Messengers
"In the age of fake news, understanding who we trust and why is essential in explaining everything from leadership to power to our daily relationships." -Sinan AralWe live in a world where proven facts and verifiable data are freely and widely available. Why, then, are self-confident ignoramuses so often believed over thoughtful experts? And why do seemingly irrelevant details such as a person's appearance or financial status influence whether or not we trust what they are saying, regardless of their wisdom or foolishness?Stephen Martin and Joseph Marks compellingly explain how in our uncertain and ambiguous world, the messenger is increasingly the message. We frequently fail, they argue, to separate the idea being communicated from the person conveying it, explaining why the status or connectedness of the messenger has become more important than the message itself.Messengers influence business, politics, local communities, and our broader society. And Martin and Marks reveal the forces behind the most infuriating phenomena of our modern era, such as belief in fake news and how presidents can hawk misinformation and flagrant lies yet remain.

Messengers Details

TitleMessengers
Author
ReleaseSep 19th, 2019
PublisherPublicAffairs
ISBN-139781541724389
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Psychology, Business, Sociology, Self Help

Messengers Review

  • Shelly
    January 1, 1970
    Messengers: Who We Listen To, Who We Don't, and Why, is an insightful, engrossing and educative book. In the 21st century we find ourselves impacted more and more by influencers. We look to individuals we perceive as prominent and dynamic and take our social, professional, political and consumer cues from them. But how exactly does an individual gain the power to have influence over us, even when perhaps they should not? Why do some people with expertise, knowledge and good intentions get largel Messengers: Who We Listen To, Who We Don't, and Why, is an insightful, engrossing and educative book. In the 21st century we find ourselves impacted more and more by influencers. We look to individuals we perceive as prominent and dynamic and take our social, professional, political and consumer cues from them. But how exactly does an individual gain the power to have influence over us, even when perhaps they should not? Why do some people with expertise, knowledge and good intentions get largely ignored despite their competence and proficiency? The logic and salience of the message, it turns out, is not nearly as important as the messenger. The messenger becomes inexorably linked to the message. Because the messenger conveys social context that the message does not, the messenger effectively overshadows the message itself. On both macro and micro levels, messages get lost or inflated by the very messengers that carry them. Martin and Marks examine eight crucial traits that shape effective messengers and largely determine the communicative hierarchy. Five stars.
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  • Lilisa
    January 1, 1970
    Well organized and insightful, this book is deftly packaged focusing on who we listen to, who we don’t and why. In an ever-increasingly over-crowded shrill world where competing interests and their backers are jockeying for our attention and vote - whether it’s on a product, service, or person - who carries “the message” is key. What drives us to suspend rational thinking and facts and be swayed by those influencers/messengers deployed to coax us into believing that which may or may not be true. Well organized and insightful, this book is deftly packaged focusing on who we listen to, who we don’t and why. In an ever-increasingly over-crowded shrill world where competing interests and their backers are jockeying for our attention and vote - whether it’s on a product, service, or person - who carries “the message” is key. What drives us to suspend rational thinking and facts and be swayed by those influencers/messengers deployed to coax us into believing that which may or may not be true. It’s the messenger, stupid! Stephen Martin and Joseph Marks walk us through the many ways in which we are influenced by messengers - based on a multitude of factors.With specific examples and data points, the authors break down for us how we are susceptible to the messages conveyed by artful messengers regardless of what’s fact or fiction. No matter how discerning we are, we are all influenced by warmth and charisma, trustworthiness and vulnerability. We are impressed by competence and socio-economic position, swayed by attractiveness. This is an interesting and well written book, reinforcing what we may already know and shedding new light on what we may not with cited research. Messengers matter, messengers are key, beware of messengers! :-) A recommended read. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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  • Yzabel Ginsberg
    January 1, 1970
