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I'm Right and You're an Idiot by James Hoggan  RSS feed

 
Lorenzo Costa
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Source: New Society Publishers



Publisher: New Society Publishers



Summary

The most pressing environmental problem we face today is not climate change. It is pollution in the public square, where a smog of adversarial rhetoric, propaganda and polarization stifles discussion and debate, creating resistance to change and thwarting our ability to solve our collective problems.

In I'm Right and You're an Idiot, author and David Suzuki Foundation chair James Hoggan grapples with this critical issue, conducting interviews with outstanding thinkers from the Himalaya to the House of Lords. Drawing on the wisdom of such notables as Thich Nhat Hanh, Noam Chomsky, and the Dalai Lama, his comprehensive analysis explores:

  • How trust is undermined and misinformation thrives in today's public dialogue
  • Why facts alone fail — the manipulation of language and the silencing of dissent
  • The importance of reframing our arguments with empathy and values to create compelling narratives and spur action.


  • Our species' greatest survival strategy has always been foresight and the ability to leverage our intelligence to overcome adversity. For too long now this capacity has been threatened by the sorry state of our public discourse. Focusing on proven techniques to foster more powerful and effective communication, I'm Right and You're an Idiot will appeal to readers looking for both deep insights and practical advice.
    (From the publishers page)



    Where to get it?

    New Society Publishers

    Amazon.com

    Amazon.ca

    Amazon.co.uk



    Related Videos





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    Be nice thread



    Related Websites

    James Hoggans's website


     
    Thekla McDaniels
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    I just got notice that a book has been published. I don't know how come they notified me, but it looks like a great book. Also, it's on sale for a couple of weeks!

    I requested my local library purchase it for their collection, not because I don't plan to buy it, but because I want others to see it and check it out. Last time I suggested a book being discussed here on Permies, the library thanked me for the suggestion, saying they don't have the resources to know every book being published, so they appreciate suggestions that are of general and current interest that may not be presented to them through the major publishers info.

    Here is the notification I received:

    "I’m Right and You’re an Idiot became available.

    You can now order online at:

    http://newsociety.com/Books/I/I-m-Right-and-You-re-an-Idiot

    During checkout please enter the coupon code shown below to get your 20% pre-order discount. The discount is available for online orders until 20 May 2016.
    Coupon Code: RIGHT-16

    NOTE: If you have contacted us from outside North America, we regret that we cannot fulfill individual hard copy book orders for you. We do have distributors in the UK and in Australia and of course Amazon is another option for you...the books should be at overseas locations in approximately 6 weeks. But...we are now offering our books in ebook format on our website. "

    AND, here is the description at the publishers web site:

    "I'm Right and You're an Idiot

    The Toxic State of Public Discourse and How to Clean it Up

    by James Hoggan


    The most pressing environmental problem we face today is not climate change. It is pollution in the public square, where a smog of adversarial rhetoric, propaganda and polarization stifles discussion and debate, creating resistance to change and thwarting our ability to solve our collective problems.

    In I'm Right and You're an Idiot, author and David Suzuki Foundation chair James Hoggan grapples with this critical issue, conducting interviews with outstanding thinkers from the Himalaya to the House of Lords. Drawing on the wisdom of such notables as Thich Nhat Hanh, Noam Chomsky, and the Dalai Lama, his comprehensive analysis explores:

    How trust is undermined and misinformation thrives in today's public dialogue
    Why facts alone fail — the manipulation of language and the silencing of dissent
    The importance of reframing our arguments with empathy and values to create compelling narratives and spur action.
    Our species' greatest survival strategy has always been foresight and the ability to leverage our intelligence to overcome adversity. For too long now this capacity has been threatened by the sorry state of our public discourse. Focusing on proven techniques to foster more powerful and effective communication, I'm Right and You're an Idiot will appeal to readers looking for both deep insights and practical advice."
     
    Terry Ruth
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    I just purchased the e-book and read the Prologue. Looks like a great book. I like the story about the town square oak tree that survived a bombing in Spain. Getting ready to start Part 1. Anyone else reading want to compare notes and discuss? Is this the right thread for that?
     
    Burra Maluca
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    Terry Ruth wrote: Getting ready to start Part 1. Anyone else reading want to compare notes and discuss? Is this the right thread for that?


    I'm preparing a review, and we're hopefully starting a promotion very, very soon.  So get your ideas ready and we start lots of discussions - look out for the welcome thread!

