Whether you want to stop climate change, leave or stay in the EU, persuade someone to buy something, or get your own way about where to go on holiday, you will at some point want to change someone else’s mind. Eleanor Gordon-Smith, a philosopher and journalist, digs into what really makes someone alter their opinion. You won’t be surprised that the answer is not an ever-increasing amount of rational argument.
In six stories, she unlocks the sometimes complex mental machinations that result in individuals reappraising what had previously been deeply held beliefs. This is not a manual for marketers to pick up slick new strategies, rather a series of insights into the human condition and a reminder of the sunk cost in our working assumptions and how much it can take to change them – if indeed that is even possible.
The stories cover varied territory, from the sexual politics of male catcalling to the adherence to a cult, the impact of a TV reality show, the threat to a long-term relationship of previously unknown behaviour, false memory syndrome and withheld adoption notification. The author’s journalistic skills are brought to bear in unearthing the tricky admissions that provide a depth of understanding to the trauma of a strongly held view being overturned.
Stop being Reasonable by Eleanor Gordon-Smith is published by Scribe and sells for £21.30 hardback, £10.47 paperback and £8.98 e-book.