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Focus: Use Different Ways of Seeing the World for Success and Influence
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Focus: Use Different Ways of Seeing the World for Success and Influence

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  971 ratings  ·  44 reviews
We all want to experience pleasure and avoid pain. But there are really two kinds of pleasure and pain that motivate everything we do. If you are promotion-focused, you want to advance and avoid missed opportunities. If you are prevention-focused, you want to minimize losses and keep things working. And as Tory Higgins has found in his groundbreaking research, if you under ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published April 18th 2013 by Hudson Street Press
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4.04  · 
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 ·  971 ratings  ·  44 reviews

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Martin Velinský
Feb 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Left brained, right brained. Extroverts, introverts. We have been taught all our lives to divide people by this criterions. If you have ever felt like there's something odd with such categorizations, and wondered what's the drive behind our actions, this will be like finding holy grail. In the beginning, you will read in disbelief that something as simple as prevention/promotion focus can be the driving force behind so many things, but as you continue, you will notice real life examples in the w ...more
Kent White
This book is based on a very simple principle: your dominant focus is either promotion or prevention. Generally, East Asians are prevention focused, as are your other stereotypes: Senior Citizens, accountants, attorneys, engineers, and bureaucrats. Their job is to make sure things don't go wrong and to avoid mistakes.

Promotion focused people are generally: Americans, sales/marketing people, entrepreneurs, and Young People. According to her research, most voters are also promotion focused since
Alex Baia
May 23, 2015 rated it it was ok
What we have here is a good, research-backed distinction between two kinds of mindsets--promotion and prevention--spun into a book of excess length. It could have been a 25 page article with little loss in content.

If, like me, you're not a person from the middle ages, you'll probably notice that this distinction smacks of well-worn ideas and dichotomies in economics and psychology: loss aversion, risk aversion, the optimism-pessimism spectrum, etc. The fact that these glaring similarities are l
Nada Obaid
Sep 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Taught me the difference between Prevention Focused Vs Promotion Focused people and their different methods in approaching things; optimism Vs defensive pessimism.

Loved it because I got to know that not all people get affected by motivational speeches because this speech does not suit their personalities or their "focus" ! :)
Nov 14, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone!
Overall a fast and easy read. Describes two ways people can see the world: "prevention-focused" and "promotion-focused". Prevention-focused people try to avoid losses and are motivated by the status-quo and keeping things working unless there is a real, proven reason to change things up. Promotion-focused people are focused on gains, rewards, and benefits, and they're motivated by the possibility of better opportunities around the corner. Both approaches have their strengths and weaknesses, and ...more
Feb 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“...there are two different and distinct sets of lenses we use to see the world…” p.227

Focus is a great complement to Halvorson’s 2010 book, Succeed.
The opening chapters of Focus touch upon many of the topics of motivation (promotion-focused vs. prevention-focused) that were outlined in Succeed; most likely to build a foundation for those who haven’t had the opportunity to read Succeed. If the first couple of chapters of Focus are a re-hash, then the remaining chapters most certainly are an exte
Mar 29, 2014 rated it liked it
I had a hate-like relationship with the authors perspective on grouping people into two types of motivation orientations, either promotion focused or prevention focused. And he went on emphasizing his point with examples throughout the book, to a point where I was too bored to continue reading.The author put (in my opinion) detailed examples that were a bit repetitive in nature. However, the idea itself, was interesting as unintentionally have I started to notice the motivational focus in those ...more
Feb 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2019
I enjoyed reading this book. It fits greatly to the other books of Heidi Grant Halvorson and deepens the understanding of focus which is mentioned in her other books as well. I found the book to be quite repetitive, but I think that this does not make the book worse. It’s better to bring the message across too much than too little. It could have been a bit better explained (e.g. prevention focus does not mean that we have to frame things negatively - they still have to be framed positively; the ...more
Jul 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Generally a good book but one of those that I think might better belong in a shorter format (ie it was longer than it needed to be). Granted it was new ground, so setting the scene and some context was necessary. Still it felt like it was one aspect of influence among many, and because the research focused on "framing" it made it seem as if the authors felt it was the most important part of influence among all others (and maybe they did, but I certainly didn't, and still don't).

Worth a read if y
Martin Goldberg
Jun 21, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: gave-up-on
Loved her other book "Success" but this one, I hate to say, was a total bore after the first 3 chapters so I gave up on it. It's so wierd, since her first book was a 5 Star Review.
Apr 04, 2018 rated it liked it
I really thought this book would be an informative read, but I was wrong, it sub par. I learned about two different aspects of being focused, one was a history of whats it like to be focused from infancy to adulthood and then a comparison based on ethnic cultures and backgrounds. The second half of the book compared two fictional adults and their polar opposites. Then the end led to more of how to manipulate the market place based on how you word your position whether negative or positive.
Jul 03, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gave-up, psychology
Couldn't find value in this book. Found it overly repetitive and ultimately, boring. Should've been a shorter book or perhaps just a longer article. Got to about a half of it and got annoyed to oblivion.
Daniel Ferreira
Jan 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book touches on a lot of real life strategies that are so subtle, that you would not realize we use them subconsciously. Once learn, you can start using it consciously to attain your goal

Would read again.
Feb 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
I enjoyed learning about promotion-focused vs. prevention-focused. Still, the book felt very repetitive and the characters discussed highly stereotypical. I quit at 45%.
kathryn donovan
Now that I know that I’m predominantly Prevention Focused, I will no longer feel the need to force and/or fake optimism again. Whew
Jordan Lui
Jun 15, 2017 rated it liked it
The premise of this book is very interesting and applicable to people to improve their relationships, negotiation, business deals, etc. I found the length and delivery of this book to be challenging though. As a native English speaker, I had trouble following this book unless I was 100% focused on the words. I feel like the lingo and delivery make the book hard to read smoothly.

