Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence” as Want to Read:
Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  6,105 Ratings  ·  645 Reviews
Bestselling author Daniel Goleman returns with a groundbreaking look at today's scarcest resource and the secret to high performance and fulfillment: attention

For more than two decades, psychologist and journalist Daniel Goleman has been scouting the leading edge of the human sciences for what's new, surprising, and important. In Focus, he delves into the science of attent
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published October 8th 2013 by Harper (first published 2013)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Focus, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Mickaugrec I suggest you fan the pages and see what catches your glance. Then repeat holding upside down and flipping the pages in reverse, in case you missed…moreI suggest you fan the pages and see what catches your glance. Then repeat holding upside down and flipping the pages in reverse, in case you missed anything.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Nov 11, 2013 rated it did not like it
The title of this book, "Focus", surely must be ironic. It's not just unfocused, it's so unfocused that I'm not really sure what it's supposed to be about (and yes, I did read the entire thing). It's as if the author just tried to jumble together all the things he's interested in - global warming, empathy, Daniel Kahneman-esque behavioral theory, business management, etc. The problem is there's no theme that really ties everything together. I mean, obviously the theme is supposed to be focus (he ...more
Johannes Bertus
Nov 23, 2013 rated it it was ok
This book is all about how we ... Oh look! Some interesting facts about Apple's business strategy!
James Houston
Jan 23, 2014 rated it liked it
I bought this book because I need help focusing, and I have a lot of respect for Daniel Goleman's important work on emotional intelligence.

I finished it a little bit disappointed, feeling like I knew some interesting facts about how focus works and can work, but without much in the way of useful information about how to increase my own focus.

I already knew that mindfulness is a good and valuable skill to train. I already knew that certain video games targeted at brain functions could train the
K.D. Absolutely
Turning off our smartphones once in a while. Giving our full attention when someone is talking to us. Letting the other person complete her sentence and not finishing it for her. Asking questions to show interest. Look her in the eyes. Really listen. No to multitasking. Focus on what's more important.

I thought I knew all of these or maybe I used to know but somehow lost them. So, I picked up this book one Sunday afternoon from Fullybooked The Block while waiting for my wife and daughter to arri
Mal Warwick
Jan 06, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Daniel Goleman returned to Berkeley not long ago to speak to a large and enthusiastic audience at International House about the themes in his new book, Focus. Though he’d spent only his junior year as an undergraduate at Cal, his quips and asides quickly showed him to be fully in synch with Berkeley’s humane values. Though he never stated the point explicitly, it was also clear that Goleman saw the roots of the community’s concerns in the chemistry of our brains.

You may remember Goleman as the a
DNF at 50%

Book did not have enough "focus" to hold my interest.

Jonathan Karmel
Nov 04, 2013 rated it it was ok
"Understandably, we focus on the people we value most. If you are poor, you depend on good relationships with friends and family whom you may need to turn to for help--say, when you need someone to look after your four-year-old until you get home from work. Those with few resources and a fragile perch on stability "need to lean on people," says Dacher Keltner, a psychologist at the University of California, Berkeley.

"So the poor are particularly attentive to other people and their needs.

"The wea
Janet Pawelek
Nov 12, 2013 rated it did not like it
Wow. This book is a mishmash of ideas, jettisoning from preschool kids to million-dollar executives, supposedly linking all with the focus of focus. It didn't work for me. To me, the only focus was on the author, how knowledgeable he feels he is, and how amazing his family is. Would not recommend unless you have insomnia.
Emma Sea
Apr 24, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: paperback, i-own-it
If you are looking for strategies to improve your own focus, skip this.

Everything in this review is accurate.
Matthew Green
Apr 29, 2014 rated it it was ok
How can a book entitled Focus be so unfocused?

Goleman doesn't seem to have anyplace he's intentionally going with his latest book. Instead, he's just cobbling together a layman's interpretation of research on attention. He clusters his topics into broader categories, but even these categories don't really seem all that meaningful. You really can't walk away with any single idea more complex than, "Attention is important," since there isn't a through-line, no particular thing he's trying to prove
Jan 25, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
"FOCUS" Lacks Focus (A Review of the Audiobook)

Published in 2013 by HarperCollins.
Read by the author, Daniel Goleman.
Duration: 8 hours, 8 minutes.

