- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 11113 KB
- Print Length: 167 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0735221286
- Publisher: Penguin; 01 edition (17 May 2016)
- Sold by: Penguin UK
- Language: English
- ASIN: B0186PAI7U
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Customer Reviews: 95 customer ratings
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #323,943 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence Kindle Edition
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From the Inside Flap
A revolutionary rethinking of everything we know about power
It shapes every interaction we have, whether we're trying to get a two-year-old to eat green vegetables or ask for a promotion at work. But how do we really gain power? And what does it do to us?
As renowned psychologist Dacher Keltner reveals, the new science of power shows that our Machiavellian view of status is wrong. Influence comes not to those who are ruthless, but to those with socially intelligence and empathy. Yet, ironically, the seductions of success lead us to lose those very qualities that made us powerful in the first place. Keltner draws on fascinating case studies to illuminate this 'power paradox', revealing how it shapes not just companies and elections but everyday relationships. As his myth-busting research shows, power - and powerlessness - distorts our behaviour, affecting whether or not we will have an affair, break the law, drive recklessly or find our purpose in life.
In twenty original 'power principles', Keltner shows how we can retain power by maintaining a focus on others. By redefining power as the ability to do good, The Power Paradox turns everything we know about influence, status and inequality upside down.
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One of the people mentioned in the book I had an experience where he was extremely rude to me in the 1990’s
So good to read why he was like he was and he got his just punishment!!!!!
Top international reviews
Another disappointment is that so much of the experimental work the author has done has been with (American) college students in fraternities and sororities. He admits herself that they are not typical of the population as a whole, but ploughs on. He does not mention, though, that it is well established that at age 19 humans are not fully mature and their brains are still developing. So how useful are the results, one wonders. So many people are so differently situated that one feels that his conclusions need taking with a great deal of caution.
One thing that intrigues me is the fact that some people want power and want it a lot; some want it in moderation; some don't want it at all. This topic is not considered at all.
I found the book interesting and an easy read, which is no doubt welcome in a work pitched at the ordinary reader rather than the academic. However, with my academic hat on, I did find a lot of the discussion unsatisfactory.
First of all, Keltner defines power as “the capacity to make a difference in the world by influencing the states of other people” (p. 11). This may sound suitably general, but it seems too general to capture our ordinary meaning. Suppose a same-sex couple engage in a public act of affection, which angers a watching homophobe. According to Keltner’s definition, by altering the homophobe’s state, they exercise power – yet this may be entirely unintentional. Perhaps it’s useful to have a notion that encompasses unintended effects on others, but ordinarily I think we’re chiefly concerned with intentional exercises of power.
Keltner’s main contention is that we receive power from others in return for promoting the social good. This sounds plausible, but in fact it’s not clear whether this is what’s shown or not. The discussion that purports to show this goes back and forth between whether individuals do promote the social good and whether they *intend* to promote it (p. 45).
Further, whichever it is, the mechanism by which this leads to power (reputation) seems to depend not on the reality but on group perceptions. Presumably, a group will bestow power on those it believes are benefiting them, whether or not they actually are. Perhaps the most reliable way to be perceived to be working for the social good is actually to work for the social good, but it seems unlikely that this is the only way. Thus, an alternative explanation of the ‘power paradox’ is that people may come to power by fooling others, but lose it when they can no longer do so.
Without a clearer message, it’s hard to tell how far the evidence summarised supports the lessons that Keltner draws from it. The various psychological studies aren’t presented in much detail, and I’m not sure that I’d have the competence to assess them if they were, but it does seem that some focus on immediate priming whereas others focus on childhood experiences, hence it’s not clear how far these different studies contribute to a single message about the effects of power.
While this is certainly an interesting read, I guess if one really wants to evaluate the author’s message one would have to consult the various pieces of academic work in the endnotes.
Fundamentally he sees power as the ability to make a difference in the world, and he goes on to talk about that subject at length. He also ages that power is not grabbed but that it îs given by social groups to individuals. Interestingly he comes to the conclusion that to keep pore you must focus on others and not on that power or on yourself. By the time you get to the chapter that deals with abuses of power you are seeing things from the authors perspective and this particular chapter is worth.buying the book for. There is a discussion of powerlessness and a helpful summary of your pathway to power. The book has ample endnotes.
My copy was a pre-production one, so I can only comment on the content, but this book is worth reading, and if you are handling an essay question about power then this is an essential buy!
I've always understood that influence is ultimately much stronger than power.
I wasn't sure this book really helped me understand more about either power or influence, or how to use either more effectively. I may have missed something, but this book wasn't a hit for me.
I think myself that in the world we currently live in it is a case of power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
We see this over and over with politicians and all the large industry conglomerates and large businesses.
They always end up doing the best for themselves and never the best for the rest of us.
I can't think of one example where power is used with humility and kindness except perhaps the Dalai Lama.
Otherwise all we see is corruption, where individuals gain power and change their behaviour for the worse.
I have to admit I don't see the power paradox in here. So why has he used this title? I don't know, perhaps he wants to argue a point he can't really make?