     
    Burra Maluca
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    I give this book 9 out of 10 acorns

    From the vantage point of my position as Mother Tree looking over the permies.com discussion board, I get to see first-hand the problems that arise as different people, with different backgrounds, different cultures, different viewpoints and different ways of thinking and communicating come together to try to discuss ways to make the world a better place.  Over many years the owner of this site, Paul Wheaton, has crafted rules to try to make the discussion that happens here more constructive.  I tend to do things more intuitively, but somehow I tend to come to the same moderating decisions as Paul about 95% of the time, so eventually he decided to leave most of the decisions to me so he could go off and do other things.  I never really felt qualified for the role, but I felt it was an important one so I stepped up and do my best to smoothe things over where needed, scold members when necessary, remove posts that don't meed our publishing standards, and basically do whatever I can, however inadequately, to generate productive discussion. 

    Last year I browsed the New Society Publisher's book catalogue and spotted the intriguing title of I'm Right and You're an Idiot: The Toxic State of Public Discourse and How to Clean it Up by James Hoggan.  It's not often that a book title stops me in my tracks, but this one pushed all my buttons.  The "I'm Right and You're an Idiot" bit was so very typical of the sort of statement that we jump on when we see it at permies, heralding as it does the end of any useful discussion and the start of pointless, heated debate which does nothing but drive away anyone who was actually hoping to find something useful to read, that it triggered all my moderating instincts.  And then the bit about the toxic state of public discourse made me realise that permies.com is not the only place that suffers from such things and that maybe someone had finally studied the subject and written something that could help me make my moderating decisions. 

    James Hoggan summarises the problem beautifully.

    "Our public squares should be forums for open and honest, higher-quality debate, but sadly, these meeting places have become polluted by a toxic mix of polarized rhetoric, propaganda and miscommunication. A dark haze of unyielding one-sidedness has poisoned public discourse and created an atmosphere of mistrust and disinterest."

    Of course, if he'd written that on permies we'd have pulled him up as we don't allow any member to tell others what they 'should' do, and we only allow discussion, not debate.  But even so...

    In fact, he himself seems to have noticed that

    "when we use dialogue rather than debate we gain completely different insights into the ways people see the world ... in debate we assume we have the right answer, whereas dialogue assumes we all have pieces of the answer and can craft a solution together." So maybe he'd forgive me if I moderated him.

    This quote really struck a chord with me as it seems to reflect exactly what we're trying to achieve with the moderation here.

    1.We cannot solve the really tough problems by working only on our little piece.
    2.We cannot transform large systems by working only with people we like, with our friends and colleagues.
    3.We must learn to work with strangers and opponents, people we don’t know or trust or agree with. Without this simple awareness we will have gridlock.


    Of course, that cannot be achieved through moderation alone, and for anyone with an interest in communicating effectively to solve problems, I would strongly urge them to read this book, think deeply on the ideas presented, and find ways to incorporate those ideas into whatever mode of communication they use. 

    The book is divided into two sections.  In his James' own words,

    Part I: The Polluted Public Square explains how we create toxic dialogue and how we might turn down the noise and open up the space needed for healthy conversations. It looks at barriers to change, what blocks healthy public discourse  and  some of the main sources of the pollution.  We see how the advocacy that is needed to draw attention to these issues can become a combative, polarized debate that often drives us into gridlock and shoving  matches; how a mistaken confidence in the power of facts leads to narrative failure; and how propaganda can destroy public discussion and eradicate understanding.

    Part  II:  Speak the Truth But Not to Punish investigates  how we can have more constructive conversations. This section describes how we can change our style of public communication and improve human relations.  We learn about the latest techniques of conflict resolution, gain insights into the power of moral narrative and realize how educating the heart can bring about deeper awareness and understanding.


    The book itself is presented as twenty two short chapters, each based on an interview with outstanding thinkers "from the Himalaya to the House of Lords - drawing on the wisdom of such notables as Thich Nhat Hanh, Noam Chomsky, and the Dalai Lama."  That's a pretty impressive list by anyone's standards. Each of those chapters, although short, is profoundly thought provoking and worthy of its own discussion.  I hope that many of you who are reading this will be inspired to read this book and join in discussions about it, putting what you learn into practice, advancing the art of communication, and learning to solve the world's problems and make it a better place.

    To sum up, here's another quote. 

    "We need to treat the public square with great respect, as the sacred  place that it is, and if we seek change we should learn to use speech for its highest purpose - moral discourse. We have no right to do otherwise."

    He's quite right, but I do wish he'd stop saying should...


    Here's a list of the contents, complete with the names of the interviewees.