    [I received a copy through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.]An interesting read altogether, although I sometimes found it too ‘light’ and superficial. Perhaps because of the many anecdotes it contains? On the one hand, they do help in getting the point, for sure, but after a while I felt that the book would be definitely more of an introduction (with the research quoted in it having to become the actual focus at some point) than a reference all of itself. Perhaps that was the goal a [I received a copy through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.]An interesting read altogether, although I sometimes found it too ‘light’ and superficial. Perhaps because of the many anecdotes it contains? On the one hand, they do help in getting the point, for sure, but after a while I felt that the book would be definitely more of an introduction (with the research quoted in it having to become the actual focus at some point) than a reference all of itself. Perhaps that was the goal all along, though.In any case, I did find this research thought-provoking. It’s not the first time that I’m faced with concepts such as ‘we believe ourselves super good at judging people, circumstances etc, but in fact we’re lousier at it than we’d think’; and, let’s be honest, when I look around me at the kind of messages we get, at who broadcasts them, at how people listen to them… Yes, I’m willing to believe that -who- delivers the message is often better heard than the message itself (or allows for the message to be misunderstood in part). Is that a constant? Not necessarily, since behaviours, physical traits, and how we read them are much more complex than meet the eye; but it doesn’t hurt to keep in mind that, yes, we may just as well be influenced by a “dominant” or “handsome” appearance rather than by sound judgement, while remaining convinced our decision is perfectly rational and informed. If this only leads to think twice and get back to finding facts and information before deciding, it’s a good thing.(I must also admit that the book gives a few good ideas about things like posture and tone of voice to use if wanting to impress people or convey a specific meaning. After all, once aware of what people in general tend to respond to, well, might as well try to use it and see if it helps when trying to convince them myself, right?)Conclusion: 3 to 3.5 stars. It was informative in a general way, yet I think it would’ve benefitted from a deeper analysis as well.
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  • Barred Owl Books
    January 1, 1970
    "In the age of fake news, understanding who we trust and why is essential in explaining everything from leadership to power to our daily relationships." -Sinan AralWe live in a world where proven facts and verifiable data are freely and widely available. Why, then, are self-confident ignoramuses so often believed over thoughtful experts? And why do seemingly irrelevant details such as a person's appearance or financial status influence whether or not we trust what they are saying, re "In the age of fake news, understanding who we trust and why is essential in explaining everything from leadership to power to our daily relationships." -Sinan AralWe live in a world where proven facts and verifiable data are freely and widely available. Why, then, are self-confident ignoramuses so often believed over thoughtful experts? And why do seemingly irrelevant details such as a person's appearance or financial status influence whether or not we trust what they are saying, regardless of their wisdom or foolishness?Stephen Martin and Joseph Marks compellingly explain how in our uncertain and ambiguous world, the messenger is increasingly the message. We frequently fail, they argue, to separate the idea being communicated from the person conveying it, explaining why the status or connectedness of the messenger has become more important than the message itself.Messengers influence business, politics, local communities, and our broader society. And Martin and Marks reveal the forces behind the most infuriating phenomena of our modern era, such as belief in fake news and how presidents can hawk misinformation and flagrant lies yet remain
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  • Daisy Dooley
    January 1, 1970
    This was a fascinating book bringing together research about the people who influence our lives and who we choose to listen to, and why. In Part One, 'hard' messengers are discussed. These are people who are seen as having socio-economic status, competence, dominance and attractiveness. In this context, it's explained why for example, celebrities are used to endorse high-end products such as perfume, They are selling the illusion that by buying those products, the consumer can achieve status the This was a fascinating book bringing together research about the people who influence our lives and who we choose to listen to, and why. In Part One, 'hard' messengers are discussed. These are people who are seen as having socio-economic status, competence, dominance and attractiveness. In this context, it's explained why for example, celebrities are used to endorse high-end products such as perfume, They are selling the illusion that by buying those products, the consumer can achieve status themselves. Dominance is a trait that Donald Trump has in spades, and helps to explain his inexplicable rise to the presidency.In Part Two, 'soft' messengers are examined. These messengers still have influence over us, but tend to convey traits such as warmth, vulnerability, trustworthiness and charisma. Various examples are cited from years of research and it is fascinating to reflect on the influences that shape us, whether it be in personal relationships, in our career choices, in who we vote for and the products we buy.Anyone who has an interest in psychology and current affairs, will thoroughly enjoy this well-researched and well-written book.