Interesting ideas, but the same message would have been received in a book 1/4 the length. The repeated anecdotes start
Mar 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone interested in the psychology of motivation
Shelves: psychology
I may not finish this book. It's well-written and has an interesting idea, it's just that after several chapters repeating the same point, I may be done. Halvorson's thesis is that there are two main motivational foci: prevention and promotion. Prevention-focused people are motivated by avoiding negative consequences; promotion-focused folks are motivated by potential opportunities. Most people are a mix of both, and their motivational focus is affected by context (when you go to the doctor, you ...more
Mihai Pintilie
Jul 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 1-b-mindset
Notes taken:

Prevention focus:
-Try to fix the bads.
-Try to minimise the losses.
-Pain of not being nurtured or safe.
-Avoiding mistakes and preventing problems.
-Motivated by potential losses
In some situations you are promotion focused in others you are prevention focused.

Imagine how you fail will get you focused!

“Being a worryward is important for John, it’s not pessimism it’s “it might fail if I don’t work hard enough” - defensive pessimism”

Framing models matter!

You enjoy a task if it has motivati
Koby Bryan
Jul 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you are familiar with DISC styles of personality classification, you will be a big fan of this book. The authors studied personality styles and focused on two criteria: 1. prevention focus and 2. promotion focus. Prevention-focused people want to avoid bad things, and promotion-focused people want to attain good things. It sounds simplistic, but is a subtle but powerful difference when it comes to motivation and choices in all areas of our lives. They show you how and why it influences our pe ...more
This is an excellent text which introduces a new way of looking at the world - those who are prevention focused (tend toward worrying what will go wrong, are very detail-oriented) and those who are more promotion focused - those who like to try new things, see things advance and tend to take a more holistic view of situations. No great surprise that the world needs both types to function well. Where I'd benefit from knowing more is what you do when your (or another's) dominant approach, doesn't ...more
Ron Felder
Nov 13, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: professional
This was an interesting read. I attended a session delivered by Grant Halvorson about some of the tenets of her book and this provided much more of the detail behind the high-level explanation she provided in that session. This idea of motivational focus makes a lot of sense and it really helped me to see why a few of the conversations I've had with team members haven't gone as well as I would have liked. I can see that applying some of these principles will really help me to be a more effective ...more
Sandeep Gautam
Sep 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: psychology
Brilliant. Heidi and Tory Higgins, in a simplified and easy to understand language, throw light on the elaborate science behind the regulatory focus of prevention or promotion and how it impacts all aspects of our life.
The concept of motivational fit and crafting message so that they are the right fit is especially relevant to anyone who is in the business of influencing.
The writing is smooth and flows easily and is built on solid foundation of research into regulatory focus. This is a must re
May 08, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was not bad but it was way too long. There was a total diarrhea of words involved in getting the concept across. And yes, the concept seems fairly legitimate - that people can be divided into those who are promotion minded versus those who are prevention minded - and that by doing so you can design motivational concepts around those two views. Promotion-minded folks are more optimistic and look to the gains and benefits while prevention-minded people are more about avoiding losses (not nece ...more
Oct 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
There are 2 types of motivation in people: Promotion oriented and prevention oriented. Promotion oriented people think in terms "what can I get, what is the reward?" while people with prevention oriented ask "how can I avoid making mistakes?". Promotion oriented people go for end goal, while prevention oriented people eliminate all threats that could stop them on the way to reward. This book is so simple and eye opening, especially if you weren't aware of your dominant focus. It can also be exce ...more
Oct 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Good research, presented in a digestable way. I listened to the audiobook version, which was a bit hard to keep up toward the end because of the amount of infomration.

I already put some of what I learned into practice both dealing with my kids, and working more effectively with colleagues at home.
Caleb Philbrick
Dislike the binary categorization of human personalities and outlooks, but insightful thoughts nonetheless. Thing is, as I've learned, if you try to appeal to people who approach problems differently than you by appealing to them in their mindset - it comes off as very inauthentic, and perhaps forced. It takes more than knowledge to use the book effectively.
Kelsie Oreta
Nov 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Great concept that makes me reconsider my interactions with others and has increased my empathy and understanding of other people. Four stars because the last few chapters were very repetitive and dragged on.
J Crossley
In this book, Heidi Grant Halvorson looks at how focus can make our lives more fulfilling. Instead of just using one way to look at the world, this book suggests different types of focus for different situations.
Geetanjali Mukherjee
Jul 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Very useful for anyone needing to persuade family, friends, employees or customers of anything. It's not as easy to read as some of my other favorite motivational psychology books, but the information is gold.
Jan 02, 2015 rated it liked it
I got bored. The ideas are not bad but too few to write an interesting book. I think the practical examples are not enough for me. Didn't finish it.
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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