Sidetracked: Why Our Decisions Get Derailed, and How We Can Stick to the Plan Hardcover – 5 Mar 2013
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"Similar to Chip and Dan Heath's Made To Stick and Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point, this book will appeal to those looking to build their business platform." -- Library Journal"Thoroughly researched and informative, the book's clarity and simplicity of structure are quite refreshing. Gino possesses a wealth of well-constructed research and experience -- both inside university labs and in the business world. This book is filled with carefully explained studies that have taken many years to collect and establish, as well as many insights from the business consulting world." -- Business World magazine "For the general reader desiring to learn more about research studies on some human decision biases and their effects, this book can provide a valuable perspective." -- Choice Magazine ..". a powerful survey outlining the entire decision-making process, how it gets derailed, and how to get it back on track." -- Midwest Book Review "Worth reading in every respect [Sidetracked] distinguishes itself from other practical books in its substance and the relevance of its examples." -- Personalwirtschaft (Germany) "What separates Sidetracked...from some other books on decision making is an in-depth exploration of the "human" obstacles as opposed to the "organizational" obstacles that can inhibit sound decision-making processes." -- Business Standard "If you have always yearned to feel more secure in your decision-making, or at the very least, understand better why even your best-laid plans often go awry, Sidetracked is a straight-forward examination of the forces that affect our decisions which can help raise your awareness and keep you from veering off course." -- 800 CEO READ ..". an excellent book." -- Biz India (bizindia.net) ADVANCE PRAISE for Sidetracked Dan Ariely, Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics, Duke University; author of the New York Times bestsellers Predictably Irrational, The Upside of Irrationality, and The Honest Truth about Dishonesty--
We are often unaware of the many forces that affect our decisions--sometimes with devastating consequences. In Sidetracked, Francesca Gino identifies and illuminates many of these forces to help us all make decisions that we, our mothers, and our kids will be happier with. Chip Heath, Professor of Organizational Behavior, Stanford Graduate School of Business; co-author, Made to Stick and Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard--
Francesca Gino is one of the smartest and most insightful decision researchers in the field. Her clever research informs every page of this book and it will change the way you think about decision making. Robert I. Sutton, Professor of Management Science and Engineering, Stanford Engineering School; author, Good Boss, Bad Boss and The No Asshole Rule--
Sidetracked is a scary, remarkably useful, and delightful romp. Scary because it shows how our imperfect brains can mess-up our decisions and our lives. Remarkably useful because it shows us how to thrive and triumph despite these imperfections. Delightful because Francesca Gino's wisdom, quirky charm, and world-class smarts enrich every page. John Engates, Chief Technology Officer, Rackspace--
Sidetracked is an indispensable guide for those interested in gaining insight into how we make decisions and the invisible forces that affect the process. Could our brains really be this susceptible to outside influence? The book reveals the truth--through example after example of carefully structured research--of just how easily influenced we are and concrete strategies for how to stay on track. Daniel H. Pink, author, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us and A Whole New Mind--
Why do so many of our decisions go awry? Francesca Gino says the answer might be staring at us in the mirror. In Sidetracked, she reveals the many forces that distract our attention, distort our reasoning, and ultimately lead us astray. Reading this rich mix of experimental evidence and lively stories will help you rethink--and improve--how you make decisions in your life. Susan Cain, author, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking--
This engaging, beautifully written, and thought-provoking book is a must read for anyone who wants a deep understanding of how decisions get so easily derailed, and advice on how to stick to well-thought out plans. A truly entertaining journey that will keep you turning pages through the very end.
About the Author
Francesca Gino is Associate Professor of Business Administration in the Negotiation, Organizations, & Markets Unit at the Harvard Business School. Her research focuses on judgment and decision making, social influence, and ethics and creativity. Her studies have been featured on "CNN" and NPR, as well as in leading print publications including "Economist," "Financial Times," "New York Times," "Newsweek," "Scientific American," and "Psychology Today." In 2009, the "New York Times" featured Gino's research in The 9th Annual Year in Ideas.
Top customer reviews
The final star is lost because there was just a little too much overlap with Dan Ariely's excellent `The Honest Truth about Dishonesty' which is no surprise as they worked together on much of the research. I hope that in her future books Francesca will use more of her own story examples.
A quote in the book sums up the key message perfectly:
"Nothing is easier than self-deceit. For what each man wishes, that he also believes to be true." Demosthenes (384- 322 BC),
Sidetracked details this potential for self deception in 3 key areas:
- how our internal world can distract us
- how our social connections impact on us and
- how our external environment can change our behaviour.
This is further broken down into 9 key messages which I've put into my own words below.
Overcoming internal distraction:
- Don't believe your own hype, listen to useful advice from others too
- Check how you feel before making decisions (Emotional Intelligence)
- Step back and see the bigger pattern
Awareness of social influences
- Recognise and value the contribution of others
- Find out how your social network is influencing you
- Question if social comparison is driving your decisions
Maintaining our moral compass
- Look for more evidence to base decisions on
- Ask `why' to understand the context
- Make your values clear and live by them
For me these 9 steps clarify many of the messages in Daniel Kahneman's book Thinking Fast and Slow and offer a practical guide to staying out of the traps our mind can so easily fall into. I've already found the 9 steps a practical way to improve my decision making.
This is a thoroughly well researched and informative book. Gino possesses a wealth of well-constructed research and experience - both inside the university labs and in the business world. This book is filled with carefully explained studies that have taken many years to collect and establish, as well as many insights from the business consulting. The book is well written and engaging, and Gino takes great care to explain the mechanisms of her and her colleagues' research in great detail. These are some of the best explained social science findings that I've come across in popular accounts, and anyone who has even the passing interest in psychology and social sciences in general would greatly benefit from reading this book. After reading it I have a much better appreciation for my own motivations, drives and blind spots, as well as those of others around me.
For all its great qualities, this book is not without some shortcomings. Most of the "real world" examples come from the business world (I guess this is not surprising for a book published by the Harvard Business Review Press) and oftentimes have more to do with big-scale corporate decision-making than with individual and personal decisions. Furthermore, I found it hard to see how some of the psychological insights and principles that were investigated throughout the book have direct bearing on getting sidetracked. Finally, this is really not a "self-help" book despite what its subtitle may suggest. The actual advice that it gives, or the concrete steps that it espouses, are minimal and usually relegated to just a couple of pages at the end of each chapter. Turning deep insights into concrete actionable advice has always been one of the most difficult tasks in any field, and I was hoping that this book would have done a better job of it.
This a smart, insightful, and very well written book that has a lot to offer to everyone who is interested in psychological underpinnings of our decision making. However, it has a somewhat limited value as a practical guide that can be immediately applied in our daily lives.
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