    Part I: The Polluted Public Square

    a: Smashing Heads Doesn’t Open Minds
    Like Ships In the Night with Daniel Yankelovich
    The Advocacy Trap with Roger Conner
    Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me) with Carol Tavris
    Morality Binds and Blinds with Jonathan Haidt
    Why We Want To Be Misled with Dan Kahan

    b: A Failure To Communicate
    Facts Are Not Enough with George Lakoff
    Matters of Concern with Bruno Latour

    c: Duped and How
    The Self-Regulating Psychopath with Joel Bakan and Noam Chomsky
    A Case Study: Foreign-Funded Radicals
    Assault On Democracy with Alex Himelfarb
    Silencing the Voices of Others with Jason Stanley
    Gaslighting Blurs Our Reality with Bryant Welch
    Summary: The Polluted Public Square

    Part II: Speak the Truth, But Not to Punish

    d: Leaning Into the Future
    Power and Love with Adam Kahane
    No Fish? No Fish Sticks with Peter Senge
    Listen Deeply with Otto Scharmer and Anne Giardini

    e: The Mighty Tool of Public Narrative
    The Myth of Apathy with Renee Lertzman
    Psychic Numbing with Paul  Slovic
    Sometimes David Wins with Marshall Ganz

    f: From the Heart
    The Golden Rule with Karen Armstrong and Joan Halifax
    Speak the Truth, But Not to Punish with Thich Nhat Hanh
    We Need Warmheartedness with The 14th Dalai Lama
     
    Nina Jay
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    Burra Maluca wrote:
    Over many years the owner of this site, Paul Wheaton, has crafted rules to try to make the discussion that happens here more constructive.  I tend to do things more intuitively, but somehow I tend to come to the same moderating decisions as Paul about 95% of the time, so eventually he decided to leave most of the decisions to me so he could go off and do other things.  I never really felt qualified for the role, but I felt it was an important one so I stepped up and do my best to smoothe things over where needed, scold members when necessary, remove posts that don't meed our publishing standards, and basically do whatever I can, however inadequately, to generate productive discussion. 



    I hope you realize how much your work is appreciated and how important it is! Both of you are doing much more than just moderating. You are giving people hands on education on how to discuss constructively. There are not many places in the world where one can get this kind of education - for free! Knowing how to generate productive discussion is a rare skill but now millions of people can acquire it if they want to. The rules that Paul made are really helpful because even though many people probably have some intuitive idea about what being nice is, it can all be pretty vague in our heads and we get lost if the discussion begins to heat up.

    I like to think I wasn't too bad at discussing before I came to Permies forums but I've learned so much here and I continue to learn all the time. Permies.com feels like a gold mine to me, there are so many opportunities to learn how to be nicer and spread the niceness, ie. help create a harmonious community where everyone feels accepted.

    So thank you!
     
    James Hoggan
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    Location: Vancouver, British Columbia
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    Hey I'm the (tech challenged) author. Thanks to Burra Maluca for reminding me of the dangers of the word "should". Ironically it is one of the lessons in the book Peter Senge that people don't like being told what to think.
     
    Terry Ruth
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    Great book James. I don’t have a big impressive vocabulary nor am I a good writer, so excuse the straight talk and hopefully my intentions will be read properly. I deal and value mostly facts and data, educated opinions by the qualified.

    I been a technical advisor for around 20 years on several forums, including corporate Aerospace (I current work as a consultant), Auto, Powersports, now Building Architectural Design/Land Developer we have a small father/son Design_Build company. I’m currently designing aircraft turbine engine structures with other pros on a multicultural “global” consultant design team that communicates extremely well to accomplish very expensive large designs. Not once in my over thirty years can I recall words getting in the way of progress. We have much bigger issues or fish to fry. The atmosphere is professional and we all talk the same value added technical language, or a universal truth backed by decades of facts that governs how we conduct ourselves. There are new efforts in place to make the engineering data and English easier to read for multi-lingual team members, as the corporate leaders lead to a Global Economy_Market Share I don’t completely agree with.

    I mention all that for qualifications to offer some constructive observations based on education and experience, not that I claim to be an expert in communications. On the contrary, I humbly recognize the challenges here in this medium.

    Here is a pie chart large fortune 500 companies I work for are now referring to as the “issues with electronic communications” (instant messaging, text, electronic sign-off, etc.) or a lack of human interactions that has gone to the way side.   Professor Albert Mehrabian says, “Communication consist of three components. That is 7% words (the internet and forums falls into), 55% tone of voice and 38% body language”. I believe that to be accurate and from a reliable credible source.

