Sunday, March 10, 2013

Book Review: Sidetracked: Why our decisions get derailed, and how we can stick to the plan by Francesca Gino

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

Author: Francesca Gino

Inside Jacket Sleeve

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 Gino has long studied the factors at play when judgment and decision making collide with the results of our choices in real life. In this book she explores inconsistent decisions played out in a wide range of circumstances—from our roles as consumers and employees (what we buy, how we manage others) to the choices that we make more broadly as human beings (who we date, how we deal with friendships). From Gino’s research, we see when a mismatch is most likely to occur between what we want and what we end up doing. What factors are likely to sway our decisions in directions we did not initially consider? And what can we do to correct for the subtle influences that derail our decisions? The answers to these and similar questions will help you negotiate similar factors when faced with them in the real world.

For fans of Dan Ariely and Daniel Kahneman, this book will help you better understand the nuances of your decisions and how they get derailed—so you have more control over keeping them on track.


My Thoughts

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

2. Take your emotional temperature

3. Zoom out

4. Take the other party's point of view

5. Question your bonds

6. Check your reference points

7. Consider the source

8. Investigate and question the frame

9 Make your standards shine

When reading this most of these items seemed like common sense. However, what is so powerful about this book is that through all the research how easily we are affected. Most people know to raise their awareness for example. I am trying to get back into shape as I right this review. I know I have to watch what I eat, how I exercise, how much sleep, etc. We know this. Reading all the research that is shared by the author I was not aware at how much we can be sidetracked. Letting our emotions get in the way, viewing ourselves as more of an expert than others to list a few. Once again we might think this is a no brainer. Read the book. Read the research. Be amazed by how much we can impacted by the small things. Things that I never realized. Things are a chain reaction. One little thing can really shift the path we take as our days, weeks, years progress.


I really connected with a Chinese parable that was shard about a cracked pot.   

This was one of my favorite parts of the book and how our perceptions or outlook on life events can really impact us.We can be either too narrow or too broad. The book cites examples of businesses and also research to support the idea. This was one of my favorite chapters by far. It really applied to me personally.


Some of the ideas and research I found in Dan Pink's book so that was cool to compare the ideas and take away their views on things. I kept thinking about how I could apply the ideas to teaching as an educator. The items expressed are those soft skills that are not really curriculum, but essential pieces to helping our students become productive adults.

 All in all I enjoyed the books. I liked how there was example after example of research to showcase the ideas expressed. I need to think on the book more to see how I can move it to the education world. Many examples were business related which makes sense because we are all aware of many of these companies. A great read. One to check out if looking for something to think, ponder, and apply to your life.      

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