Professor of Psychology, University of California at Berkeley, Faculty Director of the Greater Good Science Center, and bestselling author
The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence
It is taken for granted that power corrupts. This is reinforced culturally by everything from Machiavelli to contemporary politics. But what really is power and how do we get it? Once we have power, how does it change our behavior? In his new book, The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence, celebrated psychologist Dacher Keltner, Ph.D. offers a revolutionary and timely reconsideration of everything we think we know about power.
As The Power Paradox makes clear, power dynamics touch every aspect of our lives and it is compassion and selflessness, not force, that enable us to have the most influence over others. Above all, power is given to us by other people. This is what all-too-often we forget, and what Dr. Keltner sets straight. This is the crux of the power paradox: by fundamentally misunderstanding the behaviors that helped us to gain power in the first place we set ourselves up to fall from power. We can’t retain power because we’ve never understood it correctly. Power isn’t the capacity to act in cruel and uncaring ways; it is the ability to do good for others, expressed in daily life.