The Influential Mind: Can you change the opinion of another?
The Influential Mind: What The Brain Reveals About The Power To Change Others
The new book from TED speaker and author of The Optimism Bias, Tali Sharot, The Influential Mind challenges the wisdom of the crowd.
We’ve all butted heads with a friend, a partner, or work colleague. Whether it’s changing the way a presentation should be run or deciding where your children should go to school, your mind is made up and whoever is in opposition is just plain wrong. Even if facts come to light which completely flies in the face of your opinion, you find a way to justify your position. Why is it so hard for us to change our minds, or even worse, admit your initial thoughts may have been wrong?
The Influential Mind by neuroscientist Tali Sharot aims to explain why we are so bloomin stubborn when it comes to standing by our opinions, and also how others influence us. Marketers and advertisers, social media platforms, family, friends, and of course our world leaders all want to tell us how to think, feel, vote and buy. How did Trump get into power with very little fact-based argument? If POTUS shouts ‘FAKE NEWS!’ ever so loudly, does it make it so? Why do we look for the negative first when we feel under threat? Why does Facebook fill our timelines with what we want to hear? Where is the balance?
One example which sprang to my mind was rather unsuprisingly, a bookish one. There are authors who say that they ‘refuse to look at reviews because they don’t want to feel differently about their book’ (this I hear quite often). On the one hand, I can understand that a writer who has put their life into a piece of work, wouldn’t want to have their belief shaken in the book they’ve taken years to the write. But, like those poor souls who think they sound like Whitney Houston, when they really sound like Marge Simpson on the first round of X-Factor, you have to seek out an honest opinion, not just hear what you want to hear. The truth can hurt though, so it’s natural to try and avoid the cold hard truth.
Is The Influential Mind: What The Brain Reveals About The Power To Change Others worth a read?
The winners in life are those who can both listen to what’s being said before making a decision, and those who can influence a project, loved one, team, or friend, positively and with a clear message. It’s a careful balance and a powerful skill which can be used to influence the good as well as the bad. We all have experienced both sides. Which is best? Which has worked to bring about a successful outcome?
One thing is for sure. If you ever want to win an argument, Google will always be on your side!
A fascinating read which gives topical examples and has expanded my knowledge on the power of influence.
3 out of 5 from me
Buy now from Booktopia and read the book blurb here
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