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Emotional Success: The Power of Gratitude, Compassion, and Pride

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  418 ratings  ·  61 reviews
A pioneering psychologist reveals how three emotions can provide the surest, quickest route to success in any realm.

A string of bestsellers have alerted us to the importance of grit – an ability to persevere and control one’s impulses that is so closely associated with greatness. But no book yet has charted the most accessible and powerful path to grit: our prosocial emo
Kindle Edition, 241 pages
Published January 9th 2018 by Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Cindy Rollins
This book may have cured me from reading self-help books forever. The scientific experiments conducted to prove his point were so agonizingly weak and unscientific you would almost think he thought science was another word for manipulation. Sure, emotions are powerful motivators and sure, they can spare us overuse of executive function. We wouldn't need books like this, if indeed we do, if we had just paid attention to some of the advice our grandmothers gave us.

On the bright side much of the r
Chris Russell
Mar 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a rather long-winded summary because I was taking notes as I was reading the book over the last few weeks. Overall I liked the content and learned a lot of practical stuff I can put into use. This post is a combination of 3 separate blog posts I used the content for at my sit
Using Gratitude to Make Yourself a Better Person
Leveraging a simple emotion for powerful results.
I am reading a very good book; Emotional Success, the Power of Gratitude, Compassion
Konrad Senf
Feb 10, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology
The book is an easy read, it contains some great ideas and potential information, and it provides some food for thought with regard to its main topic, so I'm not about to advise anyone against checking out the book just based on the quibbles that I may have had (some of which may be mainly due to decisions by the publisher/editor to oversimplify some of the content and clearly aim for a pop science flavour to it).

Still, I am afraid that quite a number of points bothered me about this book. I fo
Apr 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the type of book I thoroughly enjoy: one that helps me to view something in a completely new light and question some of my unknown assumptions. Ever since a transformation a few years ago I've been focused on rationality as a goal of mine. I viewed people's lack of critical thinking skills as one of the major problems facing individuals and society (in most ways I still do). I wished that I could reduce many of my emotions. To be fair, mostly the "negative" ones, but I would have accepte ...more
Emily Goenner
Jul 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really interesting discussion of how emotions can help the brain/people exercise will power, thoughtful decisions, and control.
Jorge Vela
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
DeSteno does a great job at championing the idea that a specific set of "right emotions" - gratitude, compassion, and (authentic) pride - are crucial for achieving long-term success (emotionality, socially, even economically). The author does this by showing how these emotions can specifically positively impact social life. For instance, by showing, through social experiment data, how making employees take pride in their work (through direct acknowledgement of the importance of their work among ...more
Jul 29, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
Some interesting studies about how emotions like gratitude, compassion, and pride can help in your personal and professional life.

Unfortunately, as a solution to everyday problems or as guidance on changing behavior, I didn’t find too much in the way of specific examples of implementing the results of this research into daily life.

Feeling burned out, frustrated, or depressed? HAVE YOU TRIED FEELING GRATITUDE?

This book may have set out to just be an informational thing, raising interesting poin
Apr 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is for me life changing. I have spent my life with the working assumption that if I could just be self disciplined enough, with enough grit and perseverance then I could achieve my goals. This book does an excellent job of upending that assumption and puts forth the idea that it is the positive emotions we feel, gratitude, compassion, and pride, that play a far more significant role in our future success than anything else our mind can work up. Desteno starts with the marshmallow study ...more
Olivia Chapé
Sep 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book ties in nicely with other motivational books and advice about pursuing a career that you are passionate about. However, I would say that this book is unique in it's message.

Rather than speaking about mindfulness as an airy fairy approach, DeSteno takes us on a journey of self-discovery, shedding light on past experiences and bad behaviours. Why did we act in such a way? And why did others around us act the way they did? To notice these things, is to notice our failures. Why? So that w
Luke Johnson
Jan 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent description of how to develop the 3 primary emotions to motivate you into becoming the best you, you want to be.
Ok, book-learned to tell yourself how you feel (don't listen to your feeling). a little drawn out and kind of boring. ...more
Mahmoud Ghoz
The book is amazing and talking about the power of gratitude and how you can direct your emotions to help yourself succeed or your team.
The book has a lot of expirments and nice results,some of them are obvious and others are a bit surprising for me.
Donna Wright
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-help
Very good book. I related with on part in particular about a person who has great willpower but sometimes overextends their own willpower leading to a failure in one area. It's not that they don't have willpower, it is the willpower is overused. The failure isn't a lack of willpower, but a lack of good habits. The combination of willpower and habits really struck me as something I need to work on. I learned a lot from this book and would recommend it. ...more
Rori Rockman
Interesting book with some interesting studies. Main problem with this book is correlation does not equal causation. And I am not one of those assholes that cries that out all the time. If you haven't proved causation, but it seems reasonable to think that one thing likely caused the other, I'm willing to go along with your assumption unless and until it's proven otherwise. But in some of the studies cited, assuming causation doesn't even seem reasonable. Like when he cited a study that grateful ...more
Hilary Whatley
3.5 stars. Some useful information, but some errors if you ask me. I do love his concept that emotions (over cognition) are powerful tools to achieve our goals.

A breakdown of sections:

PRIDE: In this section the author discusses how peer pressure can stimulate the formation of virtues / intrinsic goals and values. They start off being external values, and through praise and peer pressure, become internal. No conflicts with the idea of external values leading to internal ones. My problem is with t
Abdullah Najjar
Mar 29, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review is a reflection of my understanding of the books' views.

