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“At its core, power is about altering the states of other people.” (page 27) That idea is linked to some of my favorite people like Stephen Colbert or the Saturday Night Live cast. Those entertainers are influencing our attitudes and perceptions and responses to current reality. People like Presidents Obama and Putin and members of Congress are legally controlling our realities.

I had a lot of problems with this book because it presents obvious contradictions and then asserts that I don’t understand, because I guess I don’t understand the paradox behind the cognitive dissonance. It’s some kind of doublethink. The author lived in a disenfranchised neighborhood during his high-school years and found the people to have the traits of underclass people. But, the traits he describes are contradictions, such as these people were kind, open-hearted, with an open door, come to supper with us on one page and close-minded, alcoholics, agoraphobic and secretive, angry, physically combative people a few pages later. Whereas successful people he claims were lying, cheating, destructive people who rose to positions of power because they appeared to be aware of their power and pretended to be humble, friendly and helpful towards others, and respectful too, but they were in fact hypocrites. He then covers over the contradictions by calling it a paradox. … which I am too dumb to understand.

Being a scientist at UC Berkeley, he must be held to some standards of objective scientific method, but his experiments were on small numbers of people, mostly students under artificial conditions. The experiments may be pointers to some newer and better ideas, but I was disappointed with this book, and don’t want to waste any more time on it, even writing this brief review. If you want some sound research and operating principles read Good to Great by Jim Collins.

The book The Power Paradox was too paradoxical for me.