The Persuaders

The Persuaders

Winning Hearts and Minds in a Divided Age

Summary

A riveting insider account of how activists, politicians, educators and citizens are working to change minds, bridge divisions and save democracy

The lifeblood of any free society is persuasion: changing other people's minds to enable real change. But America is suffering a crisis of faith in persuasion that is putting its democracy and the planet itself at risk. People increasingly write each other off instead of seeking to win each other over. Debates are framed in moralistic terms, with enemies battling the righteous. Movements for justice build barriers to entry, instead of on-ramps. Political parties focus on mobilizing the faithful rather than wooing the sceptical. And leaders who seek to forge coalition are labelled sell-outs.

In The Persuaders best-selling author Anand Giridharadas takes us inside these movements and battles, seeking out the dissenters who continue to champion persuasion in an age of polarization. We meet a co-founder of Black Lives Matter; a leader of the feminist resistance to Trumpism; white parents at a seminar on raising adopted children of colour; Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez; a team of door knockers with an uncanny formula for changing minds on immigration; and an ex-cult member turned QAnon deprogrammer.

As they grapple with how to "call out" threats and injustices while "calling in" those who don't agree with them but just might one day, they point a way to healing, and changing, a broken society.

Reviews

  • Giridharadas has already established himself as a major chronicler of one of our great divides - the disparities of income and opportunity that undergird American plutocracy. Now he turns his attention to another kind of gulf, one that's just as endemic and dangerous: ideology. It's one thing to diagnose and quite another to offer real solutions, but in this wide-ranging and profound book, Giridharadas explores real strategies for bridging these divides by finding a language in which we can speak to one another, and persuade. Reading The Persuaders I felt something I hadn't in quite a while: a tremor of hope
    Patrick Radden Keefe, author of Empire of Pain

About the author

Anand Giridharadas

Anand Giridharadas is the bestselling author of Winners Take All. He is a correspondent-at-large for Time and was a foreign correspondent and columnist for The New York Times. He has also written for The Atlantic, The New Republic, and The New Yorker. He is an on-air political analyst for MSNBC. He has received the 800-CEO-READ Business Book of the Year award, Harvard University's Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award for Humanism in Culture, and the New York Public Library's Helen Bernstein Award.
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