Here’s a short Q&A with Samira Shackle of the New Humanist: ‘It would be good if we could learn to listen to reason again.’ Here’s a bit from it (I got the words ‘dick measuring’ in, so obviously I’m very happy).
What’s the overall effect on society of the dominance of “the persuaders”?
I hate it when an author tells you the world is falling apart because of a single thing that happens to be the subject of their book, but I really do think we’re in the middle of a revolution in persuasion, a shift away from giving reasons to something that operates outside reason. As a result, we’re starting to lose the ability to argue, as a culture. Listen to Prime Minister’s Questions or the literal dick measuring going on in debates between Republican presidential candidates. The ability to argue, to think critically, spot fallacies and work together towards the truth is a kind of intellectual self-defence at the heart of democracy. If we lose that, we lose what it protects. We’re also less able to get along with one another if all we can do is shout back and forth. Modern persuasion undermines not just democracy, but our chances of living happy lives in a peaceful, interconnected world. It would be good if we could learn to listen to reason again. A lot hangs on it.
Here’s an interview on The Hidden Persuasion Industry with Roger Dooley on his Brainfluence Podcast. There’s some interesting back and forth about the ethics of influence and persuasion in the marketplace.
Interview for BBC Mundo, in Spanish. We talked about metaphor and the thoughts you might be led into if you think about a “war” on drugs.
‘Fierce and timely.’ Read the review in The Daily Mail here.
‘A boisterous dissection of the forces jellifying our minds’ Read the review in The Sunday Times
‘Garvey doesn’t pull any punches … It’s hard to stop reading.’ Read the review in the New Scientist here.
‘The author worries, rightly, that in losing the ability to argue and question intelligently we become more susceptible to the subtle and unseen skills of powerful persuaders.’ Read the review in the FT.
Read the interview in The Sunday Times in which you are invited to think of me ‘as the love child of Kirstie Allsopp and Derren Brown.’ (I told you these were the Last Days — good interview though, about persuasion and selling a home.)
‘”Neuromarketing” claims to make us shop but is it a decent thing to do?’ Read the extract from the book in The Independent.
Here’s a review of The Persuaders in The New Scientist: “The Persuaders: How we let the PR industry control our minds”. The book isn’t entirely about PR — in fact that’s only a chapter — but I’m all in favour of the reviewer’s tilt in that direction. And her suggestion that some of the anecdotes in the book are scandalous. Just some? I wasn’t trying hard enough.
I’m talking about persuasion at the Brainwash Festival this weekend at The Hague. Details here.
Here’s a review of The Persuaders in the Financial Times. The reviewer is right to open the piece with a consideration of the crowds cheering Donald Trump and tie that in with some of the topics in the book. He wraps it up nicely:
The author worries, rightly, that in losing the ability to argue and question intelligently we become more susceptible to the subtle and unseen skills of powerful persuaders. We could all fall prey to fallacies, sophistry and demagoguery . . . any day now.