opening minds: the secret world of manipulation, undue influence and brainwashing is the newest book written by Jon Atack, ex-Scientologist and author of the best book on Scientology. This masterfully written primer on undue influence is the first project of the newly formed non-profit organization Open Minds Foundation (OMF).
Of course, you might expect I would write a positive review. I’m on the advisory board of OMF, and Jon is a long time personal friend. He is one of the smartest and most well read people I have the pleasure to know. He is an artist. A musician. A translator of Lao Tze. I sincerely endorse this book because it is worthy of high praise.
With his typical clear and brilliant style, Jon covers so many essential models (Lifton’s Eight Criteria of Thought Reform, Festinger’s Cognitive Dissonance model…) and historical examples of the 500 year old legal concept of Undue Influence. He effectively uses story-telling to bring the book to life. His book orients the reader and provides an understandable framework for how our minds work, and how intelligent and functional people can become victims of undue influence.
Jon has written a classic. His new book is a must-read for everyone, not just ex-Scientologists or who have been affected by undue influence. It will help you understand unethical influence in a wide variety of contexts including cults, parental alienation, terrorist recruitment, and more. Consider buying copies to donate to your local library, mental health professionals, politicians, and educators.
Hopefully, this book will be translated in all languages and it will serve as a foundation to create global awareness about how humans can be deceived, manipulated, and enslaved so we can protect human rights everywhere.
From all of us at FoM, have a Happy New Year!