My goal was to post once a week. A week went by and then another and then … I almost gave up before I got started. In forcing myself to post something, I realized I read may books. some of these books may interest others. So I have decided as I finish a book this tear to jot down some of my ideas. If you read or have read the book I talk about, I’d love your thoughts.
This was the first book I have finished this year. The Righteous Mind is one of the most important books you may read. Haidt’s understanding of human morality and the science of communication and decision making are weaved together into an interesting read that allows the reader to understand how and why people react the way they do.
In our culture today, we struggle to communicate with people that come at life differently than we do, even members of our family and friends. When subjects like politics, religion and conspiracy theories are discussed we often are only heard by our self. There is seldom resolution and the other side is never convinced of our view.
I like to think that I am well-read and look at life through a lens of pragmatic logic. You can probably imagine how frustrated I have felt when I was consistently unable to win arguments with people who are more conservative in their politics and views. I had almost given up when I found this book. Haidt laid out his ideas in a simple manner with plenty of details to back up his thoughts. His ideas have allowed me to begin to see merit and positive things in other ideas.
One of the foundational pieces discussed in the book is the fact that we, as humans, make decisions in the parts of our brain that aren’t subject to critical thinking. If you want to sway someone’s opinion, Haidt suggests, you must first appeal to the emotional part of their brain or “why they feel the way they do.” As I reflected on this piece, I realized other people aren’t quite as crazy as I thought, they just have different experiences than I do.
This has allowed me to view the world in completely different ways and I feel that I can actually empathize with others in ways that I couldn’t before. I would recommend this book to any leader who has people from more than one context. I would recommend this book to leaders in any field. -Ron