    Thanks to Burra Maluca for reminding me of the dangers of the word "should". Ironically it is one of the lessons in the book Peter Senge that people don't like being told what to think.


    Your book is a supporter of data do you have any to support this? Or are you buying into tribal knowledge? Keep the word in your book IMO. I believe it all depends on the context (tone, body language) it is used in you will not find here on the internet. I’d like to see some quantified data in the 7% populous noted above it does to forum communications across the globe. I think you’ll find the majority of websites are based in tribal knowledge lacking supportive data as such. In the name of “Global” Permaculture for one, I doubt people stop using the word as they see fit and many already practicing it I have read about do not have their “own dictionary”. Yes, it is a double standard to “people don't like being told what to think” including the free use of the word “should”, along with “truth” there are universal truths like it or not. Enough of that, it is not doing anything on a large scale really; the practitioners know what words to use depending on the audience.

    I’m on page 13 reading slow, ironically one can see what happens on forums as evidence of tribal knowledge, people here contributing to a discussion without having the proper education and credentials, as seen by some that have not purchased your book, for one example, and many more all over the internet.

    What you’ll find on forums is little fact based discussion and lots of opinions by non-qualified people your book discusses. With the internet came knowledge, that in some minds have replaced by goggle search the need for education and experience. Nowadays, some are fooled into thinking, all one needs is a website and they are an expert when in fact all that website did is empowered people to communicate, not make a self-proclaimed expert of the site owner(s) or mods, or anyone, many of which do not have the qualifications in communications, especially this limited value type, more less, the stand alone technical expertise many requiring professional teams. So we need a good book for internet forum communications since most of this book points to human interaction, politics, and professionals.

    If Permies.com is looking for better ways to “Protect itself from propaganda, polarization, and failed communications”, and it can take constructive criticism, I’d suggest for one stop the name calling (e.g.: “corporate trolls”, “cheese heads”, self-labeled experts that do not have the credentials, etc.)

    Take a look at this thread especially towards the end, you’ll find examples in, little permaculture in practice by practitioners, too much emphasis of words and semantics, name calling and labels, long drawn out twisted theory, etc…validating the OP.
    http://www.permies.com/t/57412/permaculture/permaculture

    Today I called big city political officials let them know they “should” check out the tiny home and micro eco-communities developments since in practice it is solving a lot of their problems denoted in their 2035 Community Development Plan in a way much of permaculture hangs its hat on or attempts to practice.

    These practical examples is what they were receptive too, my word choice had no negative connotation at all. This is “My Permaculture” and the society I create can use any word they see fit. 

    Permie.com tribal knowledge specific: It would be interesting to quantify the ones with the most apples & plus ones (a metric permie.com gives for quality),  to look into their backgrounds, see their resumes, credentials; see the practical contributions they have made to develop Permaculture in these examples as post and threads they advise in. Perhaps one would uncover the “trolls” if one wished to create names aiding tribal knowledge and find these are not the ones to pollinate an accurate fact based website. Yes, a book on internet forums is long overdue, it can be quantified. IMO just as bad as media only since the impacts are not as large, less damaging.

    This is not the only site reaching out to books like this for answers. Of course there are many more that want to succeed in its communications style to better promote themselves and sponsors. Knowing where the over/under mod boundaries are and quality is key and there is a ton of info out there about forum management. I believe based on what I’ve read quality accurate info is becoming a real issue, not word choice. IMO this one is over the top and not focused on the practitioner’s with proof of accomplishments or large impacts to develop permaculture accurately.

    Just my .02 take it or leave it, and hope I did not offend anyone that is not my intentions.






    Communication.PNG
    [Thumbnail for Communication.PNG]
     
    James Hoggan
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    Terry Ruth wrote:Great book James. I don’t have a big impressive vocabulary nor am I a good writer, so excuse the straight talk and hopefully my intentions will be read properly. I deal and value mostly facts and data, educated opinions by the qualified.

    I been a technical advisor for around 20 years on several forums, including corporate Aerospace (I current work as a consultant), Auto, Powersports, now Building Architectural Design/Land Developer we have a small father/son Design_Build company. I’m currently designing aircraft turbine engine structures with other pros on a multicultural “global” consultant design team that communicates extremely well to accomplish very expensive large designs. Not once in my over thirty years can I recall words getting in the way of progress. We have much bigger issues or fish to fry. The atmosphere is professional and we all talk the same value added technical language, or a universal truth backed by decades of facts that governs how we conduct ourselves. There are new efforts in place to make the engineering data and English easier to read for multi-lingual team members, as the corporate leaders lead to a Global Economy_Market Share I don’t completely agree with.

