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The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion | [Jonathan Haidt]

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion

In The Righteous Mind, social psychologist Jonathan Haidt explores the origins of our divisions and points the way forward to mutual understanding. His starting point is moral intuition - the nearly instantaneous perceptions we all have about other people and the things they do. These intuitions feel like self-evident truths, making us righteously certain that those who see things differently are wrong. Haidt shows us how these intuitions differ across cultures, including the cultures of the political left and right.
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Publisher's Summary

Why can’t our political leaders work together as threats loom and problems mount? Why do people so readily assume the worst about the motives of their fellow citizens?

In The Righteous Mind, social psychologist Jonathan Haidt explores the origins of our divisions and points the way forward to mutual understanding. His starting point is moral intuition - the nearly instantaneous perceptions we all have about other people and the things they do. These intuitions feel like self-evident truths, making us righteously certain that those who see things differently are wrong.

Haidt shows us how these intuitions differ across cultures, including the cultures of the political left and right. He blends his own research findings with those of anthropologists, historians, and other psychologists to draw a map of the moral domain, and he explains why conservatives can navigate that map more skillfully than can liberals. He then examines the origins of morality, overturning the view that evolution made us fundamentally selfish creatures.

But rather than arguing that we are innately altruistic, he makes a more subtle claim - that we are fundamentally groupish. It is our groupishness, he explains, that leads to our greatest joys, our religious divisions, and our political affiliations. In a stunning final chapter on ideology and civility, Haidt shows what each side is right about, and why we need the insights of liberals, conservatives, and libertarians to flourish as a nation.

Download the accompanying reference guide.

©2012 Jonathan Haidt (P)2012 Gildan Media LLC

What the Critics Say

"Haidt is looking for more than victory. He's looking for wisdom. That's what makes The Righteous Mind well worth reading…. a landmark contribution to humanity’s understanding of itself.” (The New York Times Book Review)

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  •  
    DenverAlex 04-22-15
    DenverAlex 04-22-15 Member Since 2014
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    "I wish everyone would take the time to read this!"

    my husband is a conservative and I am a mother, we need to learn how to listen and consider each other's directives.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Saud 01-05-15
    Saud 01-05-15

    Learn, understand, then decide whether you accept or reject.

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    "I don't agree with everything here, but..."

    This audiobook presents various answers about why people disagree and seek out the "other people" to attack and try to talk them to switching sides. It also looks at confirmation biases and their reasons.

    Overall, this is a book worth reading.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    TM 10-07-14
    TM 10-07-14

    TJM

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Impressive Scope"
    Any additional comments?

    I have listened to a number of evolutionary psychology books including Kahneman's "Thinking Fast and Slow", so I wasn't anticipating many new concepts. I was expecting more of how those well known concepts apply to Political and Religious orientations.

    I was however wrong. For me at least this book broke a lot of new ground by introducing the different dimensions of morality and the concept of 90% chimp and 10% bee. I was convinced by much of it and could apply the concepts from my own personal idiosyncrasies to geo-political history - hows that for breadth!

    One thing that's important to me is how balanced a book is. Whilst I have my own political leanings, I really don't like heavy handedly one-sided books, especially regarding politics. I really felt that Haidt's book speaks to the whole political spectrum and encourages mutual understanding. If only we could get everyone to read it.

    Excellent book - narrated perfectly by the author.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chad Allen Quick Cincinnati area 04-16-14
    Chad Allen Quick Cincinnati area 04-16-14
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    "A MUST read!"
    Any additional comments?

    This is absolutely one of the most important books that I have read in the past 10 years. Reaching across the party isle and understanding one another is not only possible, it is probable, given the insights of this book.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steven D. Ward 11-21-13
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    "More academic than expected; audiobook-friendly"
    If you could sum up The Righteous Mind in three words, what would they be?

