Summary of The Currency of Trust

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The Currency of Trust summary

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Whether you trust someone or are trustworthy is subjective, but four objective qualities can identify people or organizations as being worthy of trust: their competence, consistency, empathy and lack of hypocrisy – how well their actions match their words. In this video, Oxford lecturer Rachel Botsman offers audience polls, film and a live experiment that present trust as currency. This monetization of trust explains why some companies may be profitable now, but face the danger that future customers won’t trust them enough to purchase or accept their product innovations.

About the Speaker

Oxford University lecturer Rachel Botsman studies personal and corporate ideas of trust. Wired magazine named her recent book, Who Can You Trust? one of the best books of the year.


Trust is subjective and situational.

Although expressions of either trust or lack of trust for a company or a politician aren’t scientific, they can reveal the subjective and situational nature of trust. For instance, you may trust Amazon to deliver your packages, but do you trust it to pay taxes? 

That’s why it’s important – especially as regards technology – to use precise language when discussing trust. You must experience trust before you take a risk or make a leap of faith. For example, the first time you ride in a self-driving car, as Rachel Botsman’s video illustrates, fear could overwhelm you. Luckily, people generally excel at doing something for the first time, especially when following someone else’s lead. Due to innovation and technology, society now asks people to make these leaps an unprecedented number...

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