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  • Norman
    January 1, 1970
    Messengers is a tour de force of information, illustrations and anecdotes about why we listen to some people but not others and the effect this can have regarding what we believe or don’t. There is a plentiful list of data from scientific research from which the authors draw their conclusions. At face value it’s an excellent popular level study and draws examples from the worlds of high finance, social media, celebrity and politics to name a few. It should be required reading for anyone who want Messengers is a tour de force of information, illustrations and anecdotes about why we listen to some people but not others and the effect this can have regarding what we believe or don’t. There is a plentiful list of data from scientific research from which the authors draw their conclusions. At face value it’s an excellent popular level study and draws examples from the worlds of high finance, social media, celebrity and politics to name a few. It should be required reading for anyone who wants to be better informed and aware of why we might listen to some people but reject others, of why we might reject a good argument in favour of a bad one depending on who is offering the argument. It should help us understand our own subconscious biases as well. The reason I’m giving this four rather than five is simply because while there are plenty of referenced studies and data, I simply don’t have time to check them to see if I agree with the studies themselves or the writer’s analysis of them, so to some extent I’m taking on trust the conclusions from these studies. Definitely recommended though, well worth reading. Review via NetGalley/Random House UK/Cornerstone ARC.
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  • MISS K DENTON
    January 1, 1970
    Fascinating and well researched book which explains why we listen to some people over others. We live in an era where our leaders constantly lie to us and feed us biased or untrue information. This book gives some insight into why people believe them.Easy to read and well thought out.
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  • Richard
    January 1, 1970
    Disappointingly, nothing new here.
  • Val
    January 1, 1970
    Essentially the book tells us this: In the west, especially the United States, people listen to whoever has money, regardless of their experience or qualifications to comment on a subject. In the rest of the world, intelligence and actual knowledge are required to get people's attention. Which really comes as no surprise, and the situation is going to continue to escalate until no one in America even bothers to think for themselves (although whether they do now is debatable). The rest of the wes Essentially the book tells us this: In the west, especially the United States, people listen to whoever has money, regardless of their experience or qualifications to comment on a subject. In the rest of the world, intelligence and actual knowledge are required to get people's attention. Which really comes as no surprise, and the situation is going to continue to escalate until no one in America even bothers to think for themselves (although whether they do now is debatable). The rest of the western world is going to have to pick up the pace if they want to be able to out-stupid the United States at the Moron Olympics.
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  • Tom Williams
    January 1, 1970
    The subtitle of Messengers is ‘Who We Listen To, Who We Don’t, And Why’. In a world that has given us Donald Trump and Boris Johnson, learning the answer to this question seems worth the effort involving reading the book, but having finished it I’m not sure that I’m any clearer.This is a pop psychology book with all the strengths and weaknesses of that genre. It starts out with a lot of anecdotes – some mind-blowingly banal (somebody who tweeted something on the same day that Barrack The subtitle of Messengers is ‘Who We Listen To, Who We Don’t, And Why’. In a world that has given us Donald Trump and Boris Johnson, learning the answer to this question seems worth the effort involving reading the book, but having finished it I’m not sure that I’m any clearer.This is a pop psychology book with all the strengths and weaknesses of that genre. It starts out with a lot of anecdotes – some mind-blowingly banal (somebody who tweeted something on the same day that Barrack Obama tweeted something very similar got millions fewer re-tweets) and some quite fascinating (employees of an Indian entrepreneur with a caring management style offered to work for nothing when her business was in trouble).Anecdotes, though, obviously don’t make up a convincing argument so the book quotes lots of psychological experiments, some by the authors and some from other sources. The problem with this approach is that you have to take an awful lot on trust. I’m sensitive to this because my degree was in Experimental Psychology and I’m aware that very small differences in the way an experiment was conducted can have quite profound influences on the outcome. It’s difficult to be confident in the results of an experiment which has been reported in a