    Understand your neighbors


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    I expected a relatively easy-breezy book, and quickly discovered that was not the case. However, each chapter of the book followed a strict format with an introduction, conclusion, and summary of the main points that made it very audio-book friendly to account for those moments when you space out or the wife asks you a question or whatever and it breaks your attention for a bit.


    What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

    The closing chapters are the best. In particular the founding philosophy of conservativism in which a distinction is drawn between philosophical conservativism and orthodoxy.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Drew Walnut Creek, California 08-18-13
    Drew Walnut Creek, California 08-18-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Great content, but every sentence decrescendos"
    Where does The Righteous Mind rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    One of the best books of the year.


    How could the performance have been better?

    Each sentence starts at normal volume, and then trails away, getting quieter and quieter. What's worse, the last word is often dropped altogether. If you think this gets annoying, then you're ___. See what I mean? It's really ___. Especially hard to hear in the car.


    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. Marshall Priddy 04-20-13
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    "One of the best books on politics today"

    Haidt has a special gift in this book: he is on a very short list of people I know that can be open and honest in his assessment of data, including the application of his scientific findings to his worldview. Most scientists tend to seek confirmation of their worldview, and they tend to ignore ideas that don't match expectations. I applaud Haidt for having the intellectual honesty and personal integrity to follow the data where it leads him, rather than seeking to make a case to bolster his foregone conclusion. This is especially difficult in the social sciences, such that many (if not most) Americans would hesitate to apply the word "science" to these fields at all.

    What's great about this book is that it seems to really have something for everyone, regardless of the perspective you hold entering. If you go into it with an open mind, you will learn something. That doesn't mean you need to agree with all of his conclusions; I certainly don't, and I think that there are a few places where I would come away with a different take on a given data set, or think to tweak the experiment to test an alternative hypothesis. This is all well within the course of regular scientific inquiry. But the data obtained are still fo great quality for what they can esteblish well within the framework they were conducted.

    In terms of listening, it was a pleasure. He has a great pacing and delivery, and I found this book as compelling to listen to as any of my favorite fiction audiobooks. He keeps the listener engaged, and even had me laughing a few times.

    I would recommend this book to anyone with even the vaguest sense of interest in politics or morality. Haidt does a great job of being upfront about his biases, presenting the material as best he can in unbiased fashion, and letting the rationale he creates speak for itself. And I might go so far as to say that a book like this would help an individual conservative and an individual liberal (as he defines these terms) better communicate with one another, provided both had read/listened to the book. This one provided incredible food for thought, and has played a great role in shaping my thinking about politics and morality since completing it.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura 01-13-13
    Laura 01-13-13
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    "Enlightening"
    What made the experience of listening to The Righteous Mind the most enjoyable?

    The book is really fascinating and I owned a hard copy already. The fact that it was performed by the author, I found really satisfying and unassuming. I will listen again at least once because it's dense and I desire to know the material well enough to disseminate. The graphs in the hard copy are useful, but I found some of the key ones online for sharing purposes, and they aren't indispensable. Great book.


    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cynthia LEESBURG, VIRGINIA, United States 10-29-12
    Cynthia LEESBURG, VIRGINIA, United States 10-29-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Life Changing Book"

    Insight into how your own mind and morals really work, not just how we think they should work. Helps you gain insights into not only your own values, but those of the people around. Helps Democrats understand why Republicans do what they do and visa versa. Would recommend this book to all my friends, especially the ministers, the President of the United States, and the whole of the US Congress.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 07-02-14 Member Since 2015
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    "Interesting, but not illuminating"

    I'll save you the time: liberals like diversity and naturally respond less to threat-based spin and conservatives like uniformity and naturally respond more to threat-based spin. We already know that. The book basically broke that down. What I wanted was to understand how other people form their views to be able to have a conversation with them without thinking they are mindless fools. I didn't get that from this book. I listened to this book to get a better understanding of my neighbors, but after listening attentively, I still don't have the tools to understand them.

    6 of 9 people found this review helpful

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