Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Sidetracked: Why Our Decisions Get Derailed, and How We Can Stick to the Plan” as Want to Read:
Sidetracked: Why Our Decisions Get Derailed, and How We Can Stick to the Plan
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Sidetracked: Why Our Decisions Get Derailed, and How We Can Stick to the Plan

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  194 ratings  ·  31 reviews
You may not realize it but simple, irrelevant factors can have profound consequences on your decisions and behavior, often diverting you from your original plans and desires. Sidetracked will help you identify and avoid these influences so the decisions you make do stick--and you finally reach your intended goals.

Psychologist and Harvard Business School professor Francesca
ebook, 256 pages
Published February 12th 2013 by Harvard Business School Press (first published January 1st 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 Sidetracked, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Sidetracked

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.54  · 
Rating details
 ·  194 ratings  ·  31 reviews

Sort order
Aaron Maurer
Mar 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have been on a kick reading all sorts of books about motivation, drive, introverts, life strategies, etc. This book was next on my list to read. The title captured me because I am on that is easily distracted. I can walk downstairs to do one thing and find myself 5 minutes later upstairs doing something else. I was interested in what the book would have to offer.
The book focuses on nine principles for which the reader is to work with when trying to improve their focus.
1. Raise your awareness
Scott Rhee
It's easy to get sidetracked. I have become quite a pro at it. My wife says I just have undiagnosed ADHD, and while she may be right, I can't imagine that it can solely explain why I have such a hard time staying focused and finishing things. Take this book, for example. Francesca Gino's thoughtful and entertaining book "Sidetracked" is a good read, and yet I stopped and started it numerous times to read other books. I just get so easily distracted sometimes, which honestly scares the crap out o ...more
Sidetracked. I was expecting the book to be more about sticking with a decision made. The book focuses more on how our decisions can be affected.

Francesca is an associated professor at Harvard and uses a lot of studies (using mainly student volunteers?) to test her hypotheses. She spends an exhaustive amount of the book describing the logistics of each of her experiments which proved to be exhaustive to this reader. I would have much preferred more real-life examples.

The gist of the book is tha

This is indeed the book that's billed in the title, but don't expect the usual "10 ways to stay on task" or "8 ways to manage your time more efficiently" type of business book.

Francesca Gino is a Harvard Business School professor who is one of the leaders in the emerging field of behavioral economics, and her strength is coming up with clever experiments that test why people actually act and think as they do.

Using that approach, she comes up with lessons that illuminate nine principles, ranging
Feb 19, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Poorly written, meandering supposed piece of non-fiction. Amazes me this author was hired as a professor at the Harvard Business School, an otherwise distinguished college that publishes great business work. Instead, this author writes an unfocused book on past experiments she has performed on students at her earlier work at Carnegie Mellon. She thinks guessing weight and marbles is akin to deciding whether major parts of a corporation should shut down. Instead, one should see her experiments fo ...more
Colin Gunderson
The title of this book asks two questions. The second question is answered by the author with a tip at the end of each chapter. The first question though, which is the body of the author's work, can be answered much easier; people make decisions based on emotion, not on logic. Instead, read Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman.
Sep 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was filled with research studies, probably too many. I found it very helpful, though, and have written the summary of the book on pg 227, along with an experiment to jog my memory on the point of each one. It's a bit confusing because the points from the chapters are not the titles or subtitles of the chapters. I think this made the book much more difficult to follow.

1. **Raise your awareness**- Because our views of how capable and competent we are as individuals are often overly posi
Elena Ose
Apr 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Books like these should top the Bestsellers charts, not degrading musings of overly privileged, morally incompetent cases of Tucker Max’s adventures.
As it turns out reading about some guy womanizing, behaving as ratchet as it gets, drinking himself into the oblivion (yes it is a different genre, but a book nonetheless) gets people more engaged than scientifically based, reasonably constructed and soundly presented essentials of progressive human psychology. (Prestigious Harvard research after a
Eleanor Stoneham
Apr 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
The bugs in the mind that sidetrack us

