From Random House LLC, Acting With Power published on April 7, 2020.
Grounded in over two decades’ worth of scientific research and inspired by the popular class of the same name at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, Acting with Power offers a new and eye-opening paradigm that overturns everything we thought we knew about the nature of power.
Although we all feel powerless sometimes, we have more power than we tend to believe. That’s because power exists in every relationship, by virtue of the roles we play in others’ lives. But it isn’t a function of status or hierarchy. Rather, it’s about how much we are needed, and the degree to which we fulfill our responsibilities. Power isn’t a tool for self-enhancement or a resource for personal consumption. It’s a part you play in someone else’s story.
We often assume that power flows to those with the loudest voice or the most commanding presence in the room. But, in fact, true power is often much quieter and more deferential than we realize. Moreover, it’s not just how much power we have but how we use it that determines how powerful we actually are.
Actors aren’t the only ones who play roles for a living. Like actors, we all make choices about how to use the power that comes with our given circumstances. We aren’t always cast in the roles we desire—or the ones we feel prepared to play. Some of us struggle to step up and be taken more seriously, while others have trouble standing back and ceding the spotlight. Some of us are used to hearing we are too aggressive, while others are constantly being told we are too nice. Deborah Gruenfeld shows how we can all get more comfortable with power by adopting an actor’s mindset.
We all know what it looks like to use power badly. This book is about how to use power well.
Be sure to pick up a copy for yourself here.
Buzz for Acting With Power
“A smart, interesting, and timely book about how to use power in everyday life—and, just as important, how not to.” —Daniel Gilbert, Harvard psychologist and author of Stumbling on Happiness
“A refreshing and enlightening new perspective on what it means to be powerful.” —Susan Cain, bestselling author of Quiet
“‘All the world’s a stage . . . and one man in his time plays many parts.’ Acting with Power stirs us to give our best performance as players on the corporate stage. It shows how the power we do possess can be used well, humanely, for the advancement of something more than our personal success. Deborah Gruenfeld’s book directs us in the art of acquiring power by using our abilities while being our authentic selves. This book is a treasure.” —Tristan Walker, founder and CEO of Walker & Company Brands
“Acting with Power is an entertaining and uplifting read, filled with sharp insight and practical advice. This book will change how you think about power and how you handle it—and will help you see the power you may not have known you have.” —Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and founder of LeanIn.Org and OptionB.Org
“Gruenfeld’s perspective on power had a big impact on us at eBay. In her new book, she offers fresh insights on the important topic of how we deal with our own power and powerlessness. Acting with Power cuts through the clichés and shows us how power can work.” —John Donahoe, CEO of Nike
“We tend to think of power as something that looks and works more or less the same in anyone who wields it. But as Deborah Gruenfeld explains in this insightful and eye-opening book, there is no one ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to act with power. We can all learn how to adapt our performance based on the setting, the relationship dynamics, and the emotions we bring onstage with us. This brilliant book shows us how.” —Susan David, psychologist, Harvard Medical School, and bestselling author of Emotional Agility
About the Author
Deborah Gruenfeld, PhD is a social psychologist and the Joseph McDonald Professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Gruenfeld’s research has been featured in many scholarly journals as well as in The Wall Street Journal, The New Yorker, O Magazine, The Washington Post, and the Chicago Tribune. Gruenfeld co-directs the Executive Program for Women Leaders at Stanford and teaches courses on power and leadership for a wide variety of audiences around the world, including young company founders and senior executives in large, multinational companies. She sits on the boards of the LeanIn.Org Foundation and Stanford’s Center for the Advancement of Women’s Leadership. You can keep up with all the latest from Deborah on Twitter.