The unprecedented access to other humans that technology provides has ironically freed us from engaging with them. Thanks to social media, we can know a campaigning politician’s platform; an avid traveler’s restaurant recommendations; and the daily emotional fluctuations of our friends without ever even picking up the phone. According to social psychologist Adam Waytz, our increasingly human-free lives come with a serious cost that we’ve already begun to pay: the loss of our humanity.
Humans have superpowers. More than any other psychological stimulus, our presence can make experiences feel significant, inspire moral behavior, and encourage action. Recent studies suggest that we even have power over mortality—the survival rate of individuals with stronger social relationships has been found to be twice as high as those with weak relationships.
The Power of Human shows us how to rehumanize and harness these unique abilities to improve our lives, beginning with our jobs. The remedy for the dehumanized worker is twofold. Employers, Waytz argues, must instill humanity into work by capitalizing on distinctly human skills, especially sociability and variability. Meanwhile, workers need to put to rest the idea that you are what you do and instead detach their personal identities from their occupations. Waytz offers a similarly science-based method to counter the rising threat that technology poses to our humanity, outlining how we can design human-machine partnerships that optimize the strengths of both parties. Finally, he reveals how, by humanizing intimacy and conflict in unexpected ways, we can strengthen relationships with both our friends and enemies. Essential reading for individuals and institutions alike, The Power of Human explains how we can solve one of our time’s biggest problems by better utilizing the influence we have on one another.
In a moment when victims of the most pressing human problems are robbed of their humanity, a pioneering social scientist offers a road map for restoring dignity and compassion. This is an important, engaging exploration of how we can create a world where people feel seen and respected.—Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Give and Take, Originals, and Option B
Rigorously researched and thoroughly provocative. A brilliant, timely reminder of how the power of humanity touches all aspects of our lives.—Jonah Berger, author of Contagious and Invisible Influence
What does it mean to be human? What does it mean to see others as fully human? To make others feel fully human? In this compelling book, Adam Waytz shows how the answer to these questions can help us reduce human conflict and improve lives.—Carol Dweck, author of Mindset
This is an enlightening book about human-ness, the inherent value it provides, and how we are losing it. More compellingly than I’ve ever seen, Waytz argues that it’s a poor choice when we allow present-day forces of separation to take the human from our relationships: the relation gets removed, leaving just the ships, passing at sea.—Robert B. Cialdini, author of Influence and Pre-Suasion
Adam Waytz is a leading thinker about the issues arising from the emerging era of pervasive human-machine interaction. Drawing from his social psychology foundation, The Power of Human offers important insight and practical suggestions to master this new definition of humanity.
—Brad Keywell, CEO of Uptake
About the Author:
Adam Waytz is Associate Professor of Management and Organizations and Social Psychologist at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. He lives in Chicago, Illinois.