Messengers: Who We Listen To, Who We Don't, and Why

Messengers: Who We Listen To, Who We Don't, and Why

Messengers: Who We Listen To, Who We Don't, and Why

Messengers: Who We Listen To, Who We Don't, and Why


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"In the age of fake news, understanding who we trust and why is essential in explaining everything from leadership to power to our daily relationships." -Sinan Aral

We live in a world where proven facts and verifiable data are freely and widely available. Why, then, are self-confident ignoramuses so often believed over thoughtful experts? And why do seemingly irrelevant details such as a person's appearance or financial status influence whether or not we trust what they are saying, regardless of their wisdom or foolishness?

Stephen Martin and Joseph Marks compellingly explain how in our uncertain and ambiguous world, the messenger is increasingly the message. We frequently fail, they argue, to separate the idea being communicated from the person conveying it, explaining why the status or connectedness of the messenger has become more important than the message itself.

Messengers influence business, politics, local communities, and our broader society. And Martin and Marks reveal the forces behind the most infuriating phenomena of our modern era, such as belief in fake news and how presidents can hawk misinformation and flagrant lies yet remain.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781541724389
Publisher: PublicAffairs
Publication date: 10/15/2019
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 418,272
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Stephen Martin, the CEO of the consulting and training company Influence at Work, works with companies around the world. Based in London, he visits the United States frequently and in 2019 will lead a new executive education program in behavioral science at Columbia University Business School. He is also a guest lecturer on executive education programs at Harvard Business School, the London School of Economics, and the Judge Business School at Cambridge University,. He is the co-author of Yes! 50 Secrets from the Science of Persuasion, which has sold over a million copies internationally and been translated into 26 languages. Steve writes a regular business column, "Persuasion," for the British Airways inflight magazine and contributes to Harvard Business Review's prestigious 'Breakthrough Ideas for Business' list. Steve's work has been featured in broadcast and print media across the world, including BBC TV and Radio, MSNBC, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Wired, The London Times, Sunday Telegraph, and the Guardian.

Joseph Marks is an associate consultant with Influence at Work and a doctoral candidate working jointly at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and University College London. His research and studies have been published in both academic journals and The New York Times, Bloomberg and the Harvard Business Review.

Table of Contents

Introduction The Curse of Cassandra 1

Part 1 Hard Messengers 19

1 Socio-Economic Position 27

Fame, Fortune and Being Recognised without Being Recognised

2 Competence 57

Expertise, Experience and Why Potential Beats Reality

3 Dominance 83

Power, Superiority and When Command Trumps Compassion

4 Attractiveness 119

Cute Babies, Beauty Taxes and the Upsides of Averageness

Part 2 Soft Messengers 143

5 Warmth 151

Likeable Leaders, Humble Servants and When Cooperation Defeats Conflict

6 Vulnerability 179

Self-Disclosures, Identifiable Victims and How Openness Can Unlock Closed Minds

7 Trustworthiness 207

Core Principles, Conflicts of Interest and Those Who Are as Faithful as Their Options

8 Charisma 243

Vision, Surgency and the Mystery of Magnetism

Conclusion Listening … Believing … Becoming 263

Acknowledgements 283

References 285

Index 321

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