Did you buy the souvenir you meant to get on your holiday shopping trip? Did you achieve the business decision you set out to negotiate? Was your present to your loved one an over whelming success? Was your business launch profitable? Are your employees happy and productive? What we want and what actually happens can end up being very different. There is a mismatch when our actual choices collide with our goals. Why? The human mind has bugs that make it diff
Seanpmcclean McClean
It may be that the authors style simply did not suit me. I found that this book was more of a compilation of sometimes, somewhat related research, tenuously tied to a central theme. At times I found myself looking back to the title, to see how the various studies applied, or where they would lead me to insights that would help me, or direct actions I could take. Though again, this may have been my own shortcoming rather than the authors, I had a very hard time connecting or applying the research ...more
Alain Burrese
May 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found “Sidetracked: Why Our Decisions Get Derailed, and How We Can Stick to the Plan” by Francesca Gino to be an interesting, engaging, fascinating at times, and educational read. I also found it similar to the works of Dan Ariely that I've read and enjoyed, and it's not surprising that the two are colleagues and work together on some experiments. While Ariely had a different focus with his books, they both back up their conclusions and thoughts with very interesting experiments. I found these ...more
Bojan Tunguz
Mar 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Getting sidetracked form our plans and initiatives is all too common of occurrences. Weather it’s not sticking to our New Year’s resolutions, or not following up with contacting an important business contact despite our best intentions to the contrary, we’ve all had to deal with not sticking up with our plans. Francesca Gino’s “Sidetracked” is a book that aims to help us stick to the plan by mining many deep and valuable psychological insights.

This is a thoroughly well researched and informative
This book describes a number of common influences that can conspire to divert us from our original plans and desires. Its objective is to help identify and avoid these influences so that our decisions stick, and we achieve the intended outcome. One of the aims of the book is to ‘help you stay on course toward your personal and professional goals.’

Based on 10 years (mainly academic) research, nine key principles emerge from three categories of influence – i) forces from within ourselves, ii) forc
Mar 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
**Un-derailing the decision-making drive**

Say you’re in the market for buying a new car. What is your decision-making process? You probably do some research, test drive some cars, deliberate, and then decide. Chances are you think your decision-making process is a rational one that carefully considers all the relevant factors. It sure seems like you’re in the driver’s seat. But, the reality is that there are a slew of hidden forces influencing your choice and likely derailing you from the road o
Steven Peterson
Jul 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of a series of books that explore the peculiarities of human decision making. It is well written and introduces readers to a fascinating literature--including research carried out by the author of this book. At this level, a successful volume.

But there are many other works covering the same territory, and this has a somewhat "deja vu" quality to it. Authors such as Ariely and Klein have written works in this same territory. Daniel Kahneman has authored a recent work, based on a vast
sin estar familiarizada con literatura similar a 'sidetracked' me ha parecido un libro compacto y agraciado en contenido. sospecho — para alguien que lleve tiempo invertido en el tema del ser humano y su conducta, motivaciones, ética, productividad y demás— que podría ser una lectura incompleta como si levantara el telón de forma muy repentina. me pareció que pudo haber habido mayor desarrollo desde una perspectiva todavía más curiosa que plantee ideas y no se sienta como un abstracto de investi ...more
Amy Alkon
Aug 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recognizing The Limitations Of The Human Mind Is The Best Way To Overcome Them

Rather adorably, we humans see ourselves as rational animals. Sure, we do more reasoning than a plant or a card table, but in general, research shows us to be frequently irrational -- often to our detriment. One of the best ways to act more in our rational best interest is to recognize all the ways we’re irrational. Harvard Business School’s Dr. Francesca Gino helps us do that by explaining how we actually get derailed
Apr 16, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A collection of interesting studies that display how irrational things are likely to influence decision making, but I didn't feel like the title/drive of the book really fit. It should have been called something like 'How to Make Better Decisions in the First Place'--the studies apply more to why people do things that aren't in line with their intentions, not preexisting plans or decisions. Because of this, it usually seemed kind of awkward when the author would try to tie her conclusions back i ...more
AbdulRahman عبدالرحمن
Most of the book is an exhaustive detail of the author's social experiments on students/colleagues. The author goes on and on, page after page describing every angle of the "clever" experiment, mentioning almost every minuscule detail except the sizes of the participants underwear. the Author wastes pages on describing the experiment and very few lines on the "lessons learned". Do not waste your time with this book.
Apr 16, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Il titolo in italiano è "La scelta giusta" ma è (volutamente?) fuorviante. il libro è una sequenza di esperimenti su studenti con tanto di spiegazioni e percentuali che in sé potrebbero essere interessanti per qualcuno che desidera sapere come si eseguono. Se cercate un libro che dia consigli pratici e teorici su come effettuare le scelte cercate un altro libro.
I love Francesca (as a co-worker and as a person), but I don't think she's fully made the transition from academic audience to lay audience in this book.

