Honest Signals: How They Shape Our World by Alex Pentland

Honest Signals: How They Shape Our World

byAlex Pentland

Paperback | September 24, 2010

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How can you know when someone is bluffing? Paying attention? Genuinely interested? The answer, writes Alex Pentland in Honest Signals, is that subtle patterns in how we interact with other people reveal our attitudes toward them. These unconscious social signals are not just a back channel or a complement to our conscious language; they form a separate communication network. Biologically based "honest signaling," evolved from ancient primate signaling mechanisms, offers an unmatched window into our intentions, goals, and values. If we understand this ancient channel of communication, Pentland claims, we can accurately predict the outcomes of situations ranging from job interviews to first dates.

Pentland, an MIT professor, has used a specially designed digital sensor worn like an ID badge -- a "sociometer" -- to monitor and analyze the back-and-forth patterns of signaling among groups of people. He and his researchers found that this second channel of communication, revolving not around words but around social relations, profoundly influences major decisions in our lives -- even though we are largely unaware of it. Pentland presents the scientific background necessary for understanding this form of communication, applies it to examples of group behavior in real organizations, and shows how by "reading" our social networks we can become more successful at pitching an idea, getting a job, or closing a deal. Using this "network intelligence" theory of social signaling, Pentland describes how we can harness the intelligence of our social network to become better managers, workers, and communicators.

About The Author

Alex (Sandy) Pentland is a leader in organizational engineering, mobile information systems, and computational social science. He directs the MIT Media Lab's Digital Life Consortium, a group of more than twenty multinational corporations exploring new ways to innovate, and is Founder of MIT's Legatum Center for Development and Entrepre...
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Details & Specs

Title:Honest Signals: How They Shape Our WorldFormat:PaperbackDimensions:208 pages, 8 × 5.38 × 0.56 inPublished:September 24, 2010Publisher:The MIT PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0262515121

ISBN - 13:9780262515122

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How can you know when someone is bluffing? Paying attention? Genuinely interested? The answer, writes Alex Pentland in Honest Signals, is that subtle patterns in how we interact with other people reveal our attitudes toward them. These unconscious social signals are not just a back channel or a complement to our conscious language; they form a separate communication network. Biologically based "honest signaling," evolved from ancient primate signaling mechanisms, offers an unmatched window into our intentions, goals, and values. If we understand this ancient channel of communication, Pentland claims, we can accurately predict the outcomes of situations ranging from job interviews to first dates. Pentland, an MIT professor, has used a specially designed digital sensor worn like an ID badge -- a "sociometer" -- to monitor and analyze the back-and-forth patterns of signaling among groups of people. He and his researchers found that this second channel of communication, revolving not around words but around social relations, profoundly influences major decisions in our lives -- even though we are largely unaware of it. Pentland presents the scientific background necessary for understanding this form of communication, applies it to examples of group behavior in real organizations, and shows how by "reading" our social networks we can become more successful at pitching an idea, getting a job, or closing a deal. Using this "network intelligence" theory of social signaling, Pentland describes how we can harness the intelligence of our social network to become better managers, workers, and communicators. Sandy Pentland, always ahead of everyone, has captured in this snappy and well written book, the deep signals we use to communicate and how they shape and reveal our social behavior. A must read.