Deploy Empathy Book Review

Last Updated: 18 September 2022

By Michele Hansen. Get it here.


I was very impressed with Deploy Empathy, especially considering it's the first book Michele has written. It's super evident that she has brought all of her skills at understanding customers to the process of writing this book: It is precise in solving the exact needs of the target audience, and speaks to that audience in a way that is easiest for them to absorb.

  • The structure is well thought out.
  • The contents are gold, with plenty of pointers on where to go to find more content that is silver (also valuable but not the most valuable).
  • The language is very relatable with the right mixture of guidance based on personal experience, other thought-leader's work and real-world anecdotes.

Comparison to The Mom Test

The Mom Test focuses on unstructured and informal interviewing, primarily for the Discovery stage. It provides a bunch of great practical advice in the form of do's and don'ts.

Deploy Empathy is about more structured and formal interviewing: Asking people to sit in a call with you specifically for the purpose of research. It also covers a range of different cases where user research is important (Discovery, Churned customers, New Customers, etc). It provides a bunch of great practical advice in the form of scripts and templates to get started with the lowest effort required.

Fave aspects:

  • Michele links out to lots of resources, both from other people, and also to content on I counted about 20 examples of "if you want to know more, go read this other person's book ...".
  • It's very practical. She provides scripts that you can use to hit the ground running from day one.
  • There's lots of "try this now" sections to help you get practiced and go from 0 to 1 with the skills.
  • Michele does a good job of making the book personal, and speaking to the specific challenges that people face rather than speaking in generalities.
  • Unironically, Michele displays a lot of empathy in the book. There's often a validating statement along the lines of "This might seem weird, and based on [some societal norm], I can totally see why that would seem weird." This is a great way to support the reader through the mental/emotional roadblocks that might stop them from getting started.
  • She's an expert at interviewing, yet she still finds herself making mistakes. That's OK.

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