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Changing Minds: The Art And Science of Changing Our Own And Other People's Minds [Paperback]

Howard Gardner
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Sept. 1 2006 Leadership for the Common Good
Think about the last time you tried to change someone’s mind about something important: a voter’s political beliefs; a customer’s favorite brand; a spouse’s decorating taste. Chances are you weren’t successful in shifting that person’s beliefs in any way. In his book, Changing Minds, Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner explains what happens during the course of changing a mind – and offers ways to influence that process.

Remember that we don’t change our minds overnight, it happens in gradual stages that can be powerfully influenced along the way. This book provides insights that can broaden our horizons and shape our lives.

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Changing Minds: The Art And Science of Changing Our Own And Other People's Minds + Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Gardner, a psychologist and professor at Harvard, examines the factors involved in changing minds on significant issues, in politics, science, business and art. He identifies seven key elements, including reason, research and real world events, that are part of the decision-making process. Certain facets are more heavily weighted in some fields than others: "leaders of large groups often rely on the appreciable resources at their disposal but are buoyed or undercut by real world events," says Gardner (Frames of Mind), who believes this explains why a politician or a CEO will disregard advice in the face of larger issues and popular perceptions. To prove his theories, Gardner analyzes the behavior of several individuals including President Bush, Britain's Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair, and South Africa's Nelson Mandela. Gardner doesn't limit his examination to politicians because he also believes that artists, writers, musicians and teachers can change people's minds. While the discussions and real-life examples are intriguing and do clarify Gardner's theories, the book doesn't fully deliver on its promise. Although Gardner does offer suggestions on how someone can influence others, he doesn't include a detailed prescriptive strategy for decision makers in the business world. Readers must draw out insights on their own, which, given the complexity of the material, may be difficult.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

Named one of the “Highlights from the Decade” in strategy+business magazine.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Social commentary and post-analysis June 19 2004
Format:Hardcover
I purchased this book after hearing Mr. Gardner's awesome interview and commentary on NPR (you can download the show here: [...] ). I was looking for a book that was a practical guide to leveraging people's opinions and beliefs, identifying modes and techniques for changing minds, and understanding how this relates to cognitive science.
What I got instead was a social commentary on different famous leaders.. many many parables, while interesting, harder to relate to my own life. The system Mr. Gardner proposes for effecting mind change is sufficient for typifying or categorizing how people have accomplished this in the past.. but not as useful of a guide for learning how to do it yourself in the future. It is more for categorizing, instead of predicting and causing.
Still an interesting book, and I like his writing style, but certainly not what I anticipated. If you'd like to understand people better, and meet some theories on how to better influence them, I'd instead recommend a great introduction to Carl Rogers and his theories, "On Becoming a Person: A Therapist's View of Psychotherapy". This presents concepts such as "congruence" that might help you better influence people.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Perceptual Map for Changing Minds Dec 14 2006
By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Whenever I meet new clients, they tell me that if they can just get those who disagree with them to agree they will have no more problems. Embedded in that observation is a belief that they have all the facts and have correctly interpreted those facts. A corollary is that anyone who disagrees is either misinformed or an idiot.

Usually, what I find instead is that my new clients have listened very well to what people have been telling them and haven't explained their own point of view very well. The right solution is usually to create a new solution together and implement as a cooperative team.

Somewhere along the way, the new clients forget the "us" and "they" mentality and wonder what in the world I did to help them. The eventual solution seems obvious in retrospect . . . and they forget that there was ever disagreement. That's how subtle the process of changing minds is. Except for the most self-aware, we just wake up one day with a new set of ideas. I'm reminded of the advertisement for FedEx where the leader asks for ways to cut costs. A shy man quietly suggests using FedEx. Everyone ignores what he says until the leader repeats the idea . . . and then everyone applauds. The shy man challenges the leader who defends himself by saying that he changed the hand gestures used to make the pronouncement . . . and that made all the difference.

In other words, we love to be in charge . . . even when someone else has changed our mind.

The whole process remains mysterious. After reading Changing Minds, those who find the process mysterious will continue to find it so. But those who have some insight into the process will find meta-models for structuring their strategies and tactics of persuasion and education.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Seven Levers to Influence Decision-Making July 1 2004
Format:Hardcover
One key to success is the ability to influence people's thinking. Whether one is attempting to introduce a major organizational change or convince consumers to switch brands, the ability to change people minds is an important business process.
Howard Gardner, a Harvard psychologist who specializes in cognitive theory, offers us insight into what happens when one changes his or her mind. In order to change someone's mind, Gardner writes, one has to produce a shift in that person's perceptions, codes and the way he or she retains and accesses information.
There are seven levers to change, he says.
1. Reason.
2. Research
3. Resonance
4. Re-descriptions
5. Rewards
6. Real World Events
7. Resistances.
Gardner explores how these levers are employed in six realms.
1. Diverse Groups - such as a nation.
2. Homogeneous Groups - corporations, universities.
3. Culture - Changes effected by art, science or scholarship.
4. Classroom
5. Intimate Gatherings - one-on-one meetings, family gathering.
6. Changes within one's mind.
This book is enlightening and compelling. It offers insights into the methods one can employ to influence others and oneself.
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By Robert Morris HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Although many of Gardner's core concepts were first introduced and developed in earlier works, notably in Multiple Intelligences and Frames of Mind (1993) and then Intelligence Reframed (2000), he breaks important new ground when examining the process by which we can change others' minds (assumptions, premises, mindsets, convictions, opinions, etc.) and, of even greater importance, how we can change our own minds wherein resistance to such change can be especially formidable. This is precisely what Jim O'Toole has in mind when discussing "the ideology of comfort and the tyranny of custom" in his brilliant book Leading Change. As Gardner advocates, "One can -- and must -- go through an exercise of deep and pervasive mental surgery with respect to every entrenched view: Define it, understand the reasons for its provenance, point out its weaknesses, and then develop multiple ways of undermining that view and bolstering a more constructive one. In other words, [in italics] search for the resonance and [also in italics] stamp out the resistance." It seems to me imperative that we never underestimate the nature and extent of resistance which results from "the ideology of comfort and the tyranny of custom"
Gardner identifies seven factors ("sometimes I'll call them levers"), most or all of which may influence a mind change: research (relevant data), resonance (the affective component), redescriptions (mutually reinforcing images of what will result from the change), resources and rewards (perceived cost-benefit relationship), real world events (wars, hurricanes, terrorist attacks, depressions, etc.), and resistances (motivation stimulated by opposition).
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