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I'm Right and You're an Idiot - 2nd Edition (PDF)
The Toxic State of Public Discourse and How to Clean it Up
The most pressing problem we face today is not climate change. It is pollution in the public square, where a toxic smog of adversarial rhetoric, propaganda, and polarization stifles discussion and debate, creating resistance to change and thwarting our ability to solve our collective problems.
In this second edition of I'm Right and You're an Idiot, James Hoggan grapples with this critical issue, through interviews with outstanding thinkers and drawing on wisdom from highly regarded public figures. Featuring a new, radically revised prologue, afterword, and a new chapter addressing the changes in the public discourse since the 2016 United States election, his comprehensive analysis explores:
- How political will is manipulated
- How tribalism shuts down open-minded thinking, undermines trust, and helps misinformation thrive
- Why facts alone fail and how language is manipulated and dissent silenced
- The importance of dialogue, empathy, and pluralistic narrative reframing arguments to create compelling narratives and spur action.
Our species' greatest survival strategy has always been foresight and the ability to leverage intelligence to overcome adversity. For too long now this capacity has been threatened by the sorry state of public discourse. Focusing on proven techniques to foster more powerful and effective communication, I'm Right and You're an Idiot will appeal to readers looking for deep insights and practical advice in these troubling times.
James Hoggan is president of the Vancouver PR firm Hoggan & Associates, past chair of the David Suzuki Foundation board, and founder of the influential website DeSmogBlog. He has also served as a member of Shell Global's External Review Committee and is author of Climate Cover-up and Do the Right Thing. He lives on Salt Spring Island, Canada.
"This is a deeply thoughtful book about what it really takes to communicate, especially with people who we don't understand. A must-read for anyone trying to break the climate impasse, or indeed, make progress in any domain of social conflict."
Naomi Oreskes, Professor of the History of Science, Affiliated Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Harvard University
"The public square has been polluted by industry-funded propaganda when it comes to matters like climate change and what to do about it. Read James Hoggan's I'm Right and You're an Idiot for some ideas on how to fix that."
Michael E. Mann, Distinguished Professor of Atmosphere Science, Penn State University, and author, The Madhouse Effect
"Hoggan has done an admirable job in getting to the root of the why public discourse on some of the most pressing problems facing society today is so fractured and toxic. His interviews with many of the world's leading thinkers on this crucial issue are essential reading for anyone who wants to understand how we got into this mess and what we can do to get out of it."
Mark Jaccard, Professor, School of Resource and Environmental Management, Simon Fraser University
"Jim Hoggan's monumental study explores a wide range of thought about the babel that passes for public discourse today. Anyone concerned about how civil society can be better informed so decisions can be made for the public's long term interests must read this deeply thoughtful book."
David Suzuki, science broadcaster and environmental activist
"James Hoggan's book could not be more timely....A must-read for anyone who despairs at the pollution in the public square. It doesn't have to be this way, says Hoggan. There is a way out."
Gillian Findlay, Host, CBC News: the fifth estate
"Conversation is the essence of being human. To converse is to listen, to respect, to love and so to be open to fresh ideas and perspectives. James Hoggan has illuminated a series of amazing conversations with thinkers and doers....This is a text which should be thought, not just read, by all who seek reconciliation."
Professor Tim O'Riordan OBE DL FBA
"Impressive list of contributors; important topic; inspired insight."
Brenda Morrison, Ph.D, Director, Centre for Restorative Justice, Simon Fraser University"
"James Hoggan has interviewed a diverse group of thinkers, from pundits to psychologists, seeking explanations of and alternatives to the all-too-familiar "stubborn adversarial advocacy" that pervades public discourse. This engaging and important book offers a blueprint toward empathy, flexibility, and creativity instead of narrow-minded demagoguery."
Scott Slovic, coeditor, Numbers and Nerves: Information, Emotion, and Meaning in a World of Data