The Empathy Gap book on YouTube

A couple of announcements…

Firstly, I am trying an experiment. My book, The Empathy Gap, is currently available only as a hardcopy book (e.g., here for UK readers, or here for US readers). However, it isn’t cheap – especially for people in the US. Many people have asked if I intend to produce it as an ebook, and hence for a much reduced price. Unfortunately I don’t think the extensive use of graphs and Tables would work on a small ebook screen.

So, I thought I’d try an audio book approach, but on YouTube so the video function can be used to display the graphical material. This has the major advantage of being free. Also, many people might prefer this medium. As selected readings from the first and last chapters are already on my YouTube channel, I have started this exercise with chapter 2 (Education). This is the first chapter which presents substantive data and referencing.

I have split it into a 9 videos, based on individual sections within chapter 2. (Not 12 videos as I state, because I’ve put two sections into one video in some cases). This is the link to the playlist.

In the notes below each video there is a link to a downloadable Contents list for the whole book, to provide a means of navigating around the videos (which will become ever more necessary if I put the whole work up on video eventually). The notes also contain full references, including links.

This is an experiment to see if it is something that will attract sufficient interest to make the effort of recording the rest of the book worthwhile. So please give me some feedback (either via a comment here or a comment on the video) if you watch any of the videos.

12 thoughts on “The Empathy Gap book on YouTube

  1. Richard

    William – firstly, thank you so much for the time and effort you invest in this resource. I use it constantly, and you make a huge difference.

    You’ve asked for comments on the audiobook format:

    1. It’s a valid alternative to the book – worked for me.
    2. First impression is that it is a little slow. It’s fine as an “audiobook”, but YouTube conditions us to expect dynamic content, and notice its absence. It’s a bit more work, but more visuals will probably boost retention.
    3. You don’t need to leave the “background slide” up all the time – why not leave the data showing (you actually do this later on, so it’s a consistency thing). Ironically, in Intro/section 2.1, there wasn’t enough time to read the “key stages” data, which could have been displayed during that entire segment, and there was no slide at all to accompany the percentage info at 5:20
    4. To combat pace and “wordiness”, I’d be inclined to drop the meta-narrative (“showing on the screen now”, etc.). The correspondence between dialogue and data is obvious (to me), and doesn’t need signposting.

    I wonder if it would be worth looking (if you haven’t already) at some of the YouTube channels that have been doing this successfully for a while? “Akkad Daily” has some objectionable stuff, but his style is well suited to “long form” delivery and has a good rate of update of static images under a narrative.

    Finally, and without cannibalising your book channel, some sort of downloadable PDF of the graph material linked from the under the video might support the narrative.

    Best wishes, – Richard

    1. William Collins Post author

      Many thanks – these are very helpful comments. I’ve recorded to the end of chapter 3 now, so I won’t revisit, but I’ll certainly take action on leaving graphs up longer (some big sins in this respect in chapter 3. I was just a bit reticent about having graphs up when the voice-over was addressing something else. I am only aiming for an audio book, so I don’t think I can do much about “slowness” without moving in the direction of a “proper video presentation”, which was always beyond my ambition and would be a huge amount of work. (I’m mindful of the 19 chapters which remain!). Putting in more graphics would be a lot of work – as it is I am sticking to what I have already prepared in the book’s Word document. In truth my book is more of a reference tome than a beach-read, so the audio book presentation was always going to be rather challenging. Making the graphs available as pdf would be easy – indeed the whole book as pdf – but I’m a little reticent at this stage.

      1. Richard

        William – I can well understand. I started looking at what it would take to run a YouTube “infochannel” modelled along the lines of the Akkad one but for the the themes you research and publish so well. My conclusion was: “more than I can sustain without revenue” 🙂 But – again – what you are doing is fantastic and this audio-focussed format will be a very useful tool to increase its accessibility and bring it to an even wider audience.

  2. Mike Porter

    I think the audio book idea is an excellent idea, and well worth trying.
    However, there might be two potential issues here from the point of view of the listener – if I may speak plainly, (and as a one time sound man…)
    i/ The technical quality is not quite of the best on the clip I listened to which can be distracting and may tempt your audience to reach for the off switch.
    But more importantly,
    ii/ The presentation is somewhat dull, flat soporific and fails to make the undoubtedly excellent content ‘come off the page’. (Something that is entirely understandable when this is not one’s area of expertise)
    Had you considered being ‘produced’, that is to say advised or coached by someone with audio experience, or even actually presented by them?
    Just a thought…..
    Kind regards,
    Mike Porter

    1. Philip Griffiths

      Maybe in some respects that is a strength. It comes over as spectacularly well researched (which it is) and sincere (which it is). More so than a professional and polished media performer might.

      I wonder if at some point the material will also need to be ‘dumbed down’ a bit and made more accessible. It is a fact of life that most people have short attention spans and those people also need to be reached. That point might be a good one to involve ‘media pros’ but this should be in addition to the existing videos.

      Feminists have been very effective (in a toxic sort of way) in getting simplistic ‘just-so stories’ out there and shutting down debate by accusing those who hold different opinions of being misogynists or fragile. Perhaps then, in addition to William’s scholarly accounts, we all need to fight fire with fire using similar tactics.

      Perhaps an antidote to the ‘Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls’ series of feminist propaganda. ‘Good Night Stories for Rebel Boys – Who Like to Answer back’ might be a start.

      1. William Collins Post author

        Many thanks for these useful comments. In regard to the “dumbing down” or better promulgation to the masses, so to speak, I regard myself as preparing ammunition for others to use as they see fit.

  3. Janice Fiamengo

    The video idea is absolutely wonderful. Many people now prefer the video format, and it’s great to make your precious research available to a wide public.

  4. David Eggins

    A really good idea, Rick, I think that Youtube is the current way to go with lots of things and I notice that Bettina had also “gone that way” in today’s posting – with relevant texts.

    Also I’d be more than happy to attend in Bath – if the dates fit. I think that we, by which I mean the bigger movement, are sadly a bit lacking in strategy. All of those early meetings in Oxford, Bath and London were very helpful in helping us to get to know one another and there is now another – I was going to say “generation” but that might not be quite right, that needs to pick up the mantle and they need to be helped to be brought together. Also things have moved on quite a long way in many respects.

    You’ll remember Sue, we have had a little go at “reviewing” the content of The Freedom Programme – I’ve got to do quite a lot of re-editing it to satisfy her but I think a computer recording and an additional TV screen next to it so that you can Talk to the content – which is also displayed at the same time, and “paused when an individual wishes to read the text or illustration” is perhaps a better bet than having to edit in a lot of separate clips.


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