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Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  1,435 Ratings  ·  114 Reviews
Most of us have no idea why we fail to reach our goals. Now eminent social psychologist Dr. Heidi Grant Halvorson shows us how we can finally win by revealing how goals really workand by showing us how to avoid what typically goes wrong.
Audio, 7 pages
Published December 1st 2010 by Blackstone Audiobooks
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Jul 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is NOT a clichéd self-help book.

In a similar vein to Piers Steele’s book “The Procrastination Equation” and Kelly McGonigal’s “Maximum Willpower” Heidi Grant Halvorson’s “Succeed” is written by an academic (day-job when not scribbling is that of a Social Psychologist).
And just like those other two books, Grant Havorson’s ”Succeed” distils the results of published dry academic research papers (that no one outside of an academic institution would be likely to get their hands on or understand
Dec 24, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm definitely a goal-oriented person, so I wondered how reading yet another book on the subject might help me do even better at setting/achieving goals. After all, how complicated can it be, right? Even still, I did glean some useful insight that I hadn't really considered before like, "Don't visualize success. Instead, visualize the steps you will take in order to succeed."

I enjoyed Halvorson's research-based study of goals, though I did occasionally get bored with the details and ended up ski
Jun 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It wasn't so much the purple cover that intrigued me (I mean, purple is the default wardrobe color for comic book villians) as it was the subtitle: How We Can Reach Our Goals. I had always been troubled that every year I make goals and only achieve a portion of the them. No matter what changes I seem to make, I could never get at the real root of the problem because the percentage of unmet goals would remain more or less constant year after year.

Now I have some answers. Halverson is a social psy
May 15, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Much of this book is common sense. The selling point here is that this is comprehensive research, but the science is often too light to support the heavy advice based on it.
For example, the author uses the "Biggest Loser" TV show as a model. She claims that the contestants gain weight after the show because their commitment diminishes when the social pressure is removed. Well, some scientists objectively measured what is going on with the Biggest Losers. It turns out that their metabolisms slow
Jan 04, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013, psychology
Heidi Grant Halvorson has written an unusual book on how we can reach our goals. What makes it unusual is that her book is entirely based on research studies available in the academic psychology literature. I generally appreciate knowing the context or background of why I'm being told to do certain things, so I really appreciated this. This explanation is especially valuable where she makes recommendations that, while based on the empirical literature, are counter-intutive or against received wi ...more
Apr 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If Halvorson's book Focus gets a bit repetitive because the author is covering one finding over and over again, Succeed feels the opposite: a bit breathless because Halvorson is now trying to cover several findings to make a comprehensive book about motivation and goals. Despite that, I think the information within is very good. Halvorson covers a lot of ideas that are more exhaustively explored elsewhere: for example, that self-control is like a muscle (Roy Baumeister in Willpower), that our li ...more
James Shoop
Sep 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book. It didn't have the cheesy, hokey feel that most self-improvement books I've read do. The author's style was very personal and non-preachy- which is rare for books written by professionals- and the topics were addressed in a very orderly fashion, which is also rare. Her constant allusions to her dislike of exercise were so predictable and not-funny that they were hilarious in a weird sort of way...
Much more importantly, though, is the content! The book is very well rese
Angela Randall
I just found this book from an article on bright young girls. I've heard similar things about bright kids in general, but never thought about how easily it might apply more to girls than boys. And if you've ever tried to control a classroom of kids, you know how easily this can be true.

All kids need to be reminded that effort-based learning is required, not that there's some "smart/not smart" or "good at this/not good at this" switch in place.
Aug 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars. I picked this up thinking "Okay, another SH book in an endless stream of me try to get my butt in gear." However, this book made me actually think about myself from a different perspective. I learned some unflattering things including that I set my bar low because I don't want to bother with something unless I know I can be good at it. It annoys me when people use phrases like "life changing" to describe books because it seems so melodramatic, but that's the phrase I thought of when I ...more
Dec 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dr. Halvorson has written a book that addressed a big gap in my goal setting practice that I didn't even know existed.

There are many type of goals and rewards. This book clearly illustrated the difference between the types, and most importantly, defined which type of goals should apply to which type of situations.

