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.
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About the Author
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