The Science of Trust and Why It Matters
Recommended Reading, Forbes
Featured in Slate and NPR’s Brian Lehrer Show
“Smart, engrossing and compulsively readable,” former NPR chief Ken Stern
We’re not supposed to trust others. Look at the headlines. Read the blogs. Study the survey data. It seems that everyone is wary, that everyone is just looking out for themselves. But a spate of new research suggests that people are often deeply trusting. Far more than you might think, people place their faith in others–and return that faith once it’s given. What’s more, our trust in others turns out to be a type of social cement. It’s ultimately what keeps our nation together as a nation.
But as a society, we don’t do nearly enough to foster a sense of connection, a feeling of community and social cohesion, and in The Leap, I show how the emerging science of trust can rebuild our economy–and strengthen our sense of society. As part of this engaging and deeply researched narrative, I visit a radio soap opera in Rwanda that aims to restore the country’s broken trust, profile the man who brought honesty to one of the most corrupt nations cities in Latin America, and explain how a college dropout managed to con his way into American high society.
I even go skydiving to see if the experience will increase my levels of oxytocin, the so-called “trust hormone.”
A powerful mix of hard science and compelling storytelling, The Leap explores how we trust, why we trust, and what we can all do to deepen social trust. The book includes insightful policy recommendations along with surprising new data on the state of social trust in America today.
“Traveling from rural Rwanda to corporate America, and from paying taxes to using technology, Boser argues that individuals are hardwired for trust and trustworthiness and that emphasizing and restoring trust can benefit us as humans as well as our institutions and communities,” David Slocum, Forbes.com
“Understanding that trust matters is not the same as actually doing something to build it at work, home, or on a team. This is where “The Leap” is particularly helpful. Boser offers an organized, thoughtful tour of the research and history of efforts to build trust between individuals, within and between groups, and in society at-large,” Conor Williams, Talking Points Memo
“A marvelous book: smart, engrossing and compulsively readable. Everyone talks about loss of trust in government and institutions, and finally there is a book that explores the issue in a meaningful way—and provides real ideas on how to restore trust. A significant contribution to our understanding of what builds civil society,” Ken Stern, former Chief Executive Officer of NPR and author of With Charity for All
“Why should we all take a leap of faith into the world of trust? Ulrich Boser provides the profound answer in this thorough, insightful analysis of the psychology of social connectedness where we weigh communal interest over self-interest, selflessness over selfishness, giving to others over being a taker,” Philip Zimbardo, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus at Stanford University and author of The Lucifer Effect
“Twenty years after Americans were warned about ‘Bowling Alone,’ Ulrich Boser takes us from cutting-edge psychology labs to the villages of Rwanda to better understand who we trust, how we decide, and why it matters. In an increasingly atomized world, The Leap charts a path towards stronger human bonds,” John Podesta, former Chief of Staff to President Bill Clinton
“Ulrich Boser examines one of the most crucial questions facing our nation today: Can we work together? In this vitally important book, Boser details the corrupting force that income inequality has had on social cohesion. For all those concerned about our nation’s public policy, this book is a critical read,” Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress.
A couple of photos below that didn’t make it into the book
This is me skydiving to see if my “trust hormone” goes up.
An MIT scientist has invented a sociometer, which measures a person’s “honesty signals.” I wore one for a weekend.
In Rwanda, I visited with some Hutus and Tutsis who reconciled after a brutal genocide.
Press Kit. Member of the media? Need a backgrounder? Want to land a galley of the book? Or maybe you just love all things journalism. Whatever the case, please just download the book’s press kit.
Guide for policymakers. There’s a lot that policymakers can do to improve our trust in others, and I’ve written a guide for policymakers, which can help the nation rebuild its faith in others—and reinvest in its sagging social capital. (Image via Wiki)
State-by-state data. Here’s a snapshot of the data that I used for spreadsheet. It includes key state-by-state indicators on trust. To my knowledge, this data has never been published before, and it provides important insights on the state of social cohesion today.
TV Interviews. Emily Rooney had me on her show to talk about trust and social cohesion.
And if you’re looking for my list of corrections, clarifications, and other post-release explainers, that’s over here