Tools for the Post-Truth World

Here are 5 books that provide tools for navigating the “Post-Truth” world.

Each book was uncomfortable to read. They provide examples that force me to “open my eyes” and move away from “willful blindness”. They describe biases and errors my mind makes, and then how others are attempting to manipulate me by attacking my biases and faulty perception.

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The Books

“Post Truth” — by Lee McIntyre

“Who Do We Choose To Be” — by Margaret Wheatley

“Rebalancing Society” — by Henry Mintzberg

“Win Bigly” — by Scott Adams

“Skin in the Game” — by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

I learned a lot from Lee McIntyre’s recent history of “the press”, and especially how the “Prestige Press” operates. I was surprised to learn that the “Prestige Press” uses a “two-sides to the story” approach to provide “balance”, and that they do this even when there is only one side. For example, climate change gets “two-sided” coverage even though there is very little scientific support against it.  The “two-sided-ness” makes it appear to readers that there is doubt.  The debate is “manufactured” and the attempt at “balance” produces “imbalance”.  I also learned that many lobby groups are trying to recreate the success of the “Tobacco Lobby”,  which fought for a “two-sided” discussion, and thus delayed action on “Tobacco” for decades. My synthesis is that it is very difficult to get “all the information”, and that historically we’ve never really had it.

Scott Adams “Win Bigly” is absolutely terrifying, because he does a great job discussing how good Trump is at persuasion. I was sad, for many weeks, after reading this book. It’s that convincing.

Margaret (Meg) Wheatley and Henry Mintzberg are great reads because they provide me with something to do. She says that the world needs “Warriors for the Human Spirit”, and Henry Mintzberg says that we should get out to support our “Plural Sector”.

I summarize Meg Wheatley’s “Warrior for the Human Spirit” action plan as 1) learn how to meditate, so that I can strengthen mind and to begin to sort through all this manipulation and 2) Stand up, be a good person, don’t succumb to the post-truth mentality, and help others with this disorienting time.

In Henry Mintzberg’s book he talks about the loss of balance between Business, Government, and Plural sectors of our society. He defines the “Plural Sector” for us in the hope that we’ll work hard to restore balance. Sadly, he doesn’t hold out much hope for us doing this quickly. Here is his definition of the “Plural Sector”

“Consider all those associations that are neither public nor private—owned neither by the state nor by private investors—such as foundations, places of worship, unions, cooperatives, Greenpeace, the Red Cross, and many renowned universities and hospitals. — page x

Finally, Nassim Taleb is always worth reading. He sees the world differently and can back up his views. He is important and must be taken seriously, no matter how difficult his views are to stomach.

More – Defining Post-Truth

Lee McIntyre provides a definition of Post-Truth that sends shivers down my spine

“Contention that feelings are more accurate than facts, for the purpose of the political subordination of reality.” page 174 of “Post-Truth”

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