The Power Paradox

  • by Dacher Keltner
  • Narrated by Kaleo Griffith
  • 4 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A revolutionary and timely reconsideration of everything we know about power. Celebrated UC Berkeley psychologist Dr. Dacher Keltner argues that compassion and selflessness enable us to have the most influence over others, and the result is power as a force for good in the world.
It is taken for granted that power corrupts. This is reinforced culturally by everything from Machiavelli to contemporary politics. But how do we get power? And how does it change our behavior?
So often, in spite of our best intentions, we lose our hard-won power. Enduring power comes from empathy and giving. 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 - until now. 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, and itself a good a thing.
Dr. Keltner lays out exactly - in 20 original "Power Principles" - how to retain power, why power can be a demonstrably good thing, and the terrible consequences of letting those around us languish in powerlessness.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Interesting Concepts with Biased Examples

The basis of the book is that power is given to you by doing selfless things for others. When we experience power, we can either continue doing good or abuse it selfishly and lose the power that is given to us.
It gets annoying when his own biased opinions become apparent. For example, I immediately lost my respect for him in the first chapter. He talks about the United States' "rising problem with income inequality" to be generally accepted as the worst problem we have, then suggests that the wealthy are the ones who succumb to bad decisions from having power.
A simple google search will show you that the United States is always the first or second most charitable country based on the World Giving Index. That is almost entirely because our wealthy people chose to give so much to charity.
We have far bigger problems than being upset that Bill Gates makes more money than the rest of us. If it wasn't for people like him, the vast majority of our jobs would vanish. The only "problem" you would solve by getting rid of rich people would be the income gap. Then we would just have a ton of poor people.
This book is just full of illogical leftist talk. It's a good thing this guy is into psychology and not economics. By the way, he's a professor at the same school that recently had a riot and protest, preventing a conservative from giving his speech.
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- Amazon Customer

Not great for audio

Audio felt more like a lecture and often referred to "your PDF". If you like to listen to audiobooks without stopping to check a PDF on your mobile or laptop this can be frustrating.
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- d-lion

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-17-2016
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio