The book starts with something we all know, that it is more pleasant to talk with people that agree with you than with those that disagree with you. What we do not realize is that by acting this way we become "polarized". As all agree with what we think we start to believe that what we think is true. The author Cass Sunstein does an excellent job to make you aware of this happening and the consequences.
An extreme example is terrorists that form groups with extreme polarization. Most of these terrorists have experienced moral outrage, personal experience of discrimination, economic exclusion, even though many are well educated and come from middle-class families.
Polarization can be bad but also good like overthrowing the Lenin Communist system in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, or abolishing slavery in the United States.
The author presents his view as to what can be done to avoid bad polarization and tolerate good polarization. He believes the only answer is free speech and tolerance; acceptance and respect for diverse views, for diversity. He points out that dictatorships are breeding grounds for terrorism. Polarized groups objecting to dictatorships do not trust what the dictatorships claim to be the truth. Discrimination and outrage do the rest.
It is also relevant for business. Leaders that act like dictators will before or after their death ruin the company. A board of directors must contain members with different perspectives that forcefully argue with each other and management. Also at the level of management vigorous arguments about different perspectives are essential. What the author omits is the importance that after vigorous argument in boards and management a decision taken must be supported 100% by all the members of the board and of top management.
The book also enriches your vocabulary and concepts with words like: conspiracy entrepreneur, interactive echo-chamber, first and second order diversity, enclave deliberation, public forum doctrine, informational cascade and more.
Finally the book gets off to a slow start but towards the end it becomes exciting to read.
The Leader's Way: Business, Buddhism and Happiness in an Interconnected World
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