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Changing Minds: The Art and Science of Changing Our Own and Other People's Minds

Howard Gardner

Retail Price: $28.95
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Format: Hardcover, 288pp.
ISBN: 9781578517091
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Pub. Date: March 2004

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Description and Reviews
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What Does It Take to Change a Mind?

Think about the last time you tried to change someone’s mind about something important: a voter’s political beliefs; a customer’s favorite brand; a spouse’s decorating taste; a teenager’s attitude toward schoolwork. Chances are you weren’t successful in shifting that person’s beliefs in a significant way. For an endeavor so commonly mentioned and frequently attempted, why is the phenomenon of changing minds so mysterious? How do people become set on a certain way of thinking? And what, exactly, does it take to change that perspective?

In this groundbreaking book, world-renowned Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner offers surprising insights on this fascinating puzzle—insights that could change the way we interact with others at work, at home, and in every aspect of our lives. Gardner, whose work over the last thirty years has revolutionized our thinking about intelligence, creativity, and leadership, now suggests that traditional thinking about mind change as a sudden "epiphany" is entirely wrong. Instead, Gardner shows, we change our minds gradually, in identifiable ways that can be actively and powerfully influenced.

Drawing on decades of cognitive research, Gardner identifies seven levers that aid or thwart the process of mind change, including reason, research, real-world events, and resistances. Changing Minds provides an original framework—illustrated with famous and ordinary examples of "change agents" in politics, business, science, the arts, and everyday life—that shows how individuals can align these levers to bring about significant changes in perspective and behavior. From Margaret Thatcher’s reorientation of Great Britain to Sir John Browne’s transformation of BP to Charles Darwin’s evolutionary revolution to interactions between spouses or friends to decisions to change one’s own mind, Gardner uncovers surprising similarities and instructive differences among the factors that affect mind change in a variety of settings.

Demystifying a phenomenon that permeates human behavior, Changing Minds provides insights that can broaden our horizons and improve our lives.

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About the Author

Howard Gardner is the John H. and Elisabeth A. Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Senior Director of Harvard Project Zero. The recipient of a MacArthur Prize Fellowship and twenty honorary degrees, he is the author of more than twenty books.

Table of Contents
About the Author
1The Contents of the Mind
2The Forms of the Mind
3The Power of Early Theories
Leading a Diverse Population
4Leading an Institution: How to Deal with a Uniform Population
5The Creative Geniuses Change Minds Indirectly-Through Science, Scholarly Breakthroughs, and Works of Art
6Mind Changing in a Formal Setting
7Mind Changing Up Close
8Changing One's Own Mind
9Epilogue: The Future of Mind Changing

Customer Reviews
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Tough topic presented in a useful way December 28, 2006
Reviewer: Stuart Morley from Outside Toronto, Canada

As an avid reader of business books, this was a little off course for me. However, I could not put the book down. Although it is written with more of a general audience in mind, the examples are very useful in my professional speaking and consulting work on changing the mind of the customer and non customer.

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