Eleanor Gordon-Smith

Jan 29, 2020

Stop Being Reasonable

How We Really Change Our Minds

PublicAffairs 2019

purchase at bookshop.org

With today's furious political and cultural divisions, it's easy to shake our heads in exasperation at those who disagree with us.

In this episode with Australian writer and philosopher, Eleanor Gordon-Smith, we take a journey to the limits of human reason. Her compelling new book, Stop Being Reasonable: How We Really Change Our Minds (PublicAffairs, 2019) features six high-stakes personal stories of successful persuasion that illustrate what most of us get wrong about rationality.

"Hearing the story of how somebody changes their mind is hearing the story of how they change their life," Eleanor tells us. "Why, when we know that changing our minds is as tangled and difficult and messy as we are, do we stay so wedded to the thought that rational debate is the way to go about it?"

The book and our podcast begin with Eleanor interviewing men who catcalled her in the street and made obscene gestures. Did she convince these guys to change their behavior? Find out what happened...


Richard Davies and Jim Meigs are the host of the terrific podcast “How Do We Fix It?,” on which they talk to the world’s most creative thinkers about, well, how to fix things. Lots of things. Important ones. Highly recommended. You can find “How Do We Fix It” on Apple Podcasts.

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