THE CANDIDATE'S 7 DEADLY SINS

USING EMOTIONAL OPTICS TO TURN POLITICAL VICES INTO VIRTUES

An engaging, practical guide to the psychological dynamics of electoral politics.

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An insightful look at politicians through a psychological lens.

As a syndicated columnist for the Boston Globe and a frequent national television and radio guest, Wish is known for being able to explain cutting-edge psychological concepts to mass audiences. He’s also served as a political consultant, most notably on future Sen. Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign. Romney seemed to Republican insiders to be a sure winner, as he was articulate, handsome, and unflappable; however, Wish saw that Romney seemed “too perfect” and thus failed to personally connect with voters. According to the author, voters aren’t driven by policy or polish but by emotion; for example, President George W. Bush’s numerous gaffes made him more likable to voters, who were drawn to his perceived authenticity. Using a blend of psychological theory and absorbing political anecdotes, Wish analyzes the “7 deadly sins” that are most often committed by politicians who fail to apply psychological know-how to voter outreach. Although the “sins,” such as being “too cerebral,” are morally neutral, their corresponding values, such as empathy and decisiveness, resonate with voters who are driven by “survival instincts” and “anger, enthusiasm, and anxiety,” Wish says. President Donald Trump commits some of Wish’s “sins,” but his success is due to his ability to tap into his supporters’ emotions. The author’s psychological insights will appeal to political junkies as well as anyone in a leadership position. His analysis of “the science of first impressions,” in-depth breakdowns (with charts) of body posture and “power poses,” and emphasis on the importance of storytelling have wide applicability. A gendered analysis is noticeably missing, however, which is surprising given contemporary conversations about misogyny and the failed presidential bids of several women candidates, including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren. For example, how do men respond to women who deploy “power poses”? And more importantly, how can women candidates use contemporary psychology to break political glass ceilings?

An engaging, practical guide to the psychological dynamics of electoral politics.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5445-0729-3

Page Count: 314

Publisher: Lioncrest Publishing

Review Posted Online: April 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2020

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ELON MUSK

Alternately admiring and critical, unvarnished, and a closely detailed account of a troubled innovator.

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A warts-and-all portrait of the famed techno-entrepreneur—and the warts are nearly beyond counting.

To call Elon Musk (b. 1971) “mercurial” is to undervalue the term; to call him a genius is incorrect. Instead, Musk has a gift for leveraging the genius of others in order to make things work. When they don’t, writes eminent biographer Isaacson, it’s because the notoriously headstrong Musk is so sure of himself that he charges ahead against the advice of others: “He does not like to share power.” In this sharp-edged biography, the author likens Musk to an earlier biographical subject, Steve Jobs. Given Musk’s recent political turn, born of the me-first libertarianism of the very rich, however, Henry Ford also comes to mind. What emerges clearly is that Musk, who may or may not have Asperger’s syndrome (“Empathy did not come naturally”), has nurtured several obsessions for years, apart from a passion for the letter X as both a brand and personal name. He firmly believes that “all requirements should be treated as recommendations”; that it is his destiny to make humankind a multi-planetary civilization through innovations in space travel; that government is generally an impediment and that “the thought police are gaining power”; and that “a maniacal sense of urgency” should guide his businesses. That need for speed has led to undeniable successes in beating schedules and competitors, but it has also wrought disaster: One of the most telling anecdotes in the book concerns Musk’s “demon mode” order to relocate thousands of Twitter servers from Sacramento to Portland at breakneck speed, which trashed big parts of the system for months. To judge by Isaacson’s account, that may have been by design, for Musk’s idea of creative destruction seems to mean mostly chaos.

Alternately admiring and critical, unvarnished, and a closely detailed account of a troubled innovator.

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2023

ISBN: 9781982181284

Page Count: 688

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2023

MAGIC WORDS

WHAT TO SAY TO GET YOUR WAY

Perhaps not magic but appealing nonetheless.

Want to get ahead in business? Consult a dictionary.

By Wharton School professor Berger’s account, much of the art of persuasion lies in the art of choosing the right word. Want to jump ahead of others waiting in line to use a photocopy machine, even if they’re grizzled New Yorkers? Throw a because into the equation (“Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine, because I’m in a rush?”), and you’re likely to get your way. Want someone to do your copying for you? Then change your verbs to nouns: not “Can you help me?” but “Can you be a helper?” As Berger notes, there’s a subtle psychological shift at play when a person becomes not a mere instrument in helping but instead acquires an identity as a helper. It’s the little things, one supposes, and the author offers some interesting strategies that eager readers will want to try out. Instead of alienating a listener with the omniscient should, as in “You should do this,” try could instead: “Well, you could…” induces all concerned “to recognize that there might be other possibilities.” Berger’s counsel that one should use abstractions contradicts his admonition to use concrete language, and it doesn’t help matters to say that each is appropriate to a particular situation, while grammarians will wince at his suggestion that a nerve-calming exercise to “try talking to yourself in the third person (‘You can do it!’)” in fact invokes the second person. Still, there are plenty of useful insights, particularly for students of advertising and public speaking. It’s intriguing to note that appeals to God are less effective in securing a loan than a simple affirmative such as “I pay all bills…on time”), and it’s helpful to keep in mind that “the right words used at the right time can have immense power.”

Perhaps not magic but appealing nonetheless.

Pub Date: March 7, 2023

ISBN: 9780063204935

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Harper Business

Review Posted Online: March 23, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2023

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