The beloved actor shares fascinating and powerful lessons from the science of communication, and teaches readers to improve the way they relate to others using improv games, storytelling, and their own innate mind-reading abilities. With his trademark humor and frankness, Alan Alda explains what makes the out-of-the-box techniques he developed after his years as the host of Scientific American Frontiersso effective. This book reveals what it means to be a true communicator, and how we can communicate better, in every aspect of our lives-with our friends, lovers, and families, with our doctors, in business settings, and beyond.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Award-winning actor Alan Alda tells the fascinating story of his quest to learn how to communicate better, and to teach others to do the same. With his trademark humor and candor, he explores how to develop empathy as the key factor. “Invaluable.”—Deborah Tannen, #1 New York Times bestselling author of You’re the Only One I Can Tell and You Just Don’t Understand Alan Alda has been on a decades-long journey to discover new ways to help people communicate and relate to one another more effectively. If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face? is the warm, witty, and informative chronicle of how Alda found inspiration in everything from cutting-edge science to classic acting methods. His search began when he was host of PBS’s Scientific American Frontiers, where he interviewed thousands of scientists and developed a knack for helping them communicate complex ideas in ways a wide audience could understand—and Alda wondered if those techniques held a clue to better communication for the rest of us. In his wry and wise voice, Alda reflects on moments of miscommunication in his own life, when an absence of understanding resulted in problems both big and small. He guides us through his discoveries, showing how communication can be improved through learning to relate to the other person: listening with our eyes, looking for clues in another’s face, using the power of a compelling story, avoiding jargon, and reading another person so well that you become “in sync” with them, and know what they are thinking and feeling—especially when you’re talking about the hard stuff. Drawing on improvisation training, theater, and storytelling techniques from a life of acting, and with insights from recent scientific studies, Alda describes ways we can build empathy, nurture our innate mind-reading abilities, and improve the way we relate and talk with others. Exploring empathy-boosting games and exercises, If I Understood You is a funny, thought-provoking guide that can be used by all of us, in every aspect of our lives—with our friends, lovers, and families, with our doctors, in business settings, and beyond. “Alda uses his trademark humor and a well-honed ability to get to the point, to help us all learn how to leverage the better communicator inside each of us.”—Forbes “Alda, with his laudable curiosity, has learned something you and I can use right now.”—Charlie Rose
The actor and founder of the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science traces his personal quest to understand how to relate and communicate better, from practicing empathy and using improv games to storytelling and developing better intuitive skills.
Alda has been on a decades-long journey to discover new ways to help people communicate and relate to each other more effectively. If I Understood Youis the warm, witty and informative chronicle of how Alda found inspiration in everything from cutting-edge science to classic acting methods. In his wry and wise voice, Alda reflects on moments of miscommunication in his own life, when an absence of understanding resulted in problems both big and small. Drawing on improvisation training, theater and storytelling techniques from a life of acting, and with insights from recent scientific studies, Alda describes ways we can build empathy, nurture our innate mind-reading abilities, and improve the way we relate and talk with others. Offering empathy-boosting games and exercises, If I Understood Youis a funny, thought-provoking guide that can be used by all of us, in every aspect of our lives-with our friends, lovers, and families, with our doctors, in business settings, and beyond.
On the heels of his acclaimed memoir, Never Have Your Dog Stuffed, beloved actor and bestselling author Alan Alda has written Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself, an insightful and funny look at some of the impossible questions he’s asked himself over the years: What do I value? What, exactly, is the good life? (And what does that even mean?) Picking up where his bestselling memoir left off–having been saved by emergency surgery after nearly dying on a mountaintop in Chile–Alda finds himself not only glad to be alive but searching for a way to squeeze the most juice out of his new life. Looking for a sense of meaning that would make this extra time count, he listens in on things he’s heard himself saying in private and in public at critical points in his life–from the turbulence of the sixties, to his first Broadway show, to the birth of his children, to the ache of September 11, and beyond. Reflecting on the transitions in his life and in all our lives, he notices that “doorways are where the truth is told,” and wonders if there’s one thing–art, activism, family, money, fame–that could lead to a “life of meaning.” In a book that is candid, wise, and as questioning as it is incisive, Alda amuses and moves us with his unique and hilarious meditations on questions great and small. Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself is another superb Alan Alda performance, as inspiring and entertaining as the man himself. From the Hardcover edition.
