Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Messengers: Who We Listen To, Who We Don't, and Why (Stephen Martin and Joseph Marks)

Messengers by Stephen Martin and Joseph Marks makes the argument that we often are basing our opinions and decision-making not by the facts being argued but by whom is doing the persuading.  These "messengers" are influencers within business, politics, and our broader way of life, and we arguably live in an Instagram Influencer world.

Martin and Marks do a very thorough job exposing the traits that create these powerful messengers. Dominance, trustworthiness, warmth, and socioeconomic positions are four of the traits and characteristics that are given extensive discussion. The reader learns how and why one video may get many more views than another, how one person's tweet may get a lot more traction compared to someone else’s, and how political candidates are perceived by the public at large.  Some of these reasons, regardless of truth, are pretty sobering.

Understanding these traits and the associated reasons for people thinking and acting the way they do is important. What this book lacks is coming up with steps to deflate the messenger’s influence and how we can better arm ourselves against being swayed by that tweet in the echo chamber, that piece of fake or questionable news, or that click-bait headline. However, Messengers is a good study of our psychology and, for anyone in a position of leadership, a book that is worth a read.