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Changing Minds: The Art And Science of Changing Our Own And Other People's Minds Paperback – Sep 1 2006
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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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
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.
6. Real World Events
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.
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.
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).Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I've seen Howard Gardner speak and he really taught me a lot about there being more than IQ to success in life. Read morePublished on July 18 2004
Since this book was published by HBR, I really expected it to have a lot more to do with changing business thinking. Read morePublished on May 30 2004
Many of the wonderful thinking techniques in this book remind me of one of my favorite books, "The Little Guide To Happiness". You are what you think about. Read morePublished on April 10 2004 by Michelle
I saw Howard Gardner speak at an event a few years ago and it was terrific. He is a very experienced psychologist who understands the mind and persuasion. Read morePublished on April 9 2004 by Billy Corgan
I waited in anticipation for this book to be released. The topic, coupled with Mr. Gardner's strong c.v., led me to believe that this would be a seminal book. Read morePublished on March 27 2004 by Michael D. Wiley
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