Honest Signals

Honest Signals : How They Shape Our World

3.44 (256 ratings by Goodreads)
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How understanding the signaling within social networks can change the way we make decisions, work with others, and manage organizations.

How can you know when someone is bluffing? Paying attention? Genuinely interested? The answer, writes Alex Pentland in Honest Signals, is that subtle patterns in how we interact with other people reveal our attitudes toward them. These unconscious social signals are not just a back channel or a complement to our conscious language; they form a separate communication network. Biologically based "honest signaling," evolved from ancient primate signaling mechanisms, offers an unmatched window into our intentions, goals, and values. If we understand this ancient channel of communication, Pentland claims, we can accurately predict the outcomes of situations ranging from job interviews to first dates.

Pentland, an MIT professor, has used a specially designed digital sensor worn like an ID badge--a "sociometer"--to monitor and analyze the back-and-forth patterns of signaling among groups of people. He and his researchers found that this second channel of communication, revolving not around words but around social relations, profoundly influences major decisions in our lives--even though we are largely unaware of it. Pentland presents the scientific background necessary for understanding this form of communication, applies it to examples of group behavior in real organizations, and shows how by "reading" our social networks we can become more successful at pitching an idea, getting a job, or closing a deal. Using this "network intelligence" theory of social signaling, Pentland describes how we can harness the intelligence of our social network to become better managers, workers, and communicators.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 208 pages
  • 137 x 203 x 14mm | 272g
  • MIT Press
  • Cambridge, United States
  • English
  • New
  • 0262515121
  • 9780262515122
  • 236,721

Review quote

A technology poised to change the world.--Technology Review--

A new understanding of organizational effectiveness.--Strategy+Business--

Pentland's lucid treatment of complicated psychobiological principles effectively enables lay readers to grasp difficult but significant concepts... Similar in scope to Malcolm Gladwell's Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, Pentland's book is better-suited and recommended for university collections.--Library Journal--
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About Alex Pentland

Karen Finley is a New York--based artist whose raw and personal performances, literature, installations, and visual art have long provoked controversy and debate. Herperformances include I'm an Ass Man, focusing on sexual abuse and violence (1985);The Constant State of Desire (1989); A Suggestion of Madness, honoring the10th anniversary of her father's death (1988); A Certain Level of Denial, a responseto the AIDS epidemic (1992); and The American Chestnut, a parallel between theillnesses of nature and the illnesses of society (1993), for which she received a Guggenheimfellowship. Finley was one of four artists whose NEA grant applications were vetoedin 1990 due to content considered "indecent." The four sued for reinstatement ofthe grants and won the case in 1993 in the ninth circuit court in Los Angeles. Thisruling was appealed and the case went to the Supreme Court and lost, in a decision thatallowed the government to place restrictions on funding based on "decency standards."Finley wrote and performed The Return of the Chocolate-Smeared Woman, arebuttal to Jesse Helms, in 1998 during the Supreme Court proceedings. She has madenumerous dance records and has written and directed plays, among them The Theoryof Total Blame (1988) and The Lamb of God Hotel (1992). She is the author ofShock Treatment (City Lights, 1990), Enough Is Enough (Poseidon, 1993), PoohUnplugged (Smart Art Press, 1999), A Different Kind of Intimacy: The CollectedWritings of Karen Finley (Thunder's Mouth Press, 2000), and has editedand contributed to Aroused: A Collection of Erotic Writings (Thunder's MouthPress, 2001).
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Rating details

256 ratings
3.44 out of 5 stars
5 18% (45)
4 29% (73)
3 38% (96)
2 13% (33)
1 4% (9)
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