Emotional success as the author claims is reached by following the motivational power of Gratitude, Compassion, and Pride. These emotions are proven to work within a framework that can enhance the effectiveness of logical thinking since these emotions offer a clear approach that functions well under the uncontrollable events in life. It presents an innate feeling of success and self-control aligned with the wholeness of being a
Camila Matamala
Jan 30, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Camila by: Audible
Shelves: autoayuda, audiobook
My Opinion / Mi Opinión

As a disclaimer, I listened to the audiobook version of this book; and even though I don't have any complaints about the audio recording or the voice actor, I must admit that I would recommend you to get this book in a physical format. Mainly because the arguments that support the authors reasoning are heavily based on research and statistics.
From this book I learned quite a bit about human behavior and the role of emotions in it. Particularly the chapters about compassio
Oct 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
DeSteno (psychology, Northeastern Univ.; The Truth About Trust) posits that attributes of pride, compassion, and gratitude are even more powerful than the popular concepts of willpower and grit to succeed. Living with short-term goals, poor self-control, and the desire for immediate gratification is familiar to many. These are common habits even for people who are pursuing a more meaningful life. What inhibits people from achieving their pursuits is the subject of DeSteno's psychological examina ...more
Renee Ross
Dec 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An Unexpected Hack to Make New Year's Resolutions Stick

New Year’s resolutions are a big topic right now. Changing the calendar makes most of us step back and reflect on the past year. What went well? What would we like to change?

Yet the truth is, we’re reading the same advice we read last year. Studies show that less than 20% of people succeed in keeping their resolutions past the first 30 days of the year. Something isn’t working!

A few times in the past, I resolved to maintain a consistent wri
Michael Neal
Sep 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great read, great book, and the thing that caused me to rate it 3-4 stars is that it over extends its thesis into a political realm and mass societal realm. The way it constructs it’s cultural technology of Gratitude, Compassion, and Pride as personal tools we can better use to develop our self-control is wonderful and very helpful.

At the same time I think the text goes a bit far in the implications of the cultural technologies it explains and constructs which honest made me tune out. Mass soci
Jan 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Emotional Success: The Power of Gratitude, Compassion, and Pride by David DeSteno is a book about how to achieve long-lasting and sustainable perseverance and persistence towards personal goals through the cultivation of three primary emotions: gratitude, compassion, and pride. DeSteno’s thesis is that too often we exhaust ourselves trying to achieve our goals and objectives because we over-utilize short-term cognitive mechanisms rather than long-term emotional motivators. DeSteno’s primary argu ...more
Kent White
I was surprised to learn that willpower (grit) is not nearly as effective in establishing improved behaviors as incorporating gratitude, compassion, and pride. I have often cut myself off from relationships in order to get stuff done; but this book is helping me reframe that impulse. Now I am couching my efforts to improve by involving others and benefiting others as my source of motivation.

One other big a-ha I had was that the original purpose of meditation was not to increase focus, that was
Fiona Carvalho
Feb 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The motivational power of Gratitude, Compassion and Pride. I like how Dr. DeSteno supports his theories with details of experiments carried out by psychiatrists from around the world. Proud to read about an experiment carried out by one of the professors in NUS. I'm just gonna leave what I thought was the best quote in the book here:

"Taking time to invest in others - to laugh with them, to happily surprise them, to comfort them - not only allows us to be more productive with the time we dedicate
Cristian Cuna
I bought this book after reading Thinking Fast & Slow by Daniel Kahneman, looking for more insights about the human brain and how it works, The book describes the influence that gratitude, compassion and pride have upon a person's behavior but I cannot say that they were so amazing.

Harnessing the power of these emotions in order to increase your self-control might be doable, but the rather limited scenarios in which they can be applied to ensure that the result will not be considerable one.

James P
Dec 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the premise that this book was built on. He described, documented built his thesis in a scientific and academic perspective. He showed how only operating from a cognitive and rational perspective, people are more temporal, seeking immediate gratification, more prone to burnout and less trustworthy than people with a high degree of gratitude, compassion and a positive self concept. A very good read for the social scientist.
May 17, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
The book gives many studies that support the idea that these virtuous emotions actually help us by promoting behaviors such as doing things that are difficult in the short term but benefit us in the long term. Gratitude, for example, helps us be willing to exercise as a kindness to our future self. Gratitude also promotes compassion and these emotions tend to spread to others when they see them in us. The book is filled with examples and made good sense to me.
Mary Robison
Jan 16, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought that this book was quite interesting. The author cites many of his own studies as well as the studies to support his thesis. I did like that he focused on humans being irrational due to emotions and that we cannot ignore the power of emotion in decision-making. The end got a little preachy with the "how this applies to the corporate world" (I find in your face corporate things to be very obnoxious in general), I learned a lot from this book. ...more
This was a good book. I think the author did a fine job of making his point and backing it up. There’s no doubt, in my mind, that we would all be better off to cultivate the emotions of gratitude, compassion and pride (though no the kind of pride also known as arrogance).

For reasons I can’t put my finger on, I didn’t find it particularly engaging.

I still recommend it though.
Feb 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Based on a lot of research, this book takes a new look at what is needed to develop grit. Rather than focusing on self-control and denial, the author argues that focusing on gratitude, compassion, and pride instead is a better way to reach your goals. Lots of good examples. I was especially intrigued with the inclusion of pride, although he considers it less selfishly than I usually consider.
I listened to the audiobook version, which could have affected my experience. The ideas in this book are far reaching and important. I appreciated the extensive references to research studies and explanations of methodology used, I felt a little bogged down by it all at the end. But, again, maybe if I had been visually absorbing this information, it would be felt different.
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