A fascinating exploration of the powerful forces that shape who we choose to listen to and believe, why talented and qualified people are ignored, and how these "messengers" influence society.
We live in a world where proven facts and verifiable data are freely and widely available. Why, then, are self-confident ignoramuses so often believed over thoughtful experts? And why do details such as a person's height, relative wealth, or Facebook photo influence whether or not we trust what they are saying?
In this revelatory book, Stephen Martin and Joseph Marks explain how in our uncertain and ambiguous world, the messenger is the message. We frequently fail to separate the idea being communicated from the person conveying it, they argue: the status or connectedness of the messenger become more important than the message itself.
Through memorable storytelling, we see how messengers influence business, politics, local communities, and our broader society. And we come to understand the forces behind the most infuriating phenomena of our modern era: why fake news is so readily believed, how presidents can hawk misinformation and flagrant lies yet remain influential, and why 17 million UK citizens were convinced by the overconfident claims of a group of self-interested Brexit campaigners.
"In the age of fake news, understanding who we trust and why is essential to explaining everything from leadership to power to our daily relationships. With Messengers, Stephen Martin and Joseph Marks have given us the definitive book on the subject. Illuminating and entertaining, it helps us understand who we follow and why we follow them, in politics, business, and everyday life."―Sinan Aral, David Austin Professor of Management at MIT and author of the forthcoming The Hype Machine
"Whenever we listen to a presentation, scroll through social media, or glance at the television, the question-Whom should we believe? -confronts us. Martin and Marks marshal an array of evidence to deliver a clear, compelling, and sometimes disturbing answer. Some books help us become better citizens. Others help us perform better at our jobs. This remarkable book somehow manages to do both. Messengers is an essential read for everyone."―Daniel H. Pink, author of When, Drive, and A Whole New Mind
"A powerful, profoundly illuminating exploration of one of the most important subjects of our time. Martin and Marks have a terrific talent for combining evidence and research with lively and vivid writing. Trust these messengers!"―Cass R. Sunstein, Robert Walmsley University Professor, Harvard University, and author of Conformity
"Engaging, informative, and entertaining. It will change the way you think about who you follow and take advice from."―Tali Sharot, University College London, author of The Optimism Bias and The Influential Mind
"Messengers is a tour de force on this crucial topic. Thoroughly researched and timely, I can't think of any book that makes such a compelling case for the role and characteristics of the modern day messenger."―Robert Cialdini, author of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
"Who do we believe, and why do we believe them? Messengers explains why we listen to the powerful-and sometimes the not so powerful-and what distinguishes the messengers we listen to from the ones we don't. A book that's as entertaining as it is timely and important."―Adam Alter, New York University, author of Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked