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The Power Paradox

Dacher Keltner

The Power Paradox

by Dacher Keltner

The Power Paradox

Dacher Keltner

5 min
3 key insights
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The Power Paradox frames the concept of power in an inspiring new narrative, which can help us create better and more equal relationships, workplaces, and societies.

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The Power Paradox

by Dacher Keltner

The Power Paradox

Dacher Keltner

Overview

With The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence, Dacher Keltner shows that the narrative we use to define power is biased. The way we understand power is largely shaped by Machiavelli. Since The Prince was published over 500 years ago, the main associations with the word 'power' revolve around fraud, manipulation, and strategic violence. Yet, when we look closely at how power emerges, we start seeing it as a positive and socially important force. Dacher Keltner is a professor of psychology and has spent over 20 years researching this subject. He found that when someone can influence others, it's because they have the ability to enhance their lives. In other words, power comes as a 'reward' for being socially useful. The paradox, however, comes from the very experience of feeling powerful. Once people get power, it often causes the person to begin displaying socially harmful behaviors, and the decay of power isn't far behind.

The key to obtaining and maintaining power is learning how to deal with this 'power paradox', and this book explains how to do just that.

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"The power paradox is this: we rise in power and make a huge difference in the world due to what is best about human nature, but we fall from power due to what is worst."

Dacher Keltner

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The Power Paradox

Dacher Keltner

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