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  • Published: 31 August 2021
  • ISBN: 9781847942968
  • Imprint: Random House Business
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 320
  • RRP: $35.00

Poles Apart

Why divisions deepen and societies splinter




A roadmap to understanding why our present has become so polarised and how we can become open to changing our own minds and those of others.

Humans may violently disagree with one another, but there are ways to bring them together.

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, 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.

  • Published: 31 August 2021
  • ISBN: 9781847942968
  • Imprint: Random House Business
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 320
  • RRP: $35.00

About the authors

Ali Goldsworthy

Ali Goldsworthy has spent over 20 years active in politics and campaigning. A former Deputy Chair of the Liberal Democrats, she led the team that built the fastest growing campaigning organisation in the UK. In 2017 she was a Sloan Fellow at Stanford, creating its first depolarisation course and claiming numerous awards for her work. Ali has written for the Telegraph, Independent, New Statesman and Financial Times.

Laura Osborne

Laura Osborne is a professional communicator and change maker, with a background in public affairs and government communications. Currently Communications Director and a spokesperson at London First, the voice of London’s largest businesses, she was the UK Consumer Association’s first Head of Corporate Affairs, working with some of the UK’s biggest corporates to directly intervene to improve the banking, energy and telecoms markets for consumers.

Alex Chesterfield

Alex Chesterfield is a behavioural scientist with a Masters in Cognitive & Decision Science. She currently works in financial services, leading a team of psychologists to encourage consumers to make better decisions and drive ethical business cultures. For four years, she was an elected Councillor in Guildford for the Conservative Party and has personally experienced the effects of affective polarisation, both in and out of the workplace.

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