Dr. Daniel Goleman is best known as the author of Emotional Intelligence . In many ways this book is less of a book about the importance of focus and more of a sequel to Emotional Intelligence . It is also a anti-global warming manifesto, an education reform book, a self-help book for business leaders who want to be the real leaders in their offices
Brent McGregor
Aug 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
From Amazon:
Having been a fan of Goleman since reading "Emotional Intelligence" in the 90's, I was excited to dive into "Focus".
Goleman does not disappoint. He begins by outlining our general condition in society today as being inattentive. Our minds are in a constant state of overload and what passes for 'multi-tasking' is described as a huge productivity barrier. Finding time to decompress, or be 'fully in the moment', requires a level of Self Awareness covered in Part II. Goleman goes into b
Oct 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the top 10 most useful books I've ever read. Mr Goleman's Social Intelligence is another on that same list. A succinct, and yet detailed overview of how and why focus builds a better brain. It has revolutionised my view and motivation for meditation over and over again, more so than any Buddhist treatise or words by one of a number of meditation teachers. This book or at least its content should be taught to every schoolgoer, and esp, every business school graduate. And anybody who cannot ...more
Dec 17, 2015 rated it it was ok
While I was reading the book, I had doubt if I wasn't focusing with the book or it is an unfocus book despite the title and the essence of the book! after skimming through previous reviews, I saw that others too had the same impression.

The book has some useful information regarding types of focus (inner,outer,and other), and how it relates to the brain, how it relates to early childhood, focus in leadership, and other "random" information that the author tries to relate to the subject of the boo
Soundview Executive Book Summaries
Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence by Daniel Goleman was chosen by Soundview Executive Book Summaries as one of the Top 30 Business Books of 2014.


When a pioneer in any field returns with a new piece of thought leadership, whether written or spoken, the eyes and ears of the business world instinctively turn to see and hear. Daniel Goleman, former New York Times science reporter and multiple-bestselling author, changed the landscape of management with his book Emotional In
Daniela Olivas
Aug 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
Really good book,but it's not for everybody. You should have either read other books concerning cognitive psychology or you should have studied some kind of social studies. In other words it's not an easy book but i recommend it if you want to expand your knowledge in cognitive psychology and neuroscience and how they can be aplied through right behaviours in society (even reach the goal to become the right type of leader)
Troy Blackford
Dec 23, 2015 rated it liked it
In a shocking plot twist, this book is kind of all over the place.

Goleman broadly interprets 'focus,' starting off describing what you think he is going to be talking about, and gradually going down all sorts of tangents as he approaches the end of the book. Possibly, he realized he wasn't going to hit his length requirement and just started roping things in.

Much of what's here is of great interest--especially if you haven't already read about it in other books. But it's found among a lot of...
Harison Silva
Mar 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bom conteúdo e muito útil! Só tenho contra que em algumas partes ele é repetitivo e isso acaba o tornando um pouco cansativo. Mas, certamente é uma ótima leitura!
James Dalziel
Jan 10, 2016 rated it liked it
There is an irony that washes over the reader upon finishing Goleman's Focus, as we become conscious that a book aimed at explaining the importance, mechanisms and research related to focused thought has ventured far from the plot line to include lessons on climate change, systems theory, empathy, and business strategy, to name but a few of the barely tangentially related topics on offer toward the end of this pop-psychology bestseller. In short, Focus exhibits some of the characteristics we wou ...more
Dec 15, 2013 rated it liked it
The book was somewhat disappointing to me, but it was still worth it for this very concise summary: there are three kinds of focus we need to be successful: inner, outer, and other. That resonated with me, that we need to be self-aware, listen to others and evaluate and act on that input, and to be aware of the world around us. Sort of motherhood and apple pie, but still good advice.

The book was a little too meandering for my tastes, and I often think I have ADD. Particularly puzzling to me was
Poyan Nabati
I have to agree with some of the other reviews; for a book that's called "focus" it's terribly unfocused. It felt like the author did a Google Search for the word "focus" and then tried to write a book about everything he found.

Also, I'm pretty allergic to people who try to put up a scientific or authorative facade but don't really back it up in any way. For instance, he writes "muscle builders know you won't get a six-pack belly by lifting free weights - you need to do a particular set of crun
Sylvia Ho
Oct 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
I agree with the other reviewers on who wrote that this book called "Focus" ironically lacks it. There are really great chapters with rich data, such as the myth of the 10,000 hours discussing the benefits and components of focused practice. Other chapters such as the chapters about leadership lost my attention (ironically) because they merely repeat the same information in Goleman's other books on leadership and emotional intelligence. It is possible that Goleman did not have enough ...more
Calin Biris
May 01, 2017 rated it liked it
Cartea este o colectie de mai multe lectii despre abilitatea de concentrare si beneficiile acesteia. Normal ca autorul face de mai multe ori referinta si la inteligenta emotionala, domeniul care l-a consacrat.
Eu am ascultat cartea sub forma de audiobook si de mai multe ori m-a pierdut datorita stilului plictisitor de citire.
Ultimul capitol despre leadership mi-a placut. Nu as pune cartea in topul listei de carti de citit.
Craig Rowley
Sep 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Summary: Keep it Human to Lead Completely.

