CM 048: Dacher Keltner on the Power Paradox

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Blog Post - Dacher KeltnerIs there a secret to lasting power? Yes, and Dacher Keltner has been teaching leaders about it for decades. And the secret is not the ruthless, manipulative approach associated with 15th-century politician and writer Niccolo Machiavelli. It is actually the opposite.

As a University of California, Berkeley, Professor of Psychology, and Founder and Director of the Greater Good Science Center, Dacher Keltner shares research-based insights he has gained. And in his latest book, The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence, he discusses a new science of power and 20 guiding power principles.

In this interview, we talk about:

  • How the legacy of Niccolo Machiavelli continues to inform power
  • Why power is about so much more than dominance, manipulation, and ruthlessness
  • Why we need to question a coercive model of power
  • The short- versus long-term impact of different kinds of power
  • Why power is about lifting others up
  • Why lasting power is given, not grabbed
  • The important role that reputation, gossip and esteem play in who gains power
  • How, within days, group members already know who holds the power
  • What makes for enduring power
  • How our body language and words speak volumes about power
  • Why Abraham Lincoln is a fascinating study of empathetic power
  • The fact that great and powerful leaders are incredible storytellers
  • How feeling powerful makes us less aware of risk
  • How feeling powerful makes us less empathetic, attentive and responsive to others
  • How feeling powerful actually overrides the part of our brain that signals empathy
  • How drivers of more expensive cars (46 percent) tend to ignore pedestrians
  • How powerful people often tell themselves stories to justify hierarchies
  • The price we pay for powerlessness
  • Concrete ways we can cultivate enduring, empathetic power
  • Gender and power
  • Why the key to parenting is to empower children to have a voice in the world

Selected Links to Topics Mentioned

Dacher Keltner

Greater Good Science Center

Frans de Waal

The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli

Thomas Clarkson and the abolition movement

Why Civil Resistance Works by Erica Chenoweth and Maria J. Stephan

House of Cards

The 100-Year Life by Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott

What Works by Iris Bohnet

Arturo Behar and Facebook

Greater Good in Action

Science of Happiness course on edX

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