few short paragraphs. This is an inevitable problem with this kind of book and does not reflect badly on the authors, but it does mean that if you accept their arguments you will trust the research and if you don’t you will (probably at least sometimes justifiably) dismiss the research. In fairness, research studies are well footnoted and you can follow them all up, but it is unlikely that the non-specialist reader that this book is clearly aimed at will ever do that. You have to take a lot on trust and, ironically, one of the main messages of the book is that humans are terribly bad at judging when they can take stuff on trust and when they should be more sceptical.Leaving these reservations aside, what does it tell us? Very crudely put, it suggests that we pay more attention to the characteristics of the messenger than we do to the characteristics of the message. We like leaders to be tall and square jawed, or empathetic and caring. It’s an analysis that explains the appeal of Donald Trump. He is a classic alpha male – bombastic, dominant, and pugilistic. Some of this, according to the book, is innate. He was born with a face shape that is associated with dominance. (There is a photograph that illustrates how facial height to width ratio is calculated, enabling this to be quantified.) Some of it may have been learned over his lifetime: the way he stands, the amount he gestures with his arms, the deep timbre of his voice. Perhaps it’s significant that when comedians who do not share his political approach mimic him they tend to emphasise the speech mannerism where his voice can suddenly move into quite a high register. Or perhaps it’s not – the authors don’t mention this.That’s part of the trouble. Human behaviour is complex. Few people are consistent. Boris Johnson is often compared to Donald Trump, but untidy blonde hair is not the attribute that the authors think is important. On the attributes they do think important – posture, vocal mannerisms, etc – Boris is almost the antithesis of Trump. He bumbles on, waffles and, to a degree, charms – but he hardly fits the stereotype of an alpha male.In fairness to the authors, they do acknowledge the complexities that underlie many of the behaviours they analyse – but perhaps still not enough. So, for example, at one point they write:"[Apologies] are … immensely powerful social tools, critical to the repairing or re-establishing of relationships. Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd provided a formidable demonstration of this when, in the course of a four minute speech in February 2008 he issued a public apology for the way in which indigenous Australians had been treated years before he himself had achieved public office. He recognised, he said, that he needed to “apologise for the laws and policies of successive parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians”."Much later, in a separate discussion of apologies, the authors point out that an apology is only likely to be affected if it is “made quickly… made sincerely. And it needs to be made in a way that shows remorse and commitment to change in the future.” Kevin Rudd’s four minute speech could not possibly have met these criteria and yet the authors explicitly link it to “the highest satisfaction rating of any Australian Prime Minister”.Obviously there is more going on than can be covered in one relatively short volume. In fact some of the simplifications border on the absurd. At one point the book argues that an experiment showed that facial features are so crucial that “a glance at the faces of candidates running for election was all that was needed to make an informed, and largely accurate, estimate of who would (and indeed did) win.” Whilst what a candidate looks like can be a significant factor, the suggestion that facial appearance can be used to accurately predict the outcome of real elections would, if true, suggest that the selection of legislators by popular ballot is an idea that needs to be reviewed. Personally I am not suggesting that we abolish democracy, but that we view statements like this with grave suspicion.There is usable, and indeed valuable, stuff in this book. It does no harm for us to be reminded how much we allow irrelevant assessments of people’s social class, dominance, or empathy to affect what should be rational judgements. This can even extend to favouring loan offers which are accompanied by a photograph of an attractive woman rather than an attractive interest rate. There are practical lessons to be learned, too. My wife does some university lecturing and I have passed on the information that lecturers who make more arm movements whilst speaking are perceived as better teachers by their students. In the new world of university education, where student assessment is critical to career advancement, I can confidently predict a fair amount from arm waving next term.Overall, though, I found this an irritating book – neither an easily read series of anecdotes nor a serious academic study, it repeatedly overpromised and underdelivered. If, however, you honestly believe that you would never form your initial (and surprisingly firm) view of somebody based on the logo on their polo shirt, then perhaps you need to read it.
