Read O Poder das Conexões: A importância do Networking e como ele molda nossas vidas by Nicholas A. Christakis Free Online
Book Title: O Poder das Conexões: A importância do Networking e como ele molda nossas vidas|
The author of the book: Nicholas A. Christakis
Date of issue: 2010
ISBN: No data
ISBN 13: No data
Loaded: 1342 times
Reader ratings: 5.3
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 27.28 MB
City - Country: No data
Read full description of the books:
There are a number of things I’ve been thinking about lately and quite a few of those things are discussed here in this book. So, in a sense I should have found this much more interesting than I did. Overall, I was a little disappointed even though I think this book has an important message and has interesting things to say about a number of incredibly important issues.
If I had written this book…
It is hard to say just what the perfect society might be for humans, but what we have today seems pretty close on a number of counts. We live longer now, a larger number of us live (potentially, at least) worthwhile lives that we have some measure of control and choice over, and compared to any other time in history we are probably less likely to die from random acts of violence. However, paradoxically, we probably feel less happy and less in control of our lives today than our ancestors ever did before. I think a lot of this has to do with our feelings of connected and disconnectedness.
We like to think of ourselves as ‘individuals’. We are attracted to stories of those who go off on their own – monks or Jesus into the wilderness or Nietzsche’s Zarathustra living in his cave and coming down from the mountains – and then for these loners, purified by their social isolation, to somehow come back to us and to tell us of the path, of the way. A foundational myth within our culture is that society itself is insane and that it is only individuals (and even then only certain and of necessity very few individuals) who are in fact both wise and sane. As Nietzsche himself puts it, “Madness is rare in individuals, but in groups, parties, nations and ages is it the rule.”
However, we forget (or overlook the fact) that human individuals don’t really exist, at least, not the romantic individuals of these myths. I think part of the appeal of these myths is that we tend to be confused by the fact that we are constrained to look out at the world through a single set of eyes and that it is this optical illusion that deludes us into forgetting how much we are shaped and defined by the society we find ourselves immersed within.
Surveys have been done that show not only that we are remarkably well connected with all other humans – the idea of ‘six degrees of separation’ has become a cliché – but also other surveys show that if your friend’s friend loses weight then you are also likely to lose weight. The friends of our friends play more of a role in our lives than we might ever want to imagine – so much so that if you are looking for a new partner (sexual or otherwise) a good strategy is to join Facebook and start flicking through the profiles of your friend’s friends. Throughout history that one step remove has been the most likely source of our partners.
We have also come to think of the world as hierarchical. We think of the world as having the President of the USA on the very top (or maybe Rupert Murdoch, if I’m feeling particularly disheartened) and we then shimmy down the branches of the great tree until we find ourselves at the roots somewhere in an African or in a Latin American slum, you know, inhabited by the sorts of people that even if a million of them were to die it would not generate the news print of a particularly bad rail accident somewhere in the first world. (Think I exaggerate? http://www.avert.org/worldstats.htm)
We like to think in symbols – we like to think in simple schemes. So, if we can think of all Orientals as Muslims and of all Muslims as terrorists and fanatics and all terrorists and fanatics as not like us, well, it simplifies and justifies both our current mistreatments of ‘them’ and our refusal to do anything, to make any change. We have created simple dichotomies (us = good, free, moral, superior; them = bad, fanatical, misguided, childlike) and with these schemes we are able to overlook any atrocity that is committed in our name and by our hand.
But what if we were to move away from hierarchical structures and simple dichotomies and toward building and strengthening the networks and connections that already exist between people. Because so many of our current myths are directly opposed to such an idea.
