The Power of Us is here!

Today is publication day. Help us spread the word, read an excerpt in Behavioral Scientist, and send us your thoughts!

The Power of Us begins with two quotations.

The first reads, We are all a sort of chameleons, that still take a tincture from things near us. When people quote John Locke’s line from 1693, they often update the archaic phrasing to “we take our hue and the color of our moral character from those around us.” Indeed, this is how we first heard it.

The second epigraph is from Zadie Smith’s 2020 book of essays, ‘Intimations’. Identity as area of interest, as the form in which you have chosen to expend your love—and your commitment.

We love these quotations because together they capture two fundamental principles about how humans work—and form two of the key themes of our book.

First, human identities are multifaceted and shifting. We contain multitudes—and as different identities come to the forefront of our minds, it changes how we perceive and make sense of the world, how we relate to others, and what we’re trying to achieve. As Locke had it, we are like chameleons.

Second, the social identities we adopt are the source of our solidarity. They provide much of the foundation for the trust and cooperation that makes social life possible. Our social identities cause us to care for causes and interests beyond our lone individual stakes.

Put these two principles together and it explains how humans, more than any other species, are able to come together to pursue common goals in endlessly shifting combinations and coalitions.

This is our species’ superpower. It has allowed us to populate the globe, fly to the moon, develop vaccines, create shared literature, art, music, do science…

There are, of course, dark sides to group-based identities. Humans in groups are too often prejudicial and discriminatory, insular, close-minded, and vulnerable to influence from unscrupulous leaders.

In The Power of Us we grapple with this duality. We draw on scientific findings, historical examples, as well as stories from sports, politics, and organizations to understand how we can maximize our groups’ potential for good while guarding against their more harmful propensities.

We appreciate you taking this journey with us and are hugely grateful for everyone’s support. We hope that you will buy the book. But what we REALLY need your help with now is spreading the word to others. If you know people interested in issues including identity and group behavior, politics and belief, leadership and social change, please let them know about The Power of Us!

The Power of Us is available in bookstores, as well as from AmazonBarnes and NobleIndieBound, and iBook. Audiobook lovers can find it at Audible or Libro.

If you would like to support our book beyond buying it and recommending it to friends, here are a few additional ideas:


From Strangers to Teammates—Read an excerpt from The Power of Us

We are excited to announce that you can now read an excerpt from The Power of Us in ‘Behavioral Scientist’. It’s from our chapter on Solidarity and addresses a key question in the book—how a sense of common fate can unlock opportunities for people to trust one another, coordinate behavior, and mobilize in pursuit of their collective interests.

Here’s how it opens:

“A disaster occurred during the morning commute in London on July 7, 2005, when terrorists attacked the city’s vast transportation network. Suicide bombers detonated three bombs on underground trains and a fourth on a double-decker bus. Fifty-two people, including the terrorists, were killed and more than 700 were injured.

After the bombs exploded, thousands of passengers, many of whom were wounded, were left stunned, surrounded by smoke, darkness, and debris. In this horrific situation, one might have expected mass panic—people pushing and shoving each other out of the way, abandoning the casualties in a mad rush to escape. Pandemonium. Chaos.

But that’s not what happened…”

Send Us Your Thoughts!

We love hearing from people as they read the book. If you’re enjoying it, agreeing with things we say, disagreeing with things we say, are reminded of a relevant anecdote or data point, please let us know! Feel free to tweet at us, make us a TikTok video, send us an email, comment on the newsletter, charter a plane to fly a message banner overhead, etc…

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