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 A New Book on Power
Posted by: Dacher Keltner
Title/Position: Professor
School/Organization: University of California Berkeley
Sent to listserv of: SESP, SPSSI
Date posted: May 17th, 2016

Dear Colleagues in Social Psychology Network,

For the past 20 years I’ve been studying power with a great team of collaborators too numerous to mention here. We’ve learned a lot about how we gain power, abuse it, and use it as a force for good. I’ve learned many surprises along the way. Machiavellianism is not a path to gaining power; instead we gain power through empathy and actions that advance the greater good, such as expressing gratitude and collaborative sharing. I’ve been surprised by how all of us can abuse power – yes, power does corrupt absolutely – that in our worse moments power can make us act like out of control sociopaths. And perhaps most importantly, I’ve been struck by how power – as Bertrand Russell long ago observed – is a basic dimension of our social relations with our friends, work colleagues, and families. How we handle power says a lot about our happiness, our stress, and our physical health, as well as that of people around us, and the state of our society (as evident in the new literature on inequality).

I’ve put this science together in my new book, "The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence," published by Penguin Press on May 17, 2016.

Here’s what people are saying about it:

Susan Fiske: “Everyone can learn from this wise book.”

Daniel Goleman: “One of the most significant science books of the decade.”

Robert Wright: “Compelling and eye popping from start to finish.”

Here’s where you can go if you’re interested in the book:

Thanks so much,


Attachment: SPN Power Paradox Letter.docx

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