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  • Theodore Kinni
    January 1, 1970
    A broad survey and synthesis of research regarding the qualities that make for effective messengers. Hard not to conclude that we’re pretty much idiots when it comes to choosing to whom we will listen, believe, and follow. (Pub date: 10/15/19)
  • Sue
    January 1, 1970
    The premise of this fascinating book is that we have a strong in-built tendency to believe the messenger rather than the message. It explains why "self-confident ignoramuses", even those with an axe to grind or pure self-interest at heart, are believed over experts - simply because we often can't separate the message from the messenger.The book is a detailed study of such people in two parts, namely 'hard messengers' (who have lots of wealth / status, competence, dominance, attractiv The premise of this fascinating book is that we have a strong in-built tendency to believe the messenger rather than the message. It explains why "self-confident ignoramuses", even those with an axe to grind or pure self-interest at heart, are believed over experts - simply because we often can't separate the message from the messenger.The book is a detailed study of such people in two parts, namely 'hard messengers' (who have lots of wealth / status, competence, dominance, attractiveness, or a combination of them all) and 'soft messengers' (they have warmth, vulnerability, trustworthiness and charisma in various combinations). "Messengers" also discusses when and why each type of messenger is likely to be more successful.This book is remarkably well-researched yet very readable. It uses many case studies and has a comprehensive list of sources and references, many from reliable scientific sources, and frequently quotes published academic research.However, the book is a long way from a dry academic tome - I found myself reacting emotionally, especially to phrases such as 'voters replace the question "who is the most competent candidate?" with "who looks like the most competent candidate?"' It's sad that this happens, but it clearly does.Furthermore, when a population experiences worry, hardship or fear, they are more likely to look to dominant leaders - this is certainly not an original idea, but it does show how the manufacturing of fear and crises (e.g. hordes of immigrants, increasing crime, etc) act to promote or keep a 'strong' leader in place. We should all be wary of this.On a final note, it's well known that first impressions count but I was surprised by how much people are influenced by the most fleeting of glances. I'll just have to upgrade my wardrobe (with lots of red!) and get my hair done more frequently I guess...
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  • Alison Bradbury
    January 1, 1970
    This book takes you by the hand and walks you through the different personality types of a whole range of messengers from Politicians to Social Media Influencers end even your friends. Chock full of supporting Psychological research, some really well known, some less well known but all equally relevant. It explains why during times of national crisis that voters tend to prefer a more robust leader who displays more dominant personality types, and why at the rest of the time voters are drawn to l This book takes you by the hand and walks you through the different personality types of a whole range of messengers from Politicians to Social Media Influencers end even your friends. Chock full of supporting Psychological research, some really well known, some less well known but all equally relevant. It explains why during times of national crisis that voters tend to prefer a more robust leader who displays more dominant personality types, and why at the rest of the time voters are drawn to leaders who display more altruistic or warm characteristics who are more likely to be a gentle guiding hand. In relation to recent events, for example Brexit and Trump's Presidency, the writers attempt to explain how these events came about and these demonstrated the success of events against the considered wisdom. It is easy to see how people can have their opinion changed by a speakers body language, hand gestures or the subtle use of their personality, all without the listener being aware of it. If you have an interest in the human psyche or want to be able to spot when you are being manipulated then this is the book to you.
