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The Righteous Mind Audiobook

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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  •  
    None of your damn business Seattle, WA 09-10-12
    None of your damn business Seattle, WA 09-10-12 Member Since 2011

    I love Audiobooks. I listen to roughly 50-100 hours a month. It's a good thing I work for Audible!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    162
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    "This changed the way I think about politics"
    Where does The Righteous Mind rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    In terms of books on politics, philosophy and cognitive science, its one of the best.

    The book tackles very sensitive topics - people's most closely held beliefs, and explains the WHY in a way that is sensible and non-controversial. Haidt provides a compelling case for why morality may have a genetic basis.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Righteous Mind?

    The chapter on Moral Foundations Theory. I laughed, I cried, it was better than Cats.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Its not really that kind of book, but the part describing group selection theory was good.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    The most boring movie that ever changed your life.


    Any additional comments?

    Regardless of your political or religious persuasion, you should listen to this book.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sergio A Pernice Buenos Aires, Capital Federal, AR 09-10-12
    Sergio A Pernice Buenos Aires, Capital Federal, AR 09-10-12
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    "Excelent!!"

    This books provides the best response I have ever read until now to a very deep question: why evolution generated intelligence and rational thought? To have a full time advertising agency that improves our odds to reproduce. Not to reach the truth. At least not in the social environment. This is the author response based on high amount of empirical evidence in the ever more influential field of Evolutionary Psychology. A must read (or heard) for those who want to enlarge their scientific worldview in areas not still fully understood.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Darwood martin 04-24-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Open your mind to the minds of others"

    if you want to know how "the other side" thinks I highly recommend this book. It helped me to understand why people gravitate toward churches, why their seem to be only strong opinions if one exists and why our country is so polarized. Spoiler Alert, it's not because the opposition is evil.



    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Keegan Tempe, Arizona United States 04-21-16
    Keegan Tempe, Arizona United States 04-21-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Increased my self-awareness"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would recommend this book to anyone who thinks the world has gone mad with ignorance. It brings to the surface our own biases about the intelligence and motivations of people we disagree with.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    Kind of somewhere in the middle he goes off on this rant that's basically excerpted from Chairman Mao's little red cookbook. But he pulls himself out of it at some point and the book levels off again.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. Shane Collins Denver, CO USA 04-11-16
    S. Shane Collins Denver, CO USA 04-11-16 Member Since 2015

    ShaneCol

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    "Enlightened. Balanced."

    I learned a lot from this book. I plan to listen to it again to glean even more insight. Haidt truly attempts to find the best in diverse morale and political views while exposing the harmful effects when any view dominates consistently.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    BradBrad SAINT LOUIS, MO, United States 04-11-16
    BradBrad SAINT LOUIS, MO, United States 04-11-16 Member Since 2014
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    "Eye Opening"
    What made the experience of listening to The Righteous Mind the most enjoyable?

    Should be considered required reading for the world. This book and its ideas will stand the test of time and be highly thought of for decades to come. Cannot say enough positive things about this book.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Margaret Wilmington, NC 04-08-16
    Margaret Wilmington, NC 04-08-16 Member Since 2014
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    "interesting perspective on the political divide."

    it was an interesting perspective on the political divide. treated both sides with compassion and rational understanding.
    if you are frustrated by the current state of politics, no matter your political views, it is enlightening.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Samuel 04-06-16
    Samuel 04-06-16 Member Since 2016
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    "A Powerful Argument"

    After listening to this book, I guess the challenge is to find the cognitive flaws in myself and use the conclusions drawn by Dr Haidt to ever so slowly push myself to having a truly open mind.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Block 03-31-16
    J. Block 03-31-16 Member Since 2016

    evoc oner

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    "Great analysis"

    An excellent analysis of the current political situation through the lens of the moral intuitionist approach to moral psychology! I couldn't say I agreed with literally everything he said here (e.g. the motivations for suicide bombing as one example) but it was well worth the listen and I'd recommend it to anyone interested in such things

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 03-29-16
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    "pretty life changing"

    Wow. Quite brilliant. A profound and earnest take on humanity as we (didn't really) know it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Mr
    LONDON, United Kingdom
    7/8/13
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    "Good Book"
    Where does The Righteous Mind rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    The author is an excellent narrator, it made listening a pleasure. The book was well structured with summaries at the end of each chapter.

    As a liberal the book made me think about myself and why I am the way I am!

    I did not agree entirely with everything written, it certainly challenged my ideas as to what is right and wrong. This makes me want to find out more about the subject to find more answers.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    na


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

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    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

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    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • levw49
    United Kingdom
    4/29/13
    Overall
    "A thoroughly interesting book!"

    I always feel that book's read by the author are far better to listen to and this book illustrates the point perfectly. Haidt is open, honest, informative and passionate about his chosen field of moral psychology. Throughout the book he is unbiased and remains remarkably dispassionate with regards to a variety of moral, social and political views, thus making this book thoroughly educational and informative whilst allowing you to make up your own mind and opinions. I would certainly recommend this to someone who is interested in this field, I have listened to it twice so far and i'm still not bored of it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Jim Vaughan
    Malvern, UK
    11/26/12
    Overall
    "Brilliant! Well researched, accessible, convincing"

    This is a highly intelligent, yet accessible book, beautifully read by the author himself.



    If like me you are puzzled by the stupidity of other people's beliefs and values, then I urge you to read "The Righteous Mind". At its core is a message of reconciliation; an enlightened liberation from the "Filter Bubble" of our own confirmation biases to see ourselves & those we most profoundly disagree with as belonging on the same continuum.



    Haidt's thesis is controversial :- that Western liberals (e.g. him & me) are "WIERD" outliers, using just three moral foundations of harm, freedom, and fairness, when for conservative & non Western cultures, morality includes a far broader spectrum of sensibilities, including hierarchy, loyalty and sacredness.



    Our own values feel like 'The Truth' and the more moral we are, the more self-righteous in imposing our own moral framework. Moreover, we are all moral hypocrites, acting to maximise our good reputation, with our moral rationalisations serving as press officer to our emotional prejudices.



    Haidt cites a ton of research (including his own), underpinned by psychology, anthropology, neuroscience & evolutionary theory: the latter an elegant mix of Selfish Gene, Multi-Level selection and Dual Inheritance Theory, summed up in the sound-byte that we are 90% chimp and 10% hive mentality.



    Yet it was in his uncritical advocacy for the "Durkheimian Hive Switch" that I started to dissent. Anyone who knows the film "The Wave", the deindividuation of rioting crowds, Milgram's Experiment, or phenomena such as scape-goating or "corporate groupthink" will be wary of the dangers of the "Hive Switch", and the potential madness of crowds. The Enlightenment was about liberation from our hive mentality and the benefits of Mill's style individualism and secularism.



    However, that said, I consider Haidt a hero, and I hope this excellent book will help heal the animosity between good people who differ only in the hyper-goods they value.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Paula Wright
    10/7/15
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    "Interesting thesis"

    but I was confused by the absence of any discussion of kin selection. Hence 4 stars not 5.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Chris Samuel
    London
    2/19/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Entertaining and provoking"

    Great narrator, well structured and researched. Made by an expert in the field of moral psychology. A great book to learn from, argue with and grow in our understanding of morality

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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