The first couple of chapters alone on "why" and "what" of goals are worth the book price alone.

I also like how the author uses her personal stories to illustrate her points.

Highly recom
Leo Polovets
Sep 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Succeed” is a terrific book about 1) how to think about goals 2) how to set goals and 3) how to work effectively toward goals. The advice and insights are based on scientific studies (as opposed to old wives’ tales and anecdotes). For example, sometimes it’s good to think about the big picture () while at other times it’s better to think about the details (What do I need to do next?); “Succeed” reveals which situations favor one approach over the other. The book is filled with tons of practical ...more
Egor Chaparyan
Feb 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Хорошая структурированная работа. Название книги говорящее. Тренируйте мышцу под названием "самоконтроль", ставя цели отвечайте на вопрос "зачем?" и "как?", выбирайте правильную направленность целей, откажитесь от шаблонных советов, придерживайтесь реалистичного оптимизма, ставьте цели исходя из основных психологических потребностей, давайте обратную связь правильно, хваля усилия, а не способности.
May 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book! I will probably re-read some parts of it
Jun 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Practical and well researched. Full of clear and useful techniques for achieving goals and success.
Feb 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good book, with very useful & helpful information. Author dumbs it down nicely, docked it a star because I personally felt it was a bit too wordy in places. Though worth reading over all. :)

Good book, with very useful & helpful information. Author dumbs it down nicely, docked it a star because I personally felt it was a bit too wordy in places. Though worth reading over all. :)
Dec 15, 2015 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-help, india-trip
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Two important points this book conveyed to me: They are two kinds of mental models in people's mind. One is to be good showing how smart you are; Another is to be getting better just to learn something. I was more of a to be good type of person. Before reading this book, I was nervous about my job performance just don't want my bosses or colleagues to know I wasn't very smart to hire. After the book I realised I should just care about what I can learn from the job because you are not here to sho ...more
Aug 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book. It was a good book to read not too long after having read Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strengthbecause much of the research and many of the ideas presented there are reinforced here. Grant Halvorson takes a different angle and emphasis than Willpower but there is lots of overlap.

I enjoyed Grant Halvorson's writing style and can tell I would have loved taking a class from her when I was in college. I really appreciated her including a very clear and concis
May 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In 'Succeed', Dr. Heidi Grant Halvarson attempts to bridge the fields of social psychology and personal development. Throughout the book, she artfully draws upon numerous studies exploring the topics of motivation and achievement. This jaunt through the latest scientific research is in itself an eye-opener. But Dr. Halvarson goes further: from this rich trove of empirical data, she teases out many concrete, actionable steps that we can all take to accomplish our goals. She also introduces severa ...more
Liz De Coster
Another psychological-research-based look at self-improvement, like 59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot, Dr Grant Halvorson looks at different factors that affect how we set, approach and understand our goals. Part of the book promotes already widespread advice for how to reach your goals, such as 'practice your self-control' and 'set specific milestones.' Early sections of the book, which I found more interesting, covered attitudinal differences such as entity vs incremental theory (do you ...more
Bryan Tanner
Jan 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Halvorson classifies people into two categories: optimists (who set “get-better” goals) and pessimists (who set “be-good” goals). One of the most interesting ideas I took from this book was that since many (if not most) college student are solely motivated to get the grade, they set goals that prevent failure. When someone is in this mindset, they are uninspired by motivational speakers who tell success stories meant to offer vision to the listeners. What does motivate these “be-good” goal sette ...more
May 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: coaching
Leitura recomendada para todo coach e pessoa orientada a metas e objetivos (donos de metas).

Traz novidades importantes para abordar o processo de elaboração e execução de uma meta. Justifica a ferramenta SMART (sem citá-la), principalmente porque devemos os elementos de Ação, Relevância e Tempo.

