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Publisher: Penguin Books$16.00The Power Paradox (Audio Compact Disc - Unabridged)
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Power is ubiquitous but totally misunderstood. Turning conventional wisdom on its head, Dr. Dacher Keltner presents the very idea of power in a whole new light, demonstrating not just how it is a force for good in the world, but how via compassion and selflessness it is attainable for each and every one of us.
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 we all too often forget, and it is the crux of the power paradox: by misunderstanding the behaviors that helped us to gain power in the first place we set ourselves up to fall from power. We abuse and lose our power, at work, in our family life, with our friends, 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 in and of itself a good thing.
Dr. Keltner lays out exactly in twenty original "Power Principles" how to retain power; why power can be a demonstrably good thing; when we are likely to abuse power; and the terrible consequences of letting those around us languish in powerlessness."
- ISBN-13: 9781594205248
- ISBN-10: 1594205248
- Publisher: Penguin Press
- Publish Date: May 2016
- Page Count: 208
- Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.8 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-06-06
- Reviewer: Staff
Keltner, a UC Berkeley psychology professor, takes an innovative look at the idea of power. The titular paradox is that gaining power often causes people to misuse that power and lose it. The book explores why this pattern is so common. Keltner writes about lab experiments in which researchers arbitrarily bestowed roles of superiority on test subjects, who then showed more impulsive and selfish behaviors. Other studies found that people who had grown up poor showed greater empathy than those who grew up with more advantages. Meanwhile, powerlessness has been found to invoke stress responses that lead to slowed development in children and poor health in adults. To counteract this dynamic, Keltner proposes a "fivefold path" composed of self-awareness, humility, generosity, respect, and a commitment to positive social change. He reframes what can seem like an intractable problem in terms that are approachable and solvable: "When I was in my twenties, steeped in the utopian idealism of youth, I wished for a society that would be power free.... This book has changed my view." Power defines daily experience; therefore, he argues, solving this paradox is imperative. His paradigm-shifting book challenges readers to find a new level of awareness about themselves and the leaders they choose to follow. (May)