Goleman continues to do a wonderful job of grounding past theory in modern neuroscience. Excellent book for those who want to be more effective through self-awareness, empathic leadership, and focus on both short-term execution and long term-benefits.
Infra Sun
Sep 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Esti atent la ce se intampla in jurul tau zi de zi, la ce faci, la ce te uiti si citesti? Tu zici ca da, studiile zic ca nu. Pe masura ce trece timpul din cauza abundentei de informatii cu care suntem asaltati zi de zi, atentia noastra slabeste.

Gandeste-te in felul urmator: esti pe facebook si dai in jos prin news feed. In 2 minute ai trecut prin cateva zeci daca nu sute de subiecte de la sanii uneia pana la testele atomice ale Coreei de Nord. Da, normal ca scade rapid atentia.

De asta ai nevoie
Maxwell Riess
Jan 13, 2018 rated it it was ok
Focus - the hidden driver of human excellence.

A book that champions the benefits of living in a more focused life, that is itself disappointingly unfocused in it execution.

It presents focus as a panacea to almost all maladies of the modern world. Professional success, finding meaningful work, weight loss, leadership, empathy, video game induced violence, education and averting environmental disaster are all, we are told, solved by cracking the problem of how to pay attention to what matters.

Kirk Gray
Feb 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: business
The irony of this book is that I thought it lacked some, well, focus. It started off as the book you thought you were getting, then the second half sort of meandered all over the place. Interesting anecdotes, but not the quality I expected from this author.
John Martindale
Jan 12, 2014 rated it it was ok
Daniel Goleman isn't anyone ordinary, no, our hero is one who has drunk to the drags Al Gores Kool-aid and has himself felt Mother Earth's mystical call to be a global warming evangelical. But, as he moved into his high calling of a prophet of doom, he noticed he could only stir momentary repentance among the wicked energy users, and in a short time the new converts had backslidden back to their evil ways, for example, some even had the audacity to read Goleman's book, though it ~gasp~ raped Mot ...more
Edgar Navarro
Jan 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tiene varias buenas ideas, aunque coincido con algunas de las reseñas, a pesar de que lo leí hasta el final no logré obtener lo que buscaba, que principalmente era entender como enfocarme en mis intereses y metas, sin divagar tanto entre las múltiples distracciones que tenemos a la vuelta de un dedo o un clic. Bueno, pero no lo encuentro enfocado en el tema que plantea. tal ves no tuve el enfoque suficiente para entenderlo...
Sep 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reveals my perceived strengths as potential weaknesses.

I learned a lot of new things about myself: how I let my moods, emotions and biases carry me through important life decisions with recognizing that I have a choice to manage my feelings, appetites, and health.

I can relate more comfortably to a broader range of people by recognizing my perceived comfort zone as an illusion. Open to greater possibilities.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Compelling People: The Hidden Qualities That Make Us Influential
  • Succeeding When You're Supposed to Fail: The 6 Enduring Principles of High Achievement
  • The Distraction Addiction: Getting the Information You Need and the Communication You Want, Without Enraging Your Family, Annoying Your Colleagues, and Destroying Your Soul
  • What You're Really Meant to Do
  • The Business of Belief: How the World's Best Marketers, Designers, Salespeople, Coaches, Fundraisers, Educators, Entrepreneurs and Other Leaders Get Us to Believe
  • Quiet Influence: The Introvert's Guide to Making a Difference
  • Thinking in New Boxes: A New Paradigm for Business Creativity
  • The Art of Doing: How Superachievers Do What They Do and How They Do It So Well
  • Making Habits, Breaking Habits: Why We Do Things, Why We Don't, and How to Make Any Change Stick
  • Maximize Your Potential: Grow Your Expertise, Take Bold Risks  Build an Incredible Career
  • Likeable Business: Why Today's Consumers Demand More and How Leaders Can Deliver
  • The Click Moment: Seizing Opportunity in an Unpredictable World
  • Tell to Win: Connect, Persuade, and Triumph with the Hidden Power of Story
  • Why Work Sucks and How to Fix It: No Schedules, No Meetings, No Joke--the Simple Change That Can Make Your Job Terrific
  • Willful Blindness: Why We Ignore the Obvious at Our Peril
  • How to Change Minds: The Art of Influence without Manipulation
  • Overcoming Fake Talk: How to Hold Real Conversations That Create Respect, Build Relationships, and Get Results
  • Nothing Is Impossible: 7 Steps to Realize Your True Power and Maximize Your Results
Author of Emotional Intelligence and psychologist Daniel Goleman has transformed the way the world educates children, relates to family and friends, and conducts business. The Wall Street Journal ranked him one of the 10 most influential business thinkers.

Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence was on The New York Times best sellers list for a year-and-a-half. Named one of the 25 "Most Influential Busine
More about Daniel Goleman

Nonfiction Deals

  • A Guide to the Present Moment
    $7.99 $2.99
  • Hunting Eichmann: How a Band of Survivors and a Young Spy Agency Chased Down the World's Most Notorious Nazi
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Breaks of the Game
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Soul Keeping: Caring For the Most Important Part of You
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt
    $12.74 $2.99
  • How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization
    $8.24 $1.99
  • Dry
    $9.99 $3.99
  • Animal Liberation: The Definitive Classic of the Animal Movement
    $17.99 $1.99
  • The Measure of a Man
    $8.74 $1.99
  • Recovery: Freedom from Our Addictions
    $13.99 $2.99
  • 100 Days of Real Food: How We Did It, What We Learned, and 100 Easy, Wholesome Recipes Your Family Will Love
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls: A Handbook for Unapologetic Living
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity
    $13.99 $2.99
  • Best Friends: The True Story of the World's Most Beloved Animal Sanctuary
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Let. It. Go.: How to Stop Running the Show and Start Walking in Faith
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis
    $9.24 $1.99
  • Clara's War: One Girl's Story of Survival
    $8.49 $1.99
  • The Earth Shall Weep: A History of Native America
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Crown of Blood: The Deadly Inheritance of Lady Jane Grey
    $17.48 $1.99
  • The Story of Sushi: An Unlikely Saga of Raw Fish and Rice
    $12.49 $1.99
  • The Noticer Returns: Sometimes You Find Perspective, and Sometimes Perspective Finds You
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Scar Tissue
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Running with Scissors
    $9.99 $3.99
  • The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics
    $9.99 $2.99
  • 1968: The Year That Rocked the World
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Notes on a Banana: A Memoir of Food, Love and Manic Depression
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Unfinished Business: Women Men Work Family
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between)
    $11.99 $2.99
  • The Warrior Elite: The Forging of SEAL Class 228
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes
    $9.99 $2.99
  • And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Vegetable Butcher: How to Select, Prep, Slice, Dice, and Masterfully Cook Vegetables from Artichokes to Zucchini
    $22.95 $1.99
  • Facing Your Giants: The God Who Made a Miracle Out of David Stands Ready to Make One Out of You
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Fat Girl Walking: Sex, Food, Love, and Being Comfortable in Your Skin...Every Inch of It
    $8.99 $1.99
  • The Egg and I
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Secrets of Happy Families: Improve Your Mornings, Rethink Family Dinner, Fight Smarter, Go Out and Play, and Much More
    $12.74 $1.99
  • City of Fortune: How Venice Ruled the Seas
    $14.99 $2.99
  • Just Another Kid
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Second World War
    $12.99 $3.99
  • Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage Are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids
    $11.24 $1.99
  • Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8: A Young Man's Voice from the Silence of Autism
    $13.99 $1.99
  • I Am Not Myself These Days (P.S.)
    $13.24 $1.99
  • In the Beginning...Was the Command Line
    $9.49 $1.99
  • Starvation Heights: A True Story of Murder and Malice in the Woods of the Pacific Northwest
    $11.99 $2.99
  • The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Toltec Art of Life and Death
    $11.49 $1.99
  • Put Your Dream to the Test: 10 Questions to Help You See It and Seize It
    $9.49 $2.99
  • The Diva Rules: Ditch the Drama, Find Your Strength, and Sparkle Your Way to the Top
    $17.99 $2.99
  • A Brief History of Time
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Honest Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone--Especially Ourselves
    $9.99 $1.99
  • All My Road Before Me: The Diary of C. S. Lewis, 1922-1927
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Penguin Lessons
    $12.99 $1.99
  • What They Don't Teach You at Harvard Business School: Notes from a Street-smart Executive
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Coach Wooden and Me: Our 50-Year Friendship On and Off the Court
    $11.99 $4.99
  • The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
    $10.99 $2.99
  • Meet Me in the Bathroom: Rebirth and Rock and Roll in New York City 2001-2011
    $12.99 $2.99
  • What We Talk About When We Talk About God
    $11.49 $2.99
  • Running with the Kenyans: Passion, Adventure, and the Secrets of the Fastest People on Earth
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Pilgrim's Wilderness: A True Story of Faith and Madness on the Alaska Frontier
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Johnny Cash: The Life
    $12.99 $3.99
  • No God But God: The Origins, Evolution and Future of Islam
    $13.99 $1.99
  • Seabiscuit: An American Legend
    $12.99 $1.99
“Martin Luther King Jr. observed that those who failed to offer their aid asked themselves the question: “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?” But the Good Samaritan reversed the question: “If I do not stop to help this man what will happen to him?” 5 likes
“Directing attention toward where it needs to go is a primal task of leadership.” 5 likes
More quotes…