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Cracking the Code: How to Win Hearts, Change Minds, and Restore America's Original Vision Hardcover – November 1, 2007

4.7 out of 5 stars 53 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

As you read deeply in this book, you'll see things you hadn't realized were there--in everything from advertising to political rants. You'll learn the three ways people absorb information and how to appeal to each to get your message across, the kinds of words to use when trying to sway people and the kinds to avoid. why politics is all about stories and how knowing what those stories are will help you understand and connect with your audience, and much more.

Whether you're a politician, an activist, a volunteer, or a concerned citizen, you'll develop a strong sense for how to reach into that part of the collective human psyche where we truly do have the power to create a new world.

From the Back Cover

The Art and Science of Political Persuasion

Too many Americans are acting against their best interests, buying into a right-wing line whose practical effect is to leave them marginalized and struggling. Why are the representatives the Right able to make their message so appealing? Because they've learned the techniques of effective communication--and you can too. Drawing on his rich background as a psychotherapist and advertising executive as well as a nationally syndicated Air America radio host, Thom Hartmann tells how to communicate the progressive message in a compelling and persuasive way. He explains what science has learned about how people actually perceive information and shows how to use this knowledge to truly connect with people. Cracking the Code gives you the tools you need to refute right-wing propaganda and reclaim America as a nation of We the People.

"No one communicates more thoughtfully or effectively on the radio airwaves than Thom Hartmann. He gets inside the arguments and helps people to think them through--to understand how to respond when they're talking about public issues with coworkers, neighbors, and friends. This book explores some of the key perspectives behind his approach, teaching us not just how to find the facts, but to talk about what they mean in a way that people will hear."
--Paul Loeb, author of Soul of a Citizen

"Thom Hartmann's book is an excellent primer in communication techniques. But unlike other message makers, Hartmann has genuine substance. He is restoring the radical populist tradition to the mainstream of our culture. Much of what we revere as Americans, Hartmann believes, was created by radicals who simply were ahead of their time."
-- Tom Hayden

"Thom Hartmann ought to be bronzed. His new book sets off from the same high plane as the last and offers explicit tools and how-to advice that will allow you to see, hear, and feel propaganda when it's directed at you and use the same techniques to refute it. His book would make a deaf-mute a better communicator. I want him on my reading table every day, and if you try one of his books, so will you."
--Peter Coyote, actor and author of Sleeping Where I Fall "In Cracking the Code, Thom Hartmann, America's most popular, informed, and articulate progressive talk show host and political analyst, tells us what makes humans vulnerable to unscrupulous propagandists and what we can do about it. It is essential reading for all Americans who are fed up with right-wing extremists manipulating our minds and politics to promote agendas contrary to our core values and interests."
--David C. Korten, author of The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community and When Corporations Rule the World and board chair of YES! magazine


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 220 pages
  • Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers; Reprint edition (November 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1576754588
  • ISBN-13: 978-1576754580
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,173,154 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Thom Hartmann is the four-time Project Censored Award-winning, New York Times best-selling author of 23 books currently in print in over a dozen languages on five continents.
Hartmann is also an internationally known speaker on culture and communications, an author, and an innovator in the fields of psychiatry, ecology, and economics.
The co-founder (with his wife, Louise) and former Executive Director of The New England Salem Children's Village (1978) and The Hunter School (1997), he has led national innovations in the areas of residential treatment for abused children and private/public education for learning-disabled children.
He has helped set up hospitals, famine relief programs, schools, and refugee centers in India, Uganda, Australia, Colombia, Russia, and the United States through the German-based Salem International program. Formerly rostered with the State of Vermont as a psychotherapist, founder of The Michigan Healing Arts Center, and licensed as an NLP Trainer by Richard Bandler (who wrote the foreword to one of Thom's books), he was the originator of the revolutionary "Hunter/Farmer Hypothesis" to understand the psychiatric condition known as Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD).
A guest faculty member at Goddard College in Vermont, he also synthesized the "Younger/Older Culture model" for describing the underpinnings - and possible solutions - to the world's ecological and socio-political crises, suggesting that many of our problems are grounded in cultural "stories" which go back thousands of years.
Leonardo DiCaprio was inspired by Thom's book "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight" to make the movie "The 11th Hour" (in which Thom appears), and Warner Brothers is making a movie starring DiCaprio and Robert De Niro from the book Thom co-authored with Lamar Waldron, "Legacy of Secrecy."
Talkers Magazine named Thom Hartmann as the 8th most important talk show host in America in 2011, 2012, and 2013 (10th the two previous years), and for three of the past five years the #1 most important progressive host, in their "Heavy Hundred" ranking. His radio show is syndicated on for-profit radio stations nationwide by Dial-Global, on non-profit and community stations nationwide by Pacifica, across the entire North American continent on SiriusXM Satellite radio, on cable systems nationwide by Cable Radio Network (CRN), on its own YouTube channel, via Livestream on its own Livestream channel, via subscription podcasts, worldwide through the US Armed Forces Network, and through the Thom Hartmann App in the App Store. The radio show is also simulcast as TV in realtime into nearly 60 million US and Canadian homes by the Free Speech TV Network on Dish Network, DirectTV, and cable TV systems nationwide.
His evening TV program, The Big Picture, is wholly owned by his own production company, produced in the RT studios, and licensed to and carried by Free Speech TV in the US, and into over 600 million homes in 104 countries via broadcast and cable by the RT TV network, and distributed worldwide on the web on Hulu.
As an entrepreneur, he's founded several successful businesses which still are operating, and lived and worked with his wife, Louise, and their three (now adult) children on several continents.
He was born and grew up in Michigan, and retains strong ties to the Midwest, although he and Louise have lived in New Hampshire, Vermont, Georgia, Germany, and Oregon...and now live on a boat in Washington D.C. with their attack-cat, Higgins.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Thom Hartmann, one of the top progressive talk radio "stars,", who replaced Al Franken on Air America Radio, has delivered a gift to anyone who wants to persuade others. It will be required reading for anyone trying convince people to act, take a stand or vote in some way.

