Jay J. Van Bavel and Dominic J. Packer, "The Power of Us: Harnessing Our Shared Identities" (Little, Brown Spark, 2021)

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If you're like most people, you probably believe that your identity is stable. But in fact, your identity is constantly changing—often outside your conscious awareness and sometimes even against your wishes—to reflect the interests of the groups you belong to.

In The Power of Us (Little Brown, Spark, 2021), psychologists Dominic Packer and Jay Van Bavel integrate their own cutting-edge research in psychology and neuroscience to explain how identity really works and how to harness its dynamic nature to:

  • - Boost cooperation and productivity
  • - Overcome bias
  • - Escape from echo chambers
  • - Break political gridlock
  • - Foster dissent and mobilize for change
  • - Lead effectively
  • - Galvanize action to address persistent global problems

Along the way, they explore such seemingly unrelated phenomena as why a small town in Germany spent decades divided by shoes, why beliefs persist after they are disproven, how working together synchronizes our brains, what makes selfish people generous, why effective leaders say “we” a lot, and how playing soccer can reduce age-old conflicts.

Understanding how identity works allows people to take control, moving beyond wondering, “Who am I?” to answer instead, “Who do I want to be?” Packed with fascinating insights, vivid case studies, and a wealth of pioneering research, The Power of Us will change the way you understand yourself—and the people around you—forever.

Matthew Jordan is a university instructor, funk musician, and clear writing enthusiast. He studies the history of science and technology, driven by the belief that we must understand the past in order to improve the future.

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131 episodes