I understand her desire to explain the set up of the experiments she talks about, and in fact I sometimes wanted more details, but I also often skimmed over that information, wanting the results.
Mar 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book, and it is one that I will reread. It was thought provoking and piqued my interest, and I am plan to read some of the works cited (if I am not sidetracked by a stack of other books already on my reading list).The book was not what I expected, based on the title. I found the book to be less about being sidetracked, and more about the factors that influence our decisions.
Jul 16, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
If you love reading in depth about sociological studies, then you will love this book. For me, the information it provided was rather basic and the countless experiments recounted in detail proved tedious. The book wasn't horrible, but I don't think I would recommend it.
Shirley Pollock
I will continue to read this book - however there is a lot of talk about the experiments undertaken and only a little amount of time what the results mean. I was disappointed that there were less suggestions for how we can stick to the plan - maybe that comes later in the book.
Smoochdog D.
A good book to skim, unless you are really into methodology, and statistics. Overall the theories in the book were great to read and fascinating to gain insight into. But the stats and methodologies of the studies were a little to dense for me.
Milton Moon Louie
Author tells us the we ourselves, friends and outside influences can get us sidetracked. Nine points to help us keep from being sidetracked. Although in the end it was ironic that she took a different major because she got sidetracked. B
Quynh Ngo
The book talks a lot on common sense, so I think it's a good choice if you just start reading on this kind of non-fiction.
Aug 06, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lots of anecdotes about psychology studies...which were interesting, but I was hoping there would be a little more practical advice.
Mar 03, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013, psychology
A book on why we get pulled off-task. But also a book on how we react to things and how we lie to ourselves. Along the same lines as Dan Ariely.
I couldn't get through this book because there were too many studies. I just like to know the results of the studies, to be honest.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Rainy Brain, Sunny Brain: How to Retrain Your Brain to Overcome Pessimism and Achieve a More Positive Outlook
  • The Power of Noticing: What the Best Leaders See
  • The Gospel Centered Woman: Understanding Biblical Womanhood through the Lens of the Gospel
  • Geeks and Geezers: How Era, Values and Defining Moments Shape Leaders
  • It's Not the How or the What but the Who: Succeed by Surrounding Yourself with the Best
  • The Beauty Bias: The Injustice of Appearance in Life and Law
  • How to Get People to Do Stuff: Master the Art and Science of Persuasion and Motivation
  • Daniel Goleman Omnibus
  • Ctrl Alt Delete: Reboot Your Business. Reboot Your Life. Your Future Depends on It.
  • Organizing the Disorganized Child: Simple Strategies to Succeed in School
  • Monday Morning Choices: 12 Powerful Ways to Go from Everyday to Extraordinary
  • What I Didn't Learn in Business School: How Strategy Works in the Real World
  • Falling Behind: How Rising Inequality Harms the Middle Class
  • The Big Test: The Secret History of the American Meritocracy
  • Angel Killer: A True Story of Cannibalism Crime Fighting and Insanity in New York City
  • Negotiating the Impossible: How to Break Deadlocks and Resolve Ugly Conflicts (Without Money or Muscle)
  • Dance with Chance: Making Luck Work for You
  • The Gold Standard: Building a World-Class Team
Francesca Gino is an award-winning researcher and teacher, and a tenured professor at Harvard Business School.

Her consulting and speaking clients include Bacardi, Akamai, Disney, Goldman Sachs, Honeywell, Novartis, P&G, and the U.S. Air Force, Army, and Navy.

She has been honored as one of the world’s Top 40 Business Professors under 40 and one of the world’s 50 most influential management th