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How Minds Change: The New Science of Belief, Opinion and Persuasion Hardcover – 23 Jun. 2022
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‘In a time when too many minds seem closed, this is a masterful analysis of what it takes to open them’ Adam Grant, author of the bestselling Think Again
‘Optimistic, illuminating and even inspiring’ Guardian
As the world is increasingly polarised, it feels impossible to change the mind of someone with a conflicting view. But this book shows that you could be one conversation away from changing someone’s mind about something, maybe a lot of things.
Self-delusion expert and psychology nerd David McRaney sets out to discover not just what it takes to influence others, but why we believe in the first place. Along the way he meets a former Westboro Baptist Church member who was deradicalised on Twitter, goes deep canvassing to see how quickly people will surrender their character-defining views, finds a 9/11 Truther who turns his back on it all, and reveals how, within a few years, half a country can go from opposing the ‘gay agenda’ to happily attending same-sex weddings.
Distilling the latest research in psychology and neuroscience, How Minds Change reveals how beliefs take hold, not over hundreds of years, but in less than a generation, in less than a decade, and sometimes in an instant.
‘An optimistic, illuminating and even inspiring read.’-- Guardian
‘Fascinating.’-- Daily Mail
‘The concept – that, with more knowledge, long-held hypotheses can be disproved – isn’t likely to be news… But it doesn’t make McRaney’s book any less interesting… [McRaney’s] writing is a tonic for those who might scratch their head at how others could be so nonsensical.’-- New Scientist
‘David McRaney is one of our finest science communicators and How Minds Change is his greatest achievement yet. Brilliantly smart, continually entertaining and utterly timely, it will change the way you see the world – and help you change others.’-- Will Storr, author of Selfie and The Science of Storytelling
‘How Minds Change brings us face to face with the radically weird science of how our thoughts, perceptions, and beliefs are actually formed, and how they can, for better or worse, be modified. The sensation this book creates of being a bit of a stranger to one’s own mind is not entirely comfortable, but it is surely worthwhile.’-- Jordan Ellenberg, author of Shape and How Not to Be Wrong
‘A riveting read on the art and science of persuasion. David McRaney’s brilliant book will force you to rethink your views about how to motivate other people to rethink theirs. In a time when too many minds seem closed, this is a masterful analysis of what it takes to open them.’-- Adam Grant, author of Think Again
‘When I first talked to David McRaney about How Minds Change, I found myself taking mad notes on everything he was explaining to me! Thank goodness he wrote the book so I can relax and just soak it all in!’-- Simon Sinek, author of Start with Why and The Infinite Game
‘If you join David McRaney on this journey – a spirited tour that ranges from activists to scientists to cultists – you’ll arrive in an unexpected place. He shows us how generous conversations can replace zero-sum debates and how genuine empathy can close deep divisions. How Minds Change is the ideal book for our perilous moment.’-- Daniel H. Pink, author of To Sell is Human and Drive
‘McRaney’s topic in How Minds Change couldn’t be more important, and he’s the perfect guide to it: warm, witty, and powered by an infectious curiosity.’-- Julia Galef, host of the Rationally Speaking podcast and author of The Scout Mindset
‘Filled with the kinds of captivating real-life stories that you can’t wait to tell your friends and the latest scientific insights from psychology and beyond, McRaney’s book provides a surprising glimpse into why changing human minds is so damn hard… but also the good news that it can in fact be possible with the right strategies.’-- Laurie Santos, professor of psychology at Yale University and host of The Happiness Lab podcast
‘McRaney’s the best science writer I know at this complex, fascinating subject – the fabric of our thought and beliefs. How Minds Change is a page-turner, filled with remarkable reporting and stories.’-- Clive Thompson, author of Coders
‘How Minds Change explores why some world views seem so stubbornly immune to reason and why people will nevertheless change their minds in the right circumstances.’-- Tim Harford, FT Weekend
About the Author
David McRaney is a journalist, author and podcaster. His blog exploring how we delude ourselves laid the groundwork for his first book, You Are Not So Smart, which became an international bestseller and was translated into fourteen languages. He lives in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. @davidmcraney davidmcraney.com
- Publisher : Oneworld Publications (23 Jun. 2022)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 352 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1786071649
- ISBN-13 : 978-1786071644
- Dimensions : 14.6 x 3 x 22.5 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 11,326 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer reviews:
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There are many problems with the book. Firstly, what about the many psychologists that have walked this path before; one is reminded of the works of Carl Rodgers, Dr Aaron Beck, Kohut, Lacan, Bion, Winnicott, Andre Green, Adam Philips and the exponents of Critical Thinking, which has been shown to lead to enhanced activation of the right parieto-frontal network (the area of the brain that has been implicated in belief updating). And what about the writings of Tversky, Kahneman and Simon on heuristics? And calibrated questions? The conclusions that the author reaches as to what beliefs and knowledge are seem somewhat self-limiting. Beliefs are experiments in living; knowledge is always perspectical and subject to the forces of radical contingency. Attitude, which we are told matters, does not really stand up to any psychological scrutiny. What about unconscious motivations?
People change their minds when they are listened to. That they are most likely to do so, when they find themselves in a safe place (when the person they are talking with is patient, authentic, curious, thoughtful, sensitive) is hardly something new. To call the process a new science is something of a misnomer.
Fascinating book, something to discuss for hours. It changed the way I talk to people when we have different points of view.
Because the author is telling the story, the book is easy to read.