The Influential Mind: A book review by Bob Morris

The Influential Mind: What the Brain Reveals About Our Power to Change Others
Tali Sharot
Henry Holt and Company (September 2017)

“The underlying assumption of this book is that your brain makes you who you are.”

Many people people may disagree with that assumption but I am among those who believe that the mind is what the brain does. As the subtitle of this book suggests, Tali Sharot is intrigued by what the brain reveals about our power to change others. “If you know [and understand] what causes people to react the way they do, you will have the tools to solve the specific challenges you encounter in your own life every day.”

These are the passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Sharot’s coverage:

o Prior beliefs and data (Pages 11-34)
o Influence and emotion (35-54)
o Brain synchronization and emotion (39-54)
o Marshmallow Study (72-76)
o The power of agency (79-103)
o Empower for Influence (84-87)
o Choice (87-90)
o State of mind and influence (129-147)
o Other people and biases (149-171 and 173-196)
o Brain biases (185-189 and 190-191)
o Transmitting signals from one brain to the other (199-208)

In one of his classic works, Rhetoric, Aristotle examines what have since been characterized as the four levels of discourse: exposition (explain with information), description (make vivid with compelling images), narration (tell a story with a plot or explain a sequence), and argumentation (to convince with logic and/or evidence). As I worked my way through Sharot brilliant book, I realized that the most highly developed influential mind is one that can have the greatest impact on any of the four levels, that it can influence another’s mind, heart, or both.

I am deeply grateful to Tali Sharot for the abundance of information, insights, and counsel she provides in The Influential Mind. This material has helped me to gain a much better understanding how to influence others more effectively as well as how others can most effectively influence me.



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