How would you react to the challenge of The Third Man? Tax free or not, the lives of others are not the same as the lives of ants, even if they do prove hard to comprehend at anything like a little distance. In a week where a madman has cut a scythe through so many images that cluster around US democracy – a 9/11 child, a judge, a Jewish congress woman, a pair of grandparents – the paradoxes and contradictions and confusions of who is valuable and who is not, who should live and who die, who counts and who does not, have all become messy and confused in ways of aching complexity. As much as I would like to endorse Obama’s words, “Let's make sure it's not on the usual plane of politics and point scoring and pettiness that drifts away with the next news cycle” or to believe with him “that the forces that divide us are not as strong as those that unite us”, a few things I have witnessed this week help to confound that hope.
When Sarah Palin says, “Don’t retreat. Reload” or when she produces a poster with gun sights marking the states were she wishes Republicans to defeat Democrats in elections, I struggle to see these actions of hers as anything but an incitement to murder, as an incitement to her supporters to shoot her political adversaries. When she is then outraged that people might take her actions or her words or the images she has produced on their face value, I can only conclude that either she is utterly disingenuous or that she and I live in completely incommensurable worlds. To put that in plain language, I can’t help feeling that she is either a liar or that we simply don’t speak the same language.
And when you watch the first moments of Obama’s speech http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztbJmX... it is difficult not to feel for him as he tries to control the audience, an audience so unsure of how to react at such a time, in such a circumstance. An audience that can only think to cheer. It is sad, almost sad beyond words, but we seem to have become a world that has forgotten that silence speaks louder and is more articulate than applause.
What this book teaches us is that normalising behaviours is incredibly powerful within our societies. If we choose to normalise hatred and anger and fear we will get one particular type of society. Nevertheless, there is an alternative.
This book looks at experiments such as the Milgram prison one (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_...), but also at other experiments showing how acts of altruism spread. This book offers hope – hope that if we can view others as people, rather than categories or types, perhaps we can avoid inflicting the ever-increasing electric shocks onto a screaming other. And as in the Seven Up series, we will quickly see that people are rarely fully defined by their class or the box we might like to place them in – that learning anything about people at all displays their remarkable diversity and that is what we must embrace – it is our sole life line.
The most fascinating experiment in this book is told around Second Life – a computer site I’ve avoided like the plague for fear of it erasing too much of my first life. All of this section of the book is fascinating (not least the ‘affairs’ committed in cyberspace, with virtual sex tracked by virtual private investigators leading to actual divorce), but what I found infinitely more interesting was the fact that when they allocated people avatars in cyberspace at random, avatars of a different sex to the physical sex of the ‘player’ – the player’s behaviour (including how close they might stand to other players and the likelihood of ‘eye contact’ they would hold) morphed to be identical to that of the socially appropriate behaviours of any other member of that socially constructed gender to which they had been assigned. I have to admit that I found this surprising, but I don’t for a minute doubt its veracity.
This book also refers to The Wisdom of Crowds, a book that has convinced me we need to ensure greater and in fact unconstrained diversity if we are to have a future – diversity of opinion, of life style, of belief. Somehow we need to find ways to increase the access and voice of those who in our society remain outside and voiceless. We need to challenge the masks we ourselves wear, particularly those we don’t even know we have on; like gender, class, nation and race.
Perhaps the only way to liberate ourselves from the faux individualism that dresses us up in our various identities is to recognise the power of the forces shaping us and the equally remarkable power we have to affect change, not only in ourselves, but also in those around us and those around them. With our good actions we can literally make a better world.
Download O Poder das Conexões: A importância do Networking e como ele molda nossas vidas ERUB
Download O Poder das Conexões: A importância do Networking e como ele molda nossas vidas DOC
Download O Poder das Conexões: A importância do Networking e como ele molda nossas vidas TXT
Read information about the authorNicholas A. Christakis, MD, PhD, is a professor at Harvard University with joint appointments in the Departments of Health Care Policy, Sociology, and Medicine, and in 2009 was named one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people in the world.
Christakis and Fowler's research has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Good Morning America, Today, and The Colbert Report, and on the front pages of the New York Times, Washington Post, and USA Today.