“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
“I’m Right and You’re an Idiot is a sound resource for self-evaluation. The book’s call for more sound, less-polarized public conversations is a wonderful challenge I intend to take up.”
—Evangeline Lilly, Canadian author and actor
“This book should be required reading for every person engaged in the most polarizing issues of our time – whether it be climate change, healthcare, or global conflicts.”
—John Ruffolo, CEO, OMERS Ventures
“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’s illuminating text should be thought, not just read, by all who seek reconciliation.”
—Professor Tim O’Riordan, Emeritus Professor Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia
In my experience in the world’s crisis zones, inflammatory, toxic discourse exacerbates problems, creating conflict rather than resolving it — and probably gets you killed. So if you want to stay alive, read this incisive book. Honest engagement combined with a healthy dose of empathy is a far better route to constructive dialogue — and survival.
—Nigel Fisher, humanitarian, former UN Assistant Secretary General
As a popularizer of science, I had long assumed the more information people have, the better their actions and decisions. But today the public has unprecedented access to information, yet clearly political, economic and social policies are distorted by other factors. James 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
Hoggan writes superbly about the power of argumentation to strengthen democracy and advance social justice, and how it is so easily manipulated in pursuit of greed, power and politics. This is a must-read for anyone tired of the bullying, the propagandizing, the screaming and the bullsh*t.
—Dr. Samantha Nutt, author, Damned Nations: Greed, Guns, Armies and Aid
Hoggan’s book could not be more timely. At a moment when public discourse has seemingly deteriorated to the point of mean- inglessness, the field abandoned to those who can simply yell the loudest, his call to tune down the volume, tone down the rhetoric and re-engage in civil, fact-based dialogue is more than important, it’s crucial. Possibly our last hope of salvation. The fact this collection was curated by a public relations specialist is interesting; the depth and breadth of the ideas he challenges us with is impressive and ultimately inspiring. 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. His theme is that we all too easily create antagonism and deafness by organizing debates which punish rather than reveal the truth. If the eastern heart and the western mind are fused in honest conversation, the politics of antagonism which dom- inate almost every dialogue these days, would become the creativity of innovation. This is a text which should be thought, not just read, by all who seek reconciliation.
—Professor Tim O’Riordan OBE DL FBA
James Hoggan reminds us that intelligent, meaningful public discourse on seemingly intractable issues such as climate change is necessary to develop consequential solutions—and why we are not there yet. His narrative points the way as to how we can move from the barrier of headline-inducing conflict to the bridge of thoughtful deliberation, moving beyond facts and fanfare to values and vision as drivers of meaningful change. Public narratives need to change and “I’m Right…” shows us why and how.”
—Tamara Vrooman, President and CEO, Vancity
Jim Hoggan has spent decades shaping public discourse. It’s fitting, therefore, that his new book draws on the knowledge of some of the world’s leading thinkers to focus new attention on why the state of public discourse has become so toxic and what we can do to clean it up. As chair of the David Suzuki Foundation, where I have had the pleasure to serve with him, Jim has guided our voice and helped enhance the Foundation’s reputation as one of the country’s most trusted and credible NGOs. We have spent many hours discussing the very issues that Jim has laid out so clearly in his new book because it’s these issues and how we resolve them that will determine our future as a society and the future of our planet. I’m Right, You’re An Idiot: The Toxic State of Public Discourse and How to Clean It Up is essential reading for anyone who is concerned about the deterioration of public discourse and our inability to engage constructively on the social, political and environmental problems we all face.”
— Stephen Bronfman, Executive Chairman, Claridge Inc.
Hoggan has done an admirable job in getting to the root of 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
Learning how to protect the real freedoms we have in our caring society, James Hoggan brings critical insight into how we can have meaningful discourse where we carefully listen and not just hear words. With the political developments in many of our Western democracies, this book is particularly relevant. It is an incredibly important read.”
— Art Verlieb, Q.C., Former President of Law Society of British Columbia
As if the world’s many forms of social distress and environmental damage were not worrisome enough, we struggle even to commu- nicate civilly with each other about these topics. James Hoggan has interviewed a diverse group of thinkers, from pundits to psycholo- gists, 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
Impressive list of contributors; important topic; inspired insights.
—Brenda Morrison, Ph.D, Director, Centre for Restorative Justice, Simon Fraser University