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Home » How To Be More Powerful Than Powerless: Ron Carucci (Transcript)

How To Be More Powerful Than Powerless: Ron Carucci (Transcript)

Ron Carucci at TEDxSnoIsleLibraries

Full text of author Ron Carucci’s talk: How To Be More Powerful Than Powerless at TEDxSnoIsleLibraries conference. In this talk, he explores this mysterious force of human nature and answers the questions: Where does power come from? Who gets to have it? How do we relate to it or misuse it?

Listen to the MP3 Audio here: How to be more powerful than powerless by Ron Carucci


Ron Carucci – Leadership researcher and author


It’s one of the most mysterious social forces in all of human existence – the exertion of our will on others.

For some, just hearing the word causes anxiety. It pits our basic sense of human kindness against the seduction of self-interest. It defines and reveals how we participate in relationships.

And for some, that conditioning starts in the earliest part of our social development.


Well, playground-bullying teaches us the painful consequences of power over others. Whether we’re the bully or the bullied!

Our parents give away our Halloween candy to late trick-or-treaters, and we quickly know how unfair resource allocation decisions can be.

A teacher falsely accuses us of cheating on a test and we feel how fickle the decisions of those in power can be, and the terrible injustice of having the real cheater go free without accountability.

The soccer coach puts in his own kid to kick the winning goal instead of the most talented player. And we feel the disempowering effects of favoritism and wonder just how rare is meritocracy!

Remember being asked the captain kickball at recess and pick teams, and later facing the anger of our friends we didn’t pick. And learning that sometimes having power means making really hard trade-offs.

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