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Joseph Marks

Understanding who we trust and why is essential to leadership, power, and building relationships.

Visiting Lecturer at University of London | Co-Author of Messengers

Contact Joseph For Booking
Joseph Marks | Visiting Lecturer at University of London | Co-Author of Messengers
Lavin Exclusive Speaker

Presidential Lies. Mass hysteria on Twitter. The surprising success of Brexit campaigners. In his revelatory book Messengers, Joseph Marks explains how the most infuriating phenomena of the modern age can be traced back to who’s delivering the message—and why they are believed, oftentimes regardless of the data. Thoroughly researched, frighteningly timely, and psychologically gripping, Messengers is a profound exploration of influence, trust, and leadership.

“Some books help us become better citizens. Others help us perform better at our jobs. This remarkable book somehow manages to do both. Messengers is an essential read for everyone.”

— Daniel H. Pink, author of Drive

We live in a world where proven facts are available at our fingertips—yet ignorant pseudo-pundits are continually believed, often over the thoughtful experts backed up by hard data. Why? Psychological scientist Joseph Marks argues that in our increasingly uncertain world, factors like social connectedness and financial prestige are becoming more and more important in determining who we trust. In Messengers: Who we Listen To, Who We Don’t, and Why, Marks and his co-author Steve Martin explain what the implications are when we fail to separate the messenger from the message—for politics, business, and community—and what we can do about it.  


Marks is a visiting lecturer at the University of London, and a visiting researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. As an Associate Consultant for Influence at Work (UK)—an organization that helps companies become more effective at persuasion—his research has been applied across a variety of business and public policy settings, including financial regulation, healthcare, and public transport. Marks’ work has also been published in academic journals and featured in The New York Times andThe Guardian. He is also a guest contributor for Psychology Today. Marks holds an undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Birmingham and a Master’s degree in Social Cognition from University College London.  

Speech Topics

Messengers Who We Listen To, Who We Don't, and Why
Why do irrelevant details, such as wealth, appearance, or perceived confidence influence who we listen to—often more so than the actual facts? Although we like to think we listen to those with the best ideas, most logical arguments, and thought-through proposals, the reality is that people usually rely on judgments they form about the messenger—that is, the person communicating the information. In this talk, Joseph Marks compellingly illustrates how trust is won, even when it may not be deserved, and why some people so often get their way in job interviews, group discussions, and even courtrooms—despite having no great advantage in the qualifications they hold, the knowledge they possess, or the rationale underlying their case.
Based on the timely, engaging and illuminating book Messengers, this talk helps us understand how society’s messengers can influence, persuade, and change behavior on an individual scale, as well as how they shape our collective values, beliefs, and actions.