It’s “much safer to be feared than loved.” So wrote Niccolò Machiavelli in The Prince,his seminal treatise on power. Many centuries later, we still see this idea in our culture – in cyber bullying and blustering politicians, in abusive CEOS and in television’s antiheros. We tend to equate power with strength, and popularity with Mean Girls.
But Dacher Keltner, a psychologist at UC Berkeley, wants to challenge this notion that powerful people are all Machiavellian sociopaths. In his book, The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence, Keltner argues that it is those who display kindness, altruism, and social intelligence who rise in social power – from the US Senate right down to the middle school locker room.
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