2023-2024 Go Big Read: How Minds Change: The Surprising Science of Belief, Opinion, and Persuasion by David McRaney

Cover of How Minds Change

What made a prominent conspiracy-theorist YouTuber finally see that 9/11 was not a hoax? How do voter opinions shift from neutral to resolute? Can widespread social change only take place when a generation dies out? From one of our greatest thinkers on reasoning, HOW MINDS CHANGE is a book about the science, and the experience, of transformation.

When self-delusion expert and psychology nerd David McRaney began a book about how to change someone’s mind in one conversation, he never expected to change his own. But then a diehard 9/11 Truther’s conversion blew up his theories—inspiring him to ask not just how to persuade, but why we believe, from the eye of the beholder. Delving into the latest research of psychologists and neuroscientists, HOW MINDS CHANGE explores the limits of reasoning, the power of groupthink, and the effects of deep canvassing. Told with McRaney’s trademark sense of humor, compassion, and scientific curiosity, it’s an eye-opening journey among cult members, conspiracy theorists, and political activists, from Westboro Baptist Church picketers to LGBTQ campaigners in California—that ultimately challenges us to question our own motives and beliefs. In an age of dangerous conspiratorial thinking, can we rise to the occasion with empathy?

An expansive, big-hearted journalistic narrative, HOW MINDS CHANGE reaches surprising and thought-provoking conclusions, to demonstrate the rare but transformative circumstances under which minds can change.

Book Website

UW–Madison Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin (Photo by Jeff Miller / UW-Madison)

Press Release

Read Chancellor Mnookin’s Press Release about the book: ‘How Minds Change’ chosen as 2023-24 Go Big Read book

Keynote Event

Featuring David McRaney (author) and Chancellor Jennifer L. Mnookin

Tuesday, November 7, 2023
7:00 -8:30 P.M.
Memorial Union Theater — Shannon Hall (no tickets required)

Book Resources

Author Information

How Minds Change Discussion Guide

Go Big Read Marketing Toolkit

Other Media and Press Releases

The Guardian Book Review

Wisconsin Public Radio Interview

Go Big Read Author Keynote – David McRaney

Facilitating Book Discussions

Book Discussion Toolkit – Resources on how to facilitate book discussions

How Minds Change Discussion Questions– Discussion questions curated to be used in book discussions

How Minds Change Themes – List of themes in books with page number index

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