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The Power Paradox

How We Gain and Lose Influence
Narrated by: Kaleo Griffith
Length: 4 hrs and 37 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

Penguin presents the unabridged downloadable audiobook edition of The Power Paradox by Dacher Keltner and read by Kaleo Griffith.

A concise, paradigm-shifting account of the power dynamics that shape everyday life - from the boardroom to the dinner table, the playground to the bedroom.

The Machiavellian view of power as a coercive force is one of the deepest currents in our culture, yet new psychological research reveals this vision to be dead wrong.

Influence is gained instead through social intelligence and empathy - but ironically the seductions of power make us lose the very qualities that made us powerful in the first place. By drawing on fascinating case studies that debunk longstanding myths, Dacher Keltner illuminates this power paradox, revealing how it shapes not just boardrooms and elections but everyday relationships and affects whether or not we will have affairs, break the law or find our purposes in life.

©2016 Dacher Keltner (P)2016 Penguin Books Limited

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-06-19

Reads like a long Sunday newspaper article

The author is a Professor of Psychology and he repeatedly mentions science and his team at Berkeley when describing experiments to support his points.

As a caveat I don't know anything about social sciences and have not read any of the primary articles mentioned but as statements of fact were made here I was left wanting more information on the trial/experimental design and methodology etc.
I did find it amusing thinking of Berkeley students touching each others arms, or drawing letters on their heads, or stealing cookies and the generalisability of data from select Berkeley sororities to all of humanity.

As a medic myself, we regularly tear apart trials at weekly journal clubs at work and know the often limited value of observational data. The kindest thing I can say is that there is practically no science in here. That leaves us with an opinion piece, written at a very superficial level, for a general audience.

There were also a few plainly incorrect statements relating to anatomy and physiology, these were minor but added to the wishy-washy impression of vagueness and superficiality. More concerning was the fact I thought there was a hint of religious zeal and moralising within e.g. concerning wealth, infidelity and divorce - that may just be my own impression though.

A basic summary is "power, rambling list of words like sexism and discrimination, power, change the world, power, list of words, power, brief cherry-picked historical anecdote, change the world, power" etc. for 4 hours. I would actually like to see a word count for how many times the word power is used. If you listen at double time like I did it has a strangely hypnotic feel to it.

On the plus side it is short at around 4 hours, and because it's rambling and the arguments are paper-thin you can listen to it with half an ear while doing jobs around the house without affecting your enjoyment(?) too much. So it might be recommendable as a casual listen if you like reading light newspaper articles.

Also the overall message is that it's nice to be nice, a message I approve of.

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  • Rui
  • 07-28-17

Very interesting book

Even though I'm very familiar with the experiments he introduced in the book, I really like how he explained it in a "paradox" way

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  • Ninalmek
  • 05-24-16

insightful and well informed summary of the field.

Great book, easy to follow. Enlightening summary of the field that this psychologist has been researching in for the last 20 years. it built on my understanding of the topic.