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An insightful and rewarding glimpse into the emotional pathways of human contrition.

A study of regret based on a series of international group behavioral studies.

Culling responses from an expansive questionnaire, bestselling author Pink analyzes the cumulative benefits of hindsight to inform future decision-making. His surveys encompassed hundreds of personal stories from respondents who were able to absorb the sting of regret and channel it toward better quality of life. The author believes that while optimism is essential to improved well-being, negative emotions like regret bring clarity, meaning, and much-needed alertness. Throughout more than a dozen illuminating chapters, Pink cites examples from decades of research on the psychology behind high-stakes negotiations and the resultant regret that often followed. Dubbing regret the “quintessential upward counterfactual—the ultimate If Only,” the author isolates four core categories: foundation (failure to be responsible in financial, educational, or health matters), boldness (forgone opportunities), moral (the temptation to behave poorly), and connection (unrealized potential relationship). Arguing that the open acknowledgment of regret is key to repurposing it toward the greater good, Pink gives close scrutiny to two research projects that he personally developed and championed: the World Regret Survey and the American Regret Project. The companion website for these initiatives amassed thousands of reflections from 105 countries and across a collage of cultures. Examples include a woman who regrets not climbing into her ill husband’s hospital bed on the night of his death; a Saudi Arabian businesswoman who laments a tendency to downplay her intelligence and inventiveness “to please/not upset others”; and a man who, 60 years later, still mourns not taking a college classmate up on the opportunity to join the 1964 Freedom Summer project. In the final chapters, Pink offers practical guidance on how readers can thrive beyond their mistakes, molding them into learning opportunities, and how to flip the negative connotations inherent with regret into positive experiences: “By making us feel worse today, regret helps us do better tomorrow.”

An insightful and rewarding glimpse into the emotional pathways of human contrition.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-7352-1065-3

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2022

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Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...

A psychologist and Nobel Prize winner summarizes and synthesizes the recent decades of research on intuition and systematic thinking.

The author of several scholarly texts, Kahneman (Emeritus Psychology and Public Affairs/Princeton Univ.) now offers general readers not just the findings of psychological research but also a better understanding of how research questions arise and how scholars systematically frame and answer them. He begins with the distinction between System 1 and System 2 mental operations, the former referring to quick, automatic thought, the latter to more effortful, overt thinking. We rely heavily, writes, on System 1, resorting to the higher-energy System 2 only when we need or want to. Kahneman continually refers to System 2 as “lazy”: We don’t want to think rigorously about something. The author then explores the nuances of our two-system minds, showing how they perform in various situations. Psychological experiments have repeatedly revealed that our intuitions are generally wrong, that our assessments are based on biases and that our System 1 hates doubt and despises ambiguity. Kahneman largely avoids jargon; when he does use some (“heuristics,” for example), he argues that such terms really ought to join our everyday vocabulary. He reviews many fundamental concepts in psychology and statistics (regression to the mean, the narrative fallacy, the optimistic bias), showing how they relate to his overall concerns about how we think and why we make the decisions that we do. Some of the later chapters (dealing with risk-taking and statistics and probabilities) are denser than others (some readers may resent such demands on System 2!), but the passages that deal with the economic and political implications of the research are gripping.

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our minds.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-374-27563-1

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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These are not hard and fast rules, but Meyer delivers important reading for those engaged in international business.

A helpful guide to working effectively with people from other cultures.

“The sad truth is that the vast majority of managers who conduct business internationally have little understanding about how culture is impacting their work,” writes Meyer, a professor at INSEAD, an international business school. Yet they face a wider array of work styles than ever before in dealing with clients, suppliers and colleagues from around the world. When is it best to speak or stay quiet? What is the role of the leader in the room? When working with foreign business people, failing to take cultural differences into account can lead to frustration, misunderstanding or worse. Based on research and her experiences teaching cross-cultural behaviors to executive students, the author examines a handful of key areas. Among others, they include communicating (Anglo-Saxons are explicit; Asians communicate implicitly, requiring listeners to read between the lines), developing a sense of trust (Brazilians do it over long lunches), and decision-making (Germans rely on consensus, Americans on one decider). In each area, the author provides a “culture map scale” that positions behaviors in more than 20 countries along a continuum, allowing readers to anticipate the preferences of individuals from a particular country: Do they like direct or indirect negative feedback? Are they rigid or flexible regarding deadlines? Do they favor verbal or written commitments? And so on. Meyer discusses managers who have faced perplexing situations, such as knowledgeable team members who fail to speak up in meetings or Indians who offer a puzzling half-shake, half-nod of the head. Cultural differences—not personality quirks—are the motivating factors behind many behavioral styles. Depending on our cultures, we understand the world in a particular way, find certain arguments persuasive or lacking merit, and consider some ways of making decisions or measuring time natural and others quite strange.

These are not hard and fast rules, but Meyer delivers important reading for those engaged in international business.

Pub Date: May 27, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-61039-250-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2014

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