    I mention all that for qualifications to offer some constructive observations based on education and experience, not that I claim to be an expert in communications. On the contrary, I humbly recognize the challenges here in this medium.

    Here is a pie chart large fortune 500 companies I work for are now referring to as the “issues with electronic communications” (instant messaging, text, electronic sign-off, etc.) or a lack of human interactions that has gone to the way side.   Professor Albert Mehrabian says, “Communication consist of three components. That is 7% words (the internet and forums falls into), 55% tone of voice and 38% body language”. I believe that to be accurate and from a reliable credible source.

    Thanks to Burra Maluca for reminding me of the dangers of the word "should". Ironically it is one of the lessons in the book Peter Senge that people don't like being told what to think.


    Your book is a supporter of data do you have any to support this? Or are you buying into tribal knowledge? Keep the word in your book IMO. I believe it all depends on the context (tone, body language) it is used in you will not find here on the internet. I’d like to see some quantified data in the 7% populous noted above it does to forum communications across the globe. I think you’ll find the majority of websites are based in tribal knowledge lacking supportive data as such. In the name of “Global” Permaculture for one, I doubt people stop using the word as they see fit and many already practicing it I have read about do not have their “own dictionary”. Yes, it is a double standard to “people don't like being told what to think” including the free use of the word “should”, along with “truth” there are universal truths like it or not. Enough of that, it is not doing anything on a large scale really; the practitioners know what words to use depending on the audience.

    I’m on page 13 reading slow, ironically one can see what happens on forums as evidence of tribal knowledge, people here contributing to a discussion without having the proper education and credentials, as seen by some that have not purchased your book, for one example, and many more all over the internet.

    What you’ll find on forums is little fact based discussion and lots of opinions by non-qualified people your book discusses. With the internet came knowledge, that in some minds have replaced by goggle search the need for education and experience. Nowadays, some are fooled into thinking, all one needs is a website and they are an expert when in fact all that website did is empowered people to communicate, not make a self-proclaimed expert of the site owner(s) or mods, or anyone, many of which do not have the qualifications in communications, especially this limited value type, more less, the stand alone technical expertise many requiring professional teams. So we need a good book for internet forum communications since most of this book points to human interaction, politics, and professionals.

    If Permies.com is looking for better ways to “Protect itself from propaganda, polarization, and failed communications”, and it can take constructive criticism, I’d suggest for one stop the name calling (e.g.: “corporate trolls”, “cheese heads”, self-labeled experts that do not have the credentials, etc.)

    Take a look at this thread especially towards the end, you’ll find examples in, little permaculture in practice by practitioners, too much emphasis of words and semantics, name calling and labels, long drawn out twisted theory, etc…validating the OP.
    http://www.permies.com/t/57412/permaculture/permaculture

    Today I called big city political officials let them know they “should” check out the tiny home and micro eco-communities developments since in practice it is solving a lot of their problems denoted in their 2035 Community Development Plan in a way much of permaculture hangs its hat on or attempts to practice.

    These practical examples is what they were receptive too, my word choice had no negative connotation at all. This is “My Permaculture” and the society I create can use any word they see fit. 

    Permie.com tribal knowledge specific: It would be interesting to quantify the ones with the most apples & plus ones (a metric permie.com gives for quality),  to look into their backgrounds, see their resumes, credentials; see the practical contributions they have made to develop Permaculture in these examples as post and threads they advise in. Perhaps one would uncover the “trolls” if one wished to create names aiding tribal knowledge and find these are not the ones to pollinate an accurate fact based website. Yes, a book on internet forums is long overdue, it can be quantified. IMO just as bad as media only since the impacts are not as large, less damaging.

    This is not the only site reaching out to books like this for answers. Of course there are many more that want to succeed in its communications style to better promote themselves and sponsors. Knowing where the over/under mod boundaries are and quality is key and there is a ton of info out there about forum management. I believe based on what I’ve read quality accurate info is becoming a real issue, not word choice. IMO this one is over the top and not focused on the practitioner’s with proof of accomplishments or large impacts to develop permaculture accurately.

    Just my .02 take it or leave it, and hope I did not offend anyone that is not my intentions.


    Terry, I don't have any data on the breakdown of how we communicate. I bet it exists. I think the communication environment in professional groups or at universities is different than public discourse where we have high levels of mistrust and polarization. Public speech is delivered and received on multiple levels, cultural, emotional and moral content have more influence on persuasion than information.
     
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