An eminent psychologist explains why dissent should be cherished, not feared
We've decided by consensus that consensus is good. In In Defense of Troublemakers, psychologist Charlan Nemeth argues that this principle is completely wrong: left unchallenged, the majority opinion is often biased, unoriginal, or false. It leads planes and markets to crash, causes juries to convict innocent people, and can quite literally make people think blue is green. In the name of comity, we embrace stupidity. We can make better decisions by embracing dissent. Dissent forces us to question the status quo, consider more information, and engage in creative decision-making.
From Twelve Angry Men to Edward Snowden, lone objectors who make people question their assumptions bring groups far closer to truth--regardless of whether they are right or wrong. Essential reading for anyone who works in groups, In Defense of Troublemakers will radically change the way you think, listen, and make decisions.
"There are many such useful ideas in Charlan Nemeth's In Defense of Troublemakers, her study of dissent in life and the workplace. But if this one alone takes hold, it could transform millions of meetings, doing away with all those mushy, consensus-driven hours wasted by people too scared of disagreement or power to speak truth to gibberish."-Wall Street Journal
Charlan Nemeth is a professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. She lives in San Francisco.