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  • Colin Marks
    January 1, 1970
    We all think we're a good judge of people and aren't easily influenced, but numerous studies have shown this isn't true. We're likely to be more patient if the car in front that doesn't move when a traffic light turns green is executive, and we're more likely to listen to Ian Botham tell us how to survive a nuclear attack than a scientist or someone from the military.Messengers, by journalist Stephen Martin and psychologist Joseph Marks, discusses who influences us most, and why. The We all think we're a good judge of people and aren't easily influenced, but numerous studies have shown this isn't true. We're likely to be more patient if the car in front that doesn't move when a traffic light turns green is executive, and we're more likely to listen to Ian Botham tell us how to survive a nuclear attack than a scientist or someone from the military.Messengers, by journalist Stephen Martin and psychologist Joseph Marks, discusses who influences us most, and why. The personal attributes of a messenger, as with a leader, aren't particularly surprising (socio-economic position, competence, dominance, attractiveness, warmth, vulnerability, trustworthiness and finally charisma) but the book explores each of these, with plenty of examples from scientific studies.An interesting book, full of anecdotes and case studies, well worth a read.Book supplied by Netgalley for an honest review.
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  • Sophie Childs
    January 1, 1970
    As a freelance copywriter, this was an incredibly useful book on why the messenger is just as important - if not more so - as the message and how you can make sure you're heard. Easy to read and highly accessible, it covers a wealth of research which explains the complexities around getting people to listen and why it is we'll accept the same information from one source when we''d reject it from another.It's a book which is invaluable to anyone who needs to communicate effectively, w As a freelance copywriter, this was an incredibly useful book on why the messenger is just as important - if not more so - as the message and how you can make sure you're heard. Easy to read and highly accessible, it covers a wealth of research which explains the complexities around getting people to listen and why it is we'll accept the same information from one source when we''d reject it from another.It's a book which is invaluable to anyone who needs to communicate effectively, whether that be a leader, social media influencer or, yes, a writer.Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC without obligation.
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  • Jessica Patient
    January 1, 1970
    Messengers by Stephen Martin and Joseph Marks should be one of those books that everybody reads. This book looks at what makes us decide whether to listen to and if we trust their message. The authors, behavioural experts explore the traits that determine if we are heard or if we are ignored, showing how an appearance or financial status can have a huge impact on people listening if when the message might be wrong. Analysing the nature of speakers with they use cues, both verbal and physical to Messengers by Stephen Martin and Joseph Marks should be one of those books that everybody reads. This book looks at what makes us decide whether to listen to and if we trust their message. The authors, behavioural experts explore the traits that determine if we are heard or if we are ignored, showing how an appearance or financial status can have a huge impact on people listening if when the message might be wrong. Analysing the nature of speakers with they use cues, both verbal and physical to give signals that their message should be trusted. This is a fascinating book especially for anyone who needs to do public speaking.
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  • Jayanne
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to NetGalley for the advanced copy in exchange for an honest review! A really useful insight to the human psyche, who we listen to, and why. Quick and easy read with lots of points that raise awareness not only on society as a whole but with helpful knowledge we can apply to ourselves as well, whether to be more responsible about who we listen to, or in getting more people to listen to us in turn.
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  • Leanne Neale
    January 1, 1970
    A riveting and valuable insight into why people behave the way they do. The information has been gathered through numerous scientific studies and presented as a readily readable anecdote, not only to past and current significant events and crises, but also as a useful reference tool in understanding our own psyche. Thoroughly recommend.
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  • MarmottanReads
    January 1, 1970
    Really interesting delve into the world of communication and leadership, and how we can be seduced, put off or misdirected by various factors. In particular it focuses on status and the softer cues like charisma, i found this really interesting and will feed into my studies on business and leadership.
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  • Anne
    January 1, 1970
    A did not finish unfortunately. I found the arguments and examples too simplistic and wasn't engaged with it. I did study psychology though so had heard of a lot before e.g. Milgram Thank you to Netgalley for a free copy in exchange for an honest.
  • Georg
    January 1, 1970
    Recommended by Economist:The Economist | The eyes have it https://www.economist.com/business/20...
  • Martin Weller
    January 1, 1970
    Worked my way through this book, enjoyed some parts more than others, thought provoking in places, glad I read it
  • Sarah Wilson
    January 1, 1970
    This was a fascinating and highly accessible read which was informative and entertaining at the same time. Recommended for people like myself who have a passing interest in the subject explored here, as well as working professionals.
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