He’s one of America’s most recognizable and acclaimed actors–a star on Broadway, an Oscar nominee for The Aviator, and the only person to ever win Emmys for acting, writing, and directing, during his eleven years on M*A*S*H. Now Alan Alda has written a memoir as elegant, funny, and affecting as his greatest performances. “My mother didn’t try to stab my father until I was six,” begins Alda’s irresistible story. The son of a popular actor and a loving but mentally ill mother, he spent his early childhood backstage in the erotic and comic world of burlesque and went on, after early struggles, to achieve extraordinary success in his profession. Yet Never Have Your Dog Stuffed is not a memoir of show-business ups and downs. It is a moving and funny story of a boy growing into a man who then realizes he has only just begun to grow. It is the story of turning points in Alda’s life, events that would make him what he is–if only he could survive them. From the moment as a boy when his dead dog is returned from the taxidermist’s shop with a hideous expression on his face, and he learns that death can’t be undone, to the decades-long effort to find compassion for the mother he lived with but never knew, to his acceptance of his father, both personally and professionally, Alda learns the hard way that change, uncertainty, and transformation are what life is made of, and true happiness is found in embracing them. Never Have Your Dog Stuffed, filled with curiosity about nature, good humor, and honesty, is the crowning achievement of an actor, author, and director, but surprisingly, it is the story of a life more filled with turbulence and laughter than any Alda has ever played on the stage or screen. From the Hardcover edition.
Most scientists and researchers aren’t prepared to talk to the press or to policymakers—or to deal with backlash. Many researchers have the horror stories to prove it. What’s clear, according to Nancy Baron, is that scientists, journalists and public policymakers come from different cultures. They follow different sets of rules, pursue different goals, and speak their own language. To effectively reach journalists and public officials, scientists need to learn new skills and rules of engagement. No matter what your specialty, the keys to success are clear thinking, knowing what you want to say, understanding your audience, and using everyday language to get your main points across. In this practical and entertaining guide to communicating science, Baron explains how to engage your audience and explain why a particular finding matters. She explores how to ace your interview, promote a paper, enter the political fray, and use new media to connect with your audience. The book includes advice from journalists, decision makers, new media experts, bloggers and some of the thousands of scientists who have participated in her communication workshops. Many of the researchers she has worked with have gone on to become well-known spokespeople for science-related issues. Baron and her protégées describe the risks and rewards of “speaking up,” how to deal with criticism, and the link between communications and leadership. The final chapter, ‘Leading the Way’ offers guidance to scientists who want to become agents of change and make your science matter. Whether you are an absolute beginner or a seasoned veteran looking to hone your skills, Escape From the Ivory Tower can help make your science understood, appreciated and perhaps acted upon.
The Hidden Brain
Author: Shankar Vedantam
Publisher: Spiegel & Grau
The hidden brain is the voice in our ear when we make the most important decisions in our lives—but we’re never aware of it. The hidden brain decides whom we fall in love with and whom we hate. It tells us to vote for the white candidate and convict the dark-skinned defendant, to hire the thin woman but pay her less than the man doing the same job. It can direct us to safety when disaster strikes and move us to extraordinary acts of altruism. But it can also be manipulated to turn an ordinary person into a suicide terrorist or a group of bystanders into a mob. In a series of compulsively readable narratives, Shankar Vedantam journeys through the latest discoveries in neuroscience, psychology, and behavioral science to uncover the darkest corner of our minds and its decisive impact on the choices we make as individuals and as a society. Filled with fascinating characters, dramatic storytelling, and cutting-edge science, this is an engrossing exploration of the secrets our brains keep from us—and how they are revealed.
PLEASE NOTE: This is a summary, analysis and review of the book and not the original book. Award-winning actor, Alan Alda shares his journey to become a better communicator, and to teach others to do the same in his New York Times bestseller, "If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?" This SUMOREADS Summary & Analysis offers supplementary material to "If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?" to help you distill the key takeaways, review the book's content, and further understand the writing style and overall themes from an editorial perspective. Whether you'd like to deepen your understanding, refresh your memory, or simply decide whether or not this book is for you, SUMOREADS Summary & Analysis is here to help. Absorb everything you need to know in under 20 minutes! What does this SUMOREADS Summary & Analysis Include? An Executive Summary of the original book Editorial Review Brief chapter summaries Key takeaways & analysis from each section Brief chapter-by-chapter summaries A short bio of the the author Original Book Summary Overview What if there was a single solution to all of the world's issues? Pretty hard to imagine yet, the root of most of the challenges facing humanity is one thing: our inability to effectively communicate or understand other people's messages. This book unravels the key for achieving good communication and powerfully relating to one another. Alda discovered this key from his training as an actor and expertly lays down the building blocks of effective communication. In the well-crafted 21 chapters of this volume, Alda helps you focus on the other person and learn to communicate better. This book is transformative; it focuses not on tips and formulas but the core of communication. It'll transform you and help you relate with others in a better way and be better at reading other people. BEFORE YOU BUY: The purpose of this SUMOREADS Summary & Analysis is to help you decide if it's worth the time, money and effort reading the original book (if you haven't already). SUMOREADS has pulled out the essence-but only to help you ascertain the value of the book for yourself. This analysis is meant as a supplement to, and not a replacement for, "If I Understood You..."
