The Way Out: How to Overcome Toxic Polarization


Product Details

$27.95  $25.99
Columbia University Press
Publish Date
6.3 X 9.4 X 1.2 inches | 1.3 pounds

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About the Author

Peter T. Coleman is professor of psychology and education at Columbia University, where he holds a joint appointment at Teachers College and the Earth Institute and directs two research centers. He is the author of Making Conflict Work: Harnessing the Power of Disagreement (2014) and The Five Percent: Finding Solutions to Seemingly Impossible Conflicts (2011), among other books.


The great value of Coleman's book consists in setting out positive approaches that can be pursued where disputes on political issues relate to people's differing values and priorities, and where our emotional impulses prevent effective engagement with other people: for this reason, the book should be widely read and used by conflict resolution practitioners.--Process North
Here's what everyone's looking for: a way out of this mess. Peter Coleman tells us how to find it. Read this book to make it happen.--Timothy Shriver, cofounder of UNITE, chairman of Special Olympics International
Peter T. Coleman has done some of the deepest reading, research, and inquiry into the nature of conflicts around the world. In The Way Out, he trains his highly sophisticated eye on the polarized environment that has arisen in the United States. The result is a primer on how to think about addressing polarization that is academic but relatable, creative but deeply researched, and ambitious but grounded in the real-life experience of everyday Americans. This book should be required reading for anyone who cares about the future of this country.--Abigail Disney, documentary filmmaker, activist, cofounder of Fork Films, and podcast host of All Ears
Coleman's latest is a tour de force: eminently readable, with compelling stories from the streets of Watertown, MA, and the negotiating tables of Northern Ireland yet replete with frameworks and insights that help Americans understand--and chart a way out of--our polarized national condition. The Way Out is a road map to a more perfect union.--Shamil Idriss, CEO of Search for Common Ground
I read this remarkable book the week after the Capitol riot, when so many Americans were asking: How did we get here, and what do we do now? Coleman is among the world's top experts on conflict resolution, and this book really does show us 'the way out.' It is essential reading for the divisive 2020s. The book will be of great help to anyone who wants to reduce or resolve conflicts, not just over politics but over everything that divides our communities, organizations, and families.--Jonathan Haidt, Thomas Cooley Professor of Ethical Leadership, New York University-Stern School of Business, author of The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion
Peter T. Coleman's The Way Out offers us hope in trying times. Based on decades of original research on how people and communities escape deeply divisive conflicts, Coleman weaves together insights from empirical science on peacebuilding with anecdotes from troubled lives to offer us a guiding star--and a set of new rules--for finding our way out of our current state of American psychosis--Van Jones, CNN political contributor, host of The Van Jones Show and The Redemption Project
The Way Out offers the most comprehensive and succinct understanding of how polarization leads to harm and dysfunction in our current American landscape. With the clarity of empirical evidence and open imagination, these pages explore the opportunities available to engage and transform these dynamics toward far healthier and responsive interactions that reinvigorate our social contract and democracy. A treasure trove of insight and instruction, this is the best scientific and practical guide I have read about toxic polarization. Peter T. Coleman's gift of a book could not be better timed or more laser focused.--John Paul Lederach, author of The Moral Imagination: The Art and Soul of Building Peace
Polarization is one of the biggest problems of our time, and I can't think of a better place to find solutions than Coleman's brilliant research. Whether you're trying to navigate a disagreement at your dinner table or build a bridge between divided communities, these pages won't just change how you think about the causes of conflict--they'll also open your eyes to new cures. This book is a remarkable combination of scientific insight, practical guidance, and grounded hope.--Adam Grant, New York Times best-selling author of Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don't Know
In The Way Out, Peter T. Coleman tackles a critically important issue, a topic on everyone's mind: the emergence of a unique brand of polarization, centered less on policy disputes than on tribal instincts. Not only do we disagree with the other side, but we are convinced that their views are dangerous and that they are the true threat to the nation. Coleman lays out a new perspective regarding the roots of this hyperpolarization in a lively, accessible way and, most importantly, offers a detailed map out of the quagmire.--Daniel M. Shea, author of Why Vote? Essential Questions About the Future of Elections in America