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Keltner argues that our culture's understanding of power causes us to mishandle the power paradox.
Our understanding of power was shaped by Niccolò Machiavelli's sixteenth-century book The Prince, but it is outdated today. Today, a different kind of power governs the modern world. It's softer, more relational, predicated on reputation, not force, measured by an ability to affect others positively and shift the world.
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Even if power is gained by kindness, generosity, and concern for the common good, power itself will eventually warp priorities and become less kind, less generous, and less concerned with the common good, which will erode her power.
For example, poor people give a greater percentage of thei...
Thoreau wrote, "There are many fine things which we cannot say if we have to shout." Yet, a century and a half later, we've created a culture that equates loudness with leadership and abrasiveness with authority.
Keltner adds to Thoreau's wisdom that a new wave of thinking about p...
Power in the modern world is "gained and maintained through a focus on others."
However, the more powerful a person becomes, the busier and more rushed they become, causing them to become less kind and generous.
It could be that a scarcity of time rather than an excess of power is th...
Keltner offers elegant and necessary definitions of the distinct ideas comprising the constellation of power in modern society:
Psychologist Dacher Keltner writes that at the heart of power is a troubling paradox:
"We rise in power and make a difference in the world due to what is best about human nature, but we fall from power due to what is worst. We gain a capacity to make a difference in the world by enhanci...
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