O argumento principal é: nenhuma meta deve ser abordada da mesma maneira. Uma meta depende de dois fatores:
- sua orientação pessoal em relação ao sucesso (e consequentemente ao fracasso)
- e do tipo de m
Jul 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Improvement is always possible.” Ch. 12

Heidi Grant Halvorson, Ph. D. has constructed a practical and sensible book on goal setting and why we succeed or fail at reaching our goals. Using her own research as well as research conducted by her peers, Halvorson shares her cogent analysis on topics such as:
- types of goals (promotion-focused vs. prevention-focused)
- what type of mindset one needs to be successful at reaching each type of goal
- motivation (how to motivate ourselves and/or others)
- w
Apr 27, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The tipoff in this book comes in the Forward, where Carol Dweck (who was the author's mentor) compliments Grant Halvorson on the research she selected to shape the book: Dweck's own work. So if you're looking for a book to "extend" Dweck's mindset theory, then beef it up with some reheated studies on willpower being a muscle, and positive thinking being a trap, this is your book.

The tone is chatty, just short of the Exclamation Point!! school of self-help writing. But where I got off the bus was
Jan 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was given to me as a Christmas present from my boss. I don't usually choose to read self-help type literature for several reasons. One being that it feels like "required reading", and the fun is taken out of it. Another reason being that my focus isn't 100% (it's just me and these types of books). My boss gave me a goal of reading 20 pages in a few days (I'm not going to stop after only 20 pages anyway), so I finished it of course. Now normally, it would not take me almost a month to r ...more
Oct 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I use this book as a reference for several of my current projects. Most books in this general category of self-help are worthless, but this one is quite good on the topic of goal setting and achievement. Halvorson emphasizes "get-better" goals: these are goals where you are making constant steps towards improvement. Too many of us are stuck in generic, "be-good" goals which inevitably lead to disappointment. Great goals, like learning to play the piano or speak Italian or becoming a better arti ...more
Apr 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
This is one of the most practical guides to goal-setting that I have read. Given the number of books I've read recently about habits and behavior, I was surprised at how many new concepts I learned. In particular, I learned more about how the way we approach goal setting influences the type of goal we set, our likelihood of attainment, and how we feel when we succeed or fail. I now have some real food for thought. This book goes into some of the psychological factors that help me understand why ...more
Scott Wozniak
Feb 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a strong summary of the best research on setting goals, motivating yourself, knowing when to quit, and even how to encourage/motivate others to accomplish goals. Most of it was not new, but it was well written and if you haven't read other books (like Mindset or Triggers) then this would be a great read. There are a few new sections, my favorite being the differences between people focused on gaining a prize and those focused on preventing a loss. Each mindset works better in some situa ...more
Feb 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First of all the title is deceiving, as I think it makes the book resemble one of those dime-a-dozen motivational books that promise easy step-by-step recipes to achieve "success in life".

Evidently, this is not the case.

Heidi Grant Halvorson manages to deliver a long lecture about what make one tick in terms of motivation or, for that matter, de-motivation, about the mechanisms of setting goals and how the brain reacts to the way a goal is set.

It's a book full of great information, peppered wit
Aug 16, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book was good, but it was a little to academnic for my taste. I listened to it on audiobook and found myself zoning out a lot in the later chapers, especially because I found that the information repeated itself over and over again. I did enjoy the use of studies to back up her analysis- and I really appriciated her insight regarding achieving goals and willpower (basically that you should attempt to achieve one goal at a time and focus your energy/willpower on that, because willpower is a ...more
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Dr. Heidi Grant Halvorson is a social psychologist who researches, writes, and speaks about the science of motivation. She is the Associate Director of the Motivation Science Center at the Columbia Business School, and author of the best-selling books:

Succeed: How We Can All Reach Our Goals, Nine Things Successful People Do Differently, Focus: Use Different Ways of Seeing The World for Success and
More about Heidi Grant Halvorson...

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“Difficult but possible is the key. That’s because more difficult goals cause you to, often unconsciously, increase your effort, focus, and commitment to the goal; persist longer; and make better use of the most effective strategies.” 4 likes
“Molden found that when people are rejected (social exclusion that is explicit, active, and direct) they feel a sense of loss that leads to prevention-focused responses. These people feel anxious, withdraw from the situation, and feel regret about things they said or actions they took. When people are simply ignored (social exclusion that is implicit, passive, and indirect) they feel a failure to achieve a social gain, a missed opportunity, which leads them to more promotion-focused responses. They feel sad and dejected but are more likely to attempt reengagement and to regret things they didn’t say and actions they didn’t take.” 2 likes
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