This book is ALL about how to communicate, how to reach, how to persuade. There are books that talk about this based on moral/cultural values, books that talk about neuropsychological considerations, that talk about the use of narrative and story, books about hypnotic elements, like trance and pacing, on framing, on motivation... lots of books. This book ties all those different ideas and approaches together, in an easily understandable, coherent package.

As founder publisher of opednews dot com, publishing 1200 to 1500 articles a month, reaching close to half a million unique visitors a month, it's my job to have a pretty good idea about what makes for good writing and persuasion. We've published 45 articles, at the time of the writing of this review, by Hartmann, and he's one of the best at at effectively getting across a message and reaching people.

As a conference organizer for 15 years, running conferences on the brain, peak performance, the art, science and application of story, on positive psychology and optimal functioning... I've worked with many hundreds of speakers. Thom Hartmann is one of the best. That's why I'd have him speak on how to persuade, how to get people to change their minds. At the conferences, he trained trainers-- educators, writers, storytellers, psychologists and psychotherapists, screenwriters, salesmen. And he always got the highest reviews for the meeting.
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Format: Hardcover
Consider this the penultimate conclusion to the Thom Hartmann trilogy. In "We The People," Hartmann taught us about civics and our constitution. In "Screwed," Hartmann explained how our basic rights were be usurped by coporations in favor a free-market system that benefits only the rich. Now, Thom is teaching us how to fight back. By breaking down and decoding the language that has been used to deceive a massive number of American people, we can learn how to use that very language to educate others who fall for things like "Islamofascism" and live in fear and fight back with our own tools for restoring democracy.

All of Thom's books are easy to read, and this one is no exception. After having spent a couple years now as one of the top hosts at Air America Radio, it shows in Thom's writing. "Cracking the Code" feels like Thom is in the room talking, explaining, and backing up his information just like he does every day on his talk show. If you're interested in learning about the marketing of language in our current political system, this is a must-have.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When I purchased this book, I was expecting an extension of Hartmann's work from his last book. It was, to a degree that, but also something totally different. While Hartmann is an unapologetic liberal, this book can be used by either side to determine what politicians are telling us.

A mixture of politics and psychology, the book details how people communicate and gives the reader numerous examples throughout. He explains, in depth, the signals that are given through communication to talk with a particular segment of voters, and why these phrases and words are so effective at sending the desired method.

I have always been leery of "pop" psychology, and this book proved to be no different. I did, however, use the advice in this book to follow several politicians speeches, and realized what he is saying is true.

A great book if you want to be able to decipher the language of politicians, or be able to persuade people to your side of the argument. While written from a liberal standpoint, conservatives would do well to read this, as it will work both ways.
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Format: Hardcover
This book brings a wealth of information in a format that is easy to read and understand. Although the lessons are complex, Thom's story-telling style dosed with humor and anecdotal background make the learning process enjoyable. Words are powerful when communication skills are honed, and this book will help create great communicators capable of active listening.
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I'm such a kindred spirit of Hartmann's that I often think that I thought of what he says before he says it on Air America. As a writer, I found this book one that expresses in clear language many points that I thought I knew beforehand. But I never put them together logically the way he has. Since then, I've tried to use ideas in this book to guide me in writing some paragraphs that could be used in campaigning for sustainable living, and I've found that when you consciously use his techniques, you come up with something powerful. At one "group think" an acquaintance of mine objected that if convincing people is this kind of emotional exercise, he wants none of it. He prefers pounding people with "facts." Well, Hartmann has it right. We progressives need to sharpen our story. The only criticism I have of this book is that it is too facile. I hope that when the 2008 presidential campaign is over, he slows down and takes a long look at the psychological ebb and flow of it, and how the media abused the public and the candidates. He could come up with something very, very good.
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