this “New Way of Listening”



If you’re short on time, grab a coffee and watch this 40-minute presentation by Indi and you’ll be in a great place to join the discussion:



Louis Rosenfeld has a quick chat with Indi about Practical Empathy:



Chapter 1: Business Is Out of Balance

How a lack of listening, immature data practices and self-focused thinking can lead to poor design and decision making. “Most of the time professionals are so busy trying to contribute their ideas and get other people to change that they don’t realise they’ve spent zero time understanding those other people and listening to them.”

Chapter 2: Empathy Brings Balance

A definition of the different kinds of empathy, plus an explanation of the important differences between developing empathy and applying empathy. “So empathy is not about warmth and kindness. It’s about listening. It’s about having a frame of mind that’s curious about the deeper flow of people’s thinking.”

Chapter 3: Put Empathy to Work

The stages of developing and applying empathy. How to conduct a listening session. “The best part about listening is that you don’t have to be a ‘good facilitator’ or a ‘skilled interviewer’ to develop empathy. It’s more about just being yourself, in curiosity mode. Kids can do it. What it takes is the ability to let go of your thoughts and really absorb what you hear.”

Chapter 4: A New Way to Listen

Practical and detailed guidance on how to listen well. How to get beneath the surface of facts and opinions to get to the person’s reasoning, reactions and guiding principles. “The key is to find out the point of what the person is doing – why, the reason, not the steps of how she does it.”

Chapter 5: Make Sense of What You Heard

How to create focused summaries from your transcripts (that will be invaluable when you come to apply the empathy you’re developing). “Making sense of what a person said from the transcript provides double the depth of understanding than just simply listening does. The summaries are timeless and will continue to be useful for years.”

Chapter 6: Apply Empathy to What You Create

Applying empathy by looking for patterns and creating behavioural segments from the patterns. How the patterns can be used for collaborative idea generation. “To create something, you benefit from understanding the patterns of how various people reason.”

Chapter 7: Apply Empathy with People at Work

How to apply empathy when you collaborate and when you lead a team. How empathy can help you understand people higher up in the business as well as know yourself better. “It is more powerful to exhibit understanding than competence. The empathetic mindset is not focused on oneself or one’s own abilities.”

Chapter 8: Apply Empathy Within Your Organisation

Applying empathy so you can see from your organisation’s point of view. “If you can clarify for yourself what drives your organisation as a whole, the knowledge can’t help but influence the way you do your work.”

Chapter 9: Where Do You Go from Here?

How to spread these principles and practices. How to explain the empathetic mindset to others and how to begin incorporating the practices in your work. “More than any other thing, practice will steadily bring you confidence and experience. If practice is they key, then demonstrating the empathetic mindset to those you work with is the treasure in the room.”

Coming next

At our August UX Book Club, we’ll be discussing Alan Cooper’s, The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity. More details coming soon.