The Power of Us
Harnessing Our Shared Identities to Improve Performance, Increase Cooperation, and Promote Social Harmony
One of the biggest misconceptions we have about our identity is that it’s stable—when in reality, it’s constantly changing to reflect the groups we belong to. In his new award-winning book The Power of Us—a blend of cutting-edge research in psychology and neuroscience—NYU professor Jay Van Bavel reveals how our identities are powerfully influenced by the groups we’re part of, and why this knowledge is especially crucial during the turbulent times we’re living in. Bringing his fascinating research to life in engaging, practical talks, Van Bavel shows us how to harness the power of shared identities in the post-pandemic world: helping us lead more effectively, boost productivity and collaboration, overcome our biases, and inspire real change, both personally and societally.
“The Power of Us is a fascinating journey into the science of identity. It is a practical, entertaining and, above all, vital guide to human behavior.”— Charles Duhigg, bestselling author of The Power Of Habit
Understanding how identity works allows us to take control of who we are and who we want to be. An Associate Professor of Psychology and Neural Science at New York University, Jay Van Bavel examines the psychology of topics like implicit bias, group identity, team performance, decision-making, and public health. In his new book The Power of Us (co-written with Dominic J. Packer), Van Bavel dives deeper into the science of identity. This page-turning exploration reveals how our sense of self—our feelings, beliefs, and behaviors—is derived from our social groups, challenging society’s dominant assumptions about power and influence. Understanding these topics gives us the necessary tools to build smarter, more collaborative groups and teams.
In an age where public life is characterized by ideological battles and impossible conflicts, Van Bavel offers a timely diagnosis for the dissonance ailing our world, as well as a path forward towards collaboration, unity, and success. It is just as applicable for CEOs and leaders making sense of the hybrid workplace, as it is for politicians and government organizations tackling the spread of misinformation online. Charles Duhigg, bestselling author of The Power of Habit, writes, “If you've ever struggled to understand why people join cults or mindlessly conform — or, have wondered how to build great teams and influence better choices, this is the book you need.” As brilliant as it is entertaining, The Power of Us offers a revolutionary lens for seeing and understanding ourselves and each other. It won the APA’s 2022 William James Book Award, the top book award for the entire field of psychology.
Van Bavel was the recipient of the Golden Dozen Teaching Award at NYU, and has won several accolades for his research on how collective concerns shape the brain and behavior. His award-winning research has appeared in The Harvard Business Review, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Scientific American, and has been cited in both the U.S. Supreme Court and Senate. Van Bavel has presented his work for conferences such as TEDx and the World Science Festival; for Fortune 500 organizations such as Uber and Amazon; and for the leading Psychology Departments and Business Schools around the country, including Harvard, Columbia, and Yale. To date, he has published over 100 academic papers, writes a mentoring column for Science Magazine, and has appeared on international media such as NBC News, NPR, and Bloomberg News.