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Publisher's Summary

A revolutionary and timely reconsideration of everything we know about power. Celebrated UC Berkeley psychologist Dr. Dacher Keltner argues that compassion and selflessness enable us to have the most influence over others, and the result is power as a force for good in the world. 

It is taken for granted that power corrupts. This is reinforced culturally by everything from Machiavelli to contemporary politics. But how do we get power? And how does it change our behavior? 

So often, in spite of our best intentions, we lose our hard-won power. Enduring power comes from empathy and giving. Above all, power is given to us by other people. This is what all too often we forget and what Dr. Keltner sets straight. This is the crux of the power paradox: By fundamentally misunderstanding the behaviors that helped us to gain power in the first place, we set ourselves up to fall from power. We can't retain power because we've never understood it correctly - until now. Power isn't the capacity to act in cruel and uncaring ways; it is the ability to do good for others, expressed in daily life, and itself a good a thing. 

Dr. Keltner lays out exactly - in 20 original "Power Principles" - how to retain power, why power can be a demonstrably good thing, and the terrible consequences of letting those around us languish in powerlessness. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2016 Dacher Keltner (P)2016 Penguin Audio

What members say

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Not great for audio

Audio felt more like a lecture and often referred to "your PDF". If you like to listen to audiobooks without stopping to check a PDF on your mobile or laptop this can be frustrating.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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I expected more

I selected this book based on an interview of Dr Keltner i heard in the past week. The interview topics and responses were very engaging and unexpected, the book less so.

A book I was so intent on listening to rapidly turned into a modern version of my high school assignment of the Odyssey. Dry, repetitive and less than engaging. I felt that chapters 1-5 were flat at best. For whatever reason chapter 6 was much more engaging that the remainder of the book. I feel brought the overall book's level to a "meh".

Unfortunately it was followed by Chapter 7 the Epilogue. In this chapter Dr Keltner articulates his youthful dream of living in a Utopian society. Honestly, it provided a basis for better understanding the topics and examples used throughout the book. Based solely off the book's contents, I would speculate that the author's dream of a Utopian society has not diminished much with time.

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An excellent look at social dynamics

Pair this book with 'Pitch Anything' by Oren Klaff and you have a very powerful combination. This book addresses in the simplest terms how we gain and lose basic power in everyday interactions. Pitch Anything hones on more specific examples of 'status' reputation. combine both books.

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I'm not about saying "Everyone should read this."

But. Everyone should read this. Especially those in positions of power and influence. This book, for those looking to intentionally wield power in a sustained way, is extremely thought provoking. Possibly even paradigm shifting.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Joe
  • Washington DC
  • 08-07-16

Well done.

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to The Power Paradox. It is a thought provoking challenge to our commonly held beliefs about our relationships and the importance of an awareness of and dangers of power.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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new insights

I taught us history and have a master's degree but I learned new insight about the nature of the struggle of the American Revolution

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Thought provoking, but not groundbreaking

Studies reenforce what we see in life, but the book helped me think about my observations in a different way. It's well worth a listen.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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energy in physics what power is to relationships.

Lack of Power can lead to sickness ,of all kinds, and a shorter life span.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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What planet does this guy live on

He should do an analysis Harvey Weinstein‘s power! He seemed to be about his own greater good at the demise of others.

0 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Interesting Concepts with Biased Examples

The basis of the book is that power is given to you by doing selfless things for others. When we experience power, we can either continue doing good or abuse it selfishly and lose the power that is given to us.
It gets annoying when his own biased opinions become apparent. For example, I immediately lost my respect for him in the first chapter. He talks about the United States' "rising problem with income inequality" to be generally accepted as the worst problem we have, then suggests that the wealthy are the ones who succumb to bad decisions from having power.
A simple google search will show you that the United States is always the first or second most charitable country based on the World Giving Index. That is almost entirely because our wealthy people chose to give so much to charity.
We have far bigger problems than being upset that Bill Gates makes more money than the rest of us. If it wasn't for people like him, the vast majority of our jobs would vanish. The only "problem" you would solve by getting rid of rich people would be the income gap. Then we would just have a ton of poor people.
This book is just full of illogical leftist talk. It's a good thing this guy is into psychology and not economics. By the way, he's a professor at the same school that recently had a riot and protest, preventing a conservative from giving his speech.

1 of 9 people found this review helpful