Ask a scientist about Hollywood, and you’ll probably get eye rolls. But ask someone in Hollywood about science, and they’ll see dollar signs: moviemakers know that science can be the source of great stories, with all the drama and action that blockbusters require. That’s a huge mistake, says Randy Olson: Hollywood has a lot to teach scientists about how to tell a story—and, ultimately, how to do science better. With Houston, We Have a Narrative, he lays out a stunningly simple method for turning the dull into the dramatic. Drawing on his unique background, which saw him leave his job as a working scientist to launch a career as a filmmaker, Olson first diagnoses the problem: When scientists tell us about their work, they pile one moment and one detail atop another moment and another detail—a stultifying procession of “and, and, and.” What we need instead is an understanding of the basic elements of story, the narrative structures that our brains are all but hardwired to look for—which Olson boils down, brilliantly, to “And, But, Therefore,” or ABT. At a stroke, the ABT approach introduces momentum (“And”), conflict (“But”), and resolution (“Therefore”)—the fundamental building blocks of story. As Olson has shown by leading countless workshops worldwide, when scientists’ eyes are opened to ABT, the effect is staggering: suddenly, they’re not just talking about their work—they’re telling stories about it. And audiences are captivated. Written with an uncommon verve and enthusiasm, and built on principles that are applicable to fields far beyond science, Houston, We Have a Narrative has the power to transform the way science is understood and appreciated, and ultimately how it’s done.
A practical guide to bridging the generation gap. In How to Say It to Seniors, geriatric psychology expert David Solie offers help in removing the typical communication blocks many experience with the elderly. By sharing his insights into the later stages of life, Solie helps in understanding the unique perspective of seniors, and provides the tools to relate to them.
In Don't Be Such a Scientist, Randy Olson recounts the lessons from his own hilarious--and at times humiliating--evolution from science professor to Hollywood filmmaker, sharing the secrets of talking substance in an age of style. The key, he argued, is to stay true to the facts while tapping into something more primordial, more irrational--and ultimately more human. Now, in this second edition of his provocative and groundbreaking book, Olson builds upon the lessons and storytelling of Don't Be Such a Scientist, providing an epilogue to each chapter for the current times, and adding a fresh introduction and new chapter on the importance of listening for science communicators (and beyond). Don't Be Such a Scientist, Second Edition is a cutting and irreverent manual to speaking out and making your voice heard in an age of attacks on science. Invaluable for anyone looking to break out of the boxes of academia or research, Olson's writing will inspire readers to "make science human"--and to enjoy the ride along the way.
Beyond the Self
Author: Matthieu Ricard, Wolf Singer
Publisher: MIT Press
Converging and diverging views on the mind, the self, consciousness, the unconscious, free will, perception, meditation, and other topics. Buddhism shares with science the task of examining the mind empirically; it has pursued, for two millennia, direct investigation of the mind through penetrating introspection. Neuroscience, on the other hand, relies on third-person knowledge in the form of scientific observation. In this book, Matthieu Ricard, a Buddhist monk trained as a molecular biologist, and Wolf Singer, a distinguished neuroscientist—close friends, continuing an ongoing dialogue—offer their perspectives on the mind, the self, consciousness, the unconscious, free will, epistemology, meditation, and neuroplasticity. Ricard and Singer's wide-ranging conversation stages an enlightening and engaging encounter between Buddhism's wealth of experiential findings and neuroscience's abundance of experimental results. They discuss, among many other things, the difference between rumination and meditation (rumination is the scourge of meditation, but psychotherapy depends on it); the distinction between pure awareness and its contents; the Buddhist idea (or lack of one) of the unconscious and neuroscience's precise criteria for conscious and unconscious processes; and the commonalities between cognitive behavioral therapy and meditation. Their views diverge (Ricard asserts that the third-person approach will never encounter consciousness as a primary experience) and converge (Singer points out that the neuroscientific understanding of perception as reconstruction is very like the Buddhist all-discriminating wisdom) but both keep their vision trained on understanding fundamental aspects of human life.
The proposal to vaccinate adolescent girls against the human papilloma virus ignited political controversy, as did the advent of fracking and a host of other emerging technologies. These disputes attest to the persistent gap between expert and public perceptions. Complicating the communication of sound science and the debates that surround the societal applications of that science is a changing media environment in which misinformation can elicit belief without corrective context and likeminded individuals are prone to seek ideologically comforting information within their own self-constructed media enclaves. Drawing on the expertise of leading science communication scholars from six countries, The Oxford Handbook of the Science of Science Communication not only charts the media landscape - from news and entertainment to blogs and films - but also examines the powers and perils of human biases - from the disposition to seek confirming evidence to the inclination to overweight endpoints in a trend line. In the process, it draws together the best available social science on ways to communicate science while also minimizing the pernicious effects of human bias. The Handbook adds case studies exploring instances in which communication undercut or facilitated the access to scientific evidence. The range of topics addressed is wide, from genetically engineered organisms and nanotechnology to vaccination controversies and climate change. Also unique to this book is a focus on the complexities of involving the public in decision making about the uses of science, the regulations that should govern its application, and the ethical boundaries within which science should operate. The Handbook is an invaluable resource for researchers in the communication fields, particularly in science and health communication, as well as to scholars involved in research on scientific topics susceptible to distortion in partisan debate.
Fahy profiles an array of publicly—and internationally—prominent scientists, exploring how they captured popular imagination, achieved celebrity, and used their ideas to influence our understanding of the world.