Nigel Wilcockson, Publishing Director of Random House Business, has acquired UK, Commonwealth and translation rights to a major new analysis of political and social tribalism by three experts from the worlds of politics, business and behavioural science. The deal was struck with Caroline Michel at PFD.
Poles Apart is based on interviews with leaders on both sides of the Atlantic and the latest academic research. It explains why we are so tribal, the advantages and disadvantages of being so, its often-unknown effects on our politics, businesses and social groups, and what we can do to halt excessive polarisation. It’s a brilliantly insightful – and very practical – book on a timeless subject that also happens to be very topical. It acts as the ideal primer for those who have ever had to negotiate or resolve a conflict – in other words, all of us.
Alison (Ali) Goldsworthy, the first of the book’s trio of authors, hit on the idea while a Sloan Fellow at Stanford University. In a panel discussion with Trump supporters on the largely Democrat leaning campus a student asked: “when did you last change your mind and why?” The panel took a deep breath as they reached for an answer. But their candid responses unlocked a new willingness to engage with an opposite viewpoint.
This became the question behind the Changed my Mind podcast, with Ali’s former colleagues Laura Osborne and Alexandra (Alex) Chesterfield coming onboard. Dubbed by Rory Sutherland, founder of Ogilvy’s Behavioural Science Practice, ‘the best question he has ever heard’, it has been gaining plaudits and listeners from its inception. Guests to date have included Peter Gabriel, Professor Tali Shalot and Jonathan Haidt. Distributed with openDemocracy, a second series is set to appear this summer.
As our identities increasingly align under political labels of convenience, Leave or Remain, Trump or Democrat, now this is the perfect time for a reflective book that shines light on the world around us and how we can correct course from excessive political polarisation. Poles Apart is scheduled for publication in hardback, ebook and audio in March 2021, with a mass-market paperback edition to follow later.
The authors say:
“This is a book that needed to be written to help us all make sense of the world around us. As we divide into political groups based as much on what they aren’t as what they are, now is the time to dig into what’s happening at a psychological level. Poles Apart will be a book that would be useful to all of us, and challenging to many, in civil society, business or politics. We can’t wait to share it.”
Nigel Wilcockson says: ‘Ali, Laura and Alex make a formidable, interdisciplinary and intellectually diverse team. The issues they address could not be more timely. Poles Apart is destined to become a standard work both on what leads to so much human conflict and how it can be resolved.’
Notes for editors
Random House Business is an imprint of Cornerstone, part of the Random House Group Ltd, a Penguin Random House Company. It is home to the world’s most influential thinkers on business, economics and behavioural science. Our titles range from timeless classics – such as Jim Collins’ Good to Great, and William Ury and Roger Fisher’s Getting to Yes – to the latest best-sellers – for example, Bruce Daisley’s The Joy of Work and James Clear’s Atomic Habits; and cover everything from pioneering economic theory (Kate Raworth’s Doughnut Economics), via new trends and technologies (Jeff Sutherland’s Scrum), to cutting-edge research (Stephen Martin and Joseph Mark’s Messengers). Practical and inspirational by turns, our books represent the very best of the past, present and future of business.
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