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Download The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation Audiobook

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4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (476 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Drew Westen Narrator: Anthony Heald Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2007 ISBN: 9781455189120
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The Political Brain is a groundbreaking investigation into how the mind works, how the brain works, and what this means for why candidates win and lose elections. Scientist and psychologist Drew Westen has explored a theory of the mind that differs substantially from the more dispassionate notions held by most cognitive psychologists, political scientists, and economists—and Democratic campaign strategists. The idea of the mind as a cool calculator that makes decisions by weighing the evidence bears no relation to how the brain actually works. When political candidates assume voters dispassionately make decisions based on the issues, they lose. That’s why only one Democrat has been reelected to the presidency since Franklin Roosevelt—and only one Republican has failed in that quest.

Elections are decided in the marketplace of emotions, a marketplace filled with values, images, analogies, moral sentiments, and moving oratory, in which logic plays only a supporting role. Through a whirlwind tour of fifty years of American presidential and national elections, Westen shows why campaigns succeed and fail. The evidence overwhelmingly shows that three things determine how people vote, in this order: their feelings toward the parties and their principles, their feelings toward the candidates, and, if they haven’t decided by then, their feelings toward the candidates’ policy positions.

Westen turns conventional political analyses on their head, and his discoveries could utterly transform electoral arithmetic. You can’t change the structure of the brain, but you can change the way you appeal to it. This book will show you how.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “This is the most interesting, informative book on politics I’ve read in many years…whether you’re an interested voter or a candidate for public office, you have to read this book.”

    Bill Clinton

  • “It would seem the time is ripe for an exploration of how political enthusiasms play out on the neural paths of the brain. Drew Westen, the psychologist and author of The Political Brain, supplie[s]an important study.”

    Washington Post Book World

  • The Political Brain is the most illuminating book on contemporary American politics I've ever read.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Drew Westen is a must read…We will win the Presidency if our candidate reads and acts on this book.”

    Howard Dean

  • “Anthony Heald’s well-paced narration gives the listener time to digest the book’s complex ideas. His voice is strong and clear, and his diction is superb.”

    AudioFile

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Martha | 2/17/2014

    " thought this was fascinating - and scary. The evidence and theories about how much emotion plays in the fate of our country was amazing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carolyn | 1/20/2014

    " I started this book feeling quite skeptical about westens thesis but ended up a convert, wishing that the democrats would follow his prescription. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ally | 12/31/2013

    " A little preachy at the end, but a fascinating analysis of recent political campaigns and political psychology research. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Colin | 12/28/2013

    " Westen does it. He manages to convey empirical psychological evidence in a clear, enticing narrative. Poignant and straightforward, he lays out the framework for how voters make decisions and the resulting actions campaigns, especially Democratic ones, need to take to win elections. The book offers relevant examples, stories, and speeches that convey Westen's thoughts and replicate his points. I recommend this read to anyone interested in the topic of politics, or even human decision-making and "the role of emotion in deciding the fate of the nation." "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pat Simen | 12/22/2013

    " This book is absolutely fantastic. It combines the stuff that I work on in my research (how emotion affects decision making) with an analysis of failed Democratic political campaigns of the past. Aside from Clinton's successful campaigns, this guy Drew Westen really seems to nail what went wrong with all the presidential campaigns against Republicans since LBJ. Namely, that Republican campaigners know what voters respond to, and Democratic strategists frequently don't, and that is: how to mold people's emotional responses. Hindsight's 20:20, and this book can get a little repetitive at points, but it makes everything make sense to me. How else to explain how a guy like Bush could come off seeming to voters like the honest one (!) while Gore looked untrustworthy? I swear that Obama's people have read this book, and they are using just about every suggestion that it makes. Bottom line: when people say Obama is great on giving an abstract feeling of optimism, but that he's short on specifics . . . well, yes, exactly! That's exactly what works! Read it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jack | 12/13/2013

    " A very insightful and often compelling book. However, it is at points, a little inaccessible to those not well versed in the workings of the American political system. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chris | 12/9/2013

    " Required reading for anyone frustrated at the lack of emotion in politics. Warning, may seem a bit repetitive but maybe that's just a trick to get you to remember the key messages. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ryan | 11/22/2013

    " Good case studies on the role of emotion in popular campaigning. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Patiki | 10/29/2013

    " Recommend for people who follow politics, and anyone who is interested in the art of persuasion. Written from a pro-Democrat point of view. Interesting history, good examples. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marcus Watt | 8/21/2013

    " Mandatory reading for the political junky "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Todd Williams | 8/9/2013

    " Didn't like this quite as much as Lakoff's Political Mind, but it's a more accessible read. Westen focuses on emotion showing how it is the primary influence in nearly every decision we make. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andrew | 2/26/2013

    " Interesting book about the large role emotion plays in our political choices. Emotion almost invariably overrules any logical response we might have. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dave | 10/15/2012

    " excellent understanding of why people vote republican "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brian Ridge | 2/18/2012

    " The Political Brain should be required reading for progressive politicians around the country and their advisors. Westen uses modern psychology, linguistics, and political science know-how to show dems the right way to respond to the typical, and tired, Republican attacks. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Austin | 1/20/2012

    " A good analysis of political messaging and the ways Democrats get it wrong. I wish this were required reading for all campaign managers and party leadership. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dana | 10/1/2011

    " Great read -- for anyone who wants to learn about more strategic campaigning, from a psychological point of view "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Will | 7/25/2011

    " A fantastic breakdown of American political theatre. A how-to of media manipulation and an incredibly astute look at the archetypical emotional rhythms of the modern election cycle. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nathan Dick | 5/22/2011

    " Great stuff! This was obviously read by the Obama campaign. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 HKd | 4/1/2011

    " A interesting look into how political choices are influenced. Takes a lot of pages to make a few good points but that's not uncommon. I really likedthe rpositioning of The Little Trian That Could. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amanda | 8/15/2010

    " Turns the traditional Democratic view of how people make decisions about candidates and issues on its ear and offers a new paradigm for leading and being a citizen. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carolyn | 8/12/2010

    " I started this book feeling quite skeptical about westens thesis but ended up a convert, wishing that the democrats would follow his prescription. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andrew | 10/18/2009

    " Interesting book about the large role emotion plays in our political choices. Emotion almost invariably overrules any logical response we might have. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ally | 7/15/2009

    " A little preachy at the end, but a fascinating analysis of recent political campaigns and political psychology research. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gene | 7/5/2009

    " Insights from cognitive neuroscience about political decision-making "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nathan | 3/22/2009

    " Great stuff! This was obviously read by the Obama campaign. "

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About the Author

Drew Westen is a clinical and political psychologist and neuroscientist who has spent years studying personality, psychopathology, and political decision making. He is the author of The Political Brain and founder of Westen Strategies, a political and corporate consulting firm. He writes frequently for the Washington Post, Politico, Huffington Post, and other publications.

About the Narrator

Anthony Heald, an Audie Award–winning narrator, has earned Tony nominations and an Obie Award for his theater work; appeared in television’s Law & Order, The X-Files, Miami Vice, and Boston Public; and starred as Dr. Frederick Chilton in the 1991 Oscar-winning film The Silence of the Lambs. He lives in Ashland, Oregon, with his family.