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Prius or Pickup?

How the Answers to Four Simple Questions Explain America’s Great Divide
Narrated by: Scott Merriman
Length: 9 hrs and 49 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (52 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Two award-winning political scientists provide the psychological key to America’s deadlocked politics, showing that we are divided not by ideologies but something deeper: personality differences that appear in everything from politics to parenting to the workplace to TV preferences, and which would be innocuous if only we could decouple them from our noxious political debate.

What’s in your garage: a Prius or a pickup? What’s in your coffee cup: Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts? What about your pet: cat or dog? As award-winning political scholars Marc Hetherington and Jonathan Weiler explain, even our smallest choices speak volumes about us - especially when it comes to our personalities and our politics. Liberals and conservatives seem to occupy different worlds because we have fundamentally different worldviews: systems of values that can be quickly diagnosed with a handful of simple parenting questions, but which shape our lives and decisions in the most elemental ways. If we're to overcome our seemingly intractable differences, Hetherington and Weiler show, we must first learn to master the psychological impulses that give rise to them, and to understand how politicians manipulate our mindsets for their own benefit.

Drawing on groundbreaking original research, Prius or Pickup? is an incisive, illuminating study of the fracturing of the American mind.

©2018 Marc Hetherington and Jonathan Weiler (P)2018 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Good research, but liberal bias is irritating

I gave it three stars because it is more worth reading than not, but it was annoying to keep reading about how all “fixed” voters are motivated by racism. I’m a fixed person, and I vote based on my religious convictions. One possible fix to how deeply fragmented our parties have become would be for the left to stop demonizing religious people all the time. Maybe it’s ok to work at a private Christian school, even if their beliefs differ from yours. You could argue the same for Muslim schools - freedom of religion being one of the reasons our country was founded in the first place. And maybe if the left stopped threatening to tax our nation’s places of worship, fixed voters wouldn’t feel that fear anymore that made them vote for Trump - who we all knew wasn’t a Christian, and frankly we didn’t care, because we knew he would protect our urban churches from closing down and protect our freedom of religion and speech more generally. Anyway, that’s my take. But the research is excellent, so worth the read.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Everyone Should Read This...

This book doesn't just explain why there's a right vs left divide opening up and the effect it has had on society. But it explains the consequences and what we might do about it. There are no judgements here. I'd guess that the authors go "left" but there's no evidence of any anger/aversion to the "right" in there. If you're tired of the constant bickering... this book may be the map to a better place for all of us. Fingers crossed.

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    1 out of 5 stars

Author can't see beyond his own bias.

The authors have some interesting ideas about what makes for different types of voters. While the conclusions make sense, they state the premise of each chapter repeatedly before adding more evidence, as if this is either a collection of essays written for a high school honors english class, or directed at senior citizens with poor memory.

I'll fully admit that I'm neither a fluid, nor fixed thinker according to his "4" questions about raising kids, but that doesn't mean I'm wrong. They talk about conservatives being conservative because they see the world as a dangerous place. This ignores the fact that the world IS a dangerous place. It's also a wonderful place to explore.

Towards the end of the book this becomes an anti-Trump screed. Which is sad. That means that as soon as "Bad Orange Man" is out of office, the book will no longer be relevant. The kernels of truth in the book deserve more fertile ground than the "current year" narrative.

They also rail against the rise of the authoritarian right, while ignoring the authoritarian left that has sprung up in the form of hecklers veto Antifa, the very real conflicts between being pro-muslim and pro-lgbt in britain and social media banning people and driving necessary conversation underground.

Basically everything that conservatives (sorry, fixed viewpoint people) do is wrong or based in fear, and everything leftists (sorry, fluid worldview) people do is right. The authors might argue that they don't say this anywhere. And that's true. Not explicitly. But, since 9 of 10 examples of "errors in thinking" come from fixed worldview people in the book and the final chapter is basically "Orange Man Bad".

It really shows what conventional wisdom and research in the last few years shows. Conservatives understand how progressives think. Progressives have no clue how conservatives think.

This is really sad. Not just because of the time I wasted listening to the book, not just because of the money I spent that I'll be getting back as a refund from audible. It's sad because if the authors had worked harder to see past their own biases and written with the future in mind, this could be a book that could provide insight for decades to people of all political stripes. Instead, it's a partisan choir-preaching sermon that's only almost-good.

tl;dr - if you have more than one NPR tote bag, you'll love this. If you have a nuanced, or rightwing worldview (not the same, believe me), you'll be disappointed.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful