Digital, Diverse & Divided

How to talk to racists, compete with robots, and overcome polarization


We’re connected more than ever before. From video calls with the other side of the world to sitting in class with peers who have vastly different backgrounds or being able to “find my friends” any time, any place, there are virtually no limits to our connectivity. Yet we’ve never been more divided. Red vs. Blue, Black vs. White, Globalist vs. Nationalist, Agnostic vs Christian.

Social media used to be a place to reconnect with long lost friends. Now it’s become a platform to spout political views and unfollow anyone who disagrees. Diversity programs were supposed to increase inclusion and belonging. Instead, they seem to exhaust everyone except the facilitator at the front of the room. And families and friendships are being destroyed because we can’t agree on issues of race, religion, and politics.

 The DNA of every human being is 99.9 percent the same. But the worlds of which we’re part dramatically shape how we think, live, and relate. I’m convinced polarization is the number one issue facing our world today.

This is book about how to get along with people who are different. It sounds about as simple as you can get. It’s the first thing we’re taught in kindergarten and it’s a standing topic at corporate off-site retreats and international diplomacy efforts. Yet we do it so poorly.

Tackling polarization isn’t easy but we can do it.

Digital, Diverse, and Divided. These are both the challenges and opportunities facing us.

"In times like these, it’s easy to throw up our hands and conclude that we just can’t get along. But Livermore shows how we can do better — to talk with each other rather than past each other and close the gaps that separate us.”

--—Daniel H. Pink, #1 New York Times bestselling author of WHEN, DRIVE, and TO SELL IS HUMAN

As a White House correspondent, I couldn’t pay the mortgage without being able to talk to — and hear — both Democrats and Republicans, Iowan farmers, and Manhattan fund raisers. Just when that feels impossible in today’s America, Mr. Livermore comes along with 25 years of research and real-world experience to make it feel doable again. Taking the reader along on his far-flung travels, Mr. Livermore pushes beyond Red-vs.-Blue, Black-vs.-white and offers practical strategies for connecting and communicating as people first. An important work that is, at once, macro and micro. And just might save us from ourselves.

--—Sandra Sobieraj Westfall, PEOPLE Magazine politics editor and former Associated Press White House correspondent

“As a member of the armed forces, CQ is the greatest weapon we have in our arsenal. With service members and partner nations all over the world, cultural intelligence has the power to unlock the full potential of any team or unit serving on land, sea, or air.”

--—Captain Jae Yu, US Army Officer; West Point Graduate.

“What can each of us do to address what feels like an intractable problem in our organizations and communities—polarization? David Livermore, who describes himself as a “straight, white, middle-aged guy,” shares what he has learned from his own research and journey about what it takes to develop cultural intelligence and build healthy relationships with others different from ourselves.”

--—Linda A. Hill, PhD, Harvard Business School Faculty, and co-author of Collective Genius, Being the Boss, and other best-selling

“In the spirit of Michael Lewis, David Livermore weaves an intimate nonfiction thriller of encounters, travels, and colliding worlds of extro- and introspection. Digital, Diverse & Divided is Livermore’s best treatise yet on cultural intelligence.”

--—Soon Ang, PhD, Pioneering social scientist in cultural intelligence, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore