A riveting insider account of how activists, politicians, educators and citizens are working to change minds, bridge divisions and save democracy The lifeblood of any free society is persuasion: changing other people’s minds to enable real change. But America is suffering a crisis of faith in persuasion that is putting its democracy and the planet itself at risk. People increasingly write each other off instead of seeking to win each other over.
Debates are framed in moralistic terms, with enemies battling the righteous. Movements for justice build barriers to entry, instead of on-ramps. Political parties focus on mobilizing the faithful rather than wooing the sceptical.
And leaders who seek to forge coalition are labelled sell-outs. In The Persuaders best-selling author Anand Giridharadas takes us inside these movements and battles, seeking out the dissenters who continue to champion persuasion in an age of polarization. We meet a co-founder of Black Lives Matter; a leader of the feminist resistance to Trumpism; white parents at a seminar on raising adopted children of colour; Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez; a team of door knockers with an uncanny formula for changing minds on immigration; and an ex-cult member turned QAnon deprogrammer.
As they grapple with how to “call out” threats and injustices while “calling in” those who don’t agree with them but just might one day, they point a way to healing, and changing, a broken society.