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Sway by Ori Brafman and Rom Brafman - Excerpt

Sway by Ori Brafman and Rom Brafman - Excerpt

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3.5

(1)
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A fascinating journey into the hidden psychological influences that derail our decision-making, Sway will change the way you think about the way you think.

Why is it so difficult to sell a plummeting stock or end a doomed relationship? Why do we listen to advice just because it came from someone “important”? Why are we more likely to fall in love when there’s danger involved? In Sway, renowned organizational thinker Ori Brafman and his brother, psychologist Rom Brafman, answer all these questions and more.

Drawing on cutting-edge research from the fields of social psychology, behavioral economics, and organizational behavior, Sway reveals dynamic forces that influence every aspect of our personal and business lives, including loss aversion (our tendency to go to great lengths to avoid perceived losses), the diagnosis bias (our inability to reevaluate our initial diagnosis of a person or situation), and the “chameleon effect” (our tendency to take on characteristics that have been arbitrarily assigned to us).

Sway introduces us to the Harvard Business School professor who got his students to pay $204 for a $20 bill, the head of airline safety whose disregard for his years of training led to the transformation of an entire industry, and the football coach who turned conventional strategy on its head to lead his team to victory. We also learn the curse of the NBA draft, discover why interviews are a terrible way to gauge future job performance, and go inside a session with the Supreme Court to see how the world’s most powerful justices avoid the dangers of group dynamics.

Every once in a while, a book comes along that not only challenges our views of the world but changes the way we think. In Sway, Ori and Rom Brafman not only uncover rational explanations for a wide variety of irrational behaviors but also point readers toward ways to avoid succumbing to their pull.

To read more about Sway, Ori Brafman or Rom Brafman please visit Crown Publishing Group at www.crownpublishing.com
A fascinating journey into the hidden psychological influences that derail our decision-making, Sway will change the way you think about the way you think.

Why is it so difficult to sell a plummeting stock or end a doomed relationship? Why do we listen to advice just because it came from someone “important”? Why are we more likely to fall in love when there’s danger involved? In Sway, renowned organizational thinker Ori Brafman and his brother, psychologist Rom Brafman, answer all these questions and more.

Drawing on cutting-edge research from the fields of social psychology, behavioral economics, and organizational behavior, Sway reveals dynamic forces that influence every aspect of our personal and business lives, including loss aversion (our tendency to go to great lengths to avoid perceived losses), the diagnosis bias (our inability to reevaluate our initial diagnosis of a person or situation), and the “chameleon effect” (our tendency to take on characteristics that have been arbitrarily assigned to us).

Sway introduces us to the Harvard Business School professor who got his students to pay $204 for a $20 bill, the head of airline safety whose disregard for his years of training led to the transformation of an entire industry, and the football coach who turned conventional strategy on its head to lead his team to victory. We also learn the curse of the NBA draft, discover why interviews are a terrible way to gauge future job performance, and go inside a session with the Supreme Court to see how the world’s most powerful justices avoid the dangers of group dynamics.

Every once in a while, a book comes along that not only challenges our views of the world but changes the way we think. In Sway, Ori and Rom Brafman not only uncover rational explanations for a wide variety of irrational behaviors but also point readers toward ways to avoid succumbing to their pull.

To read more about Sway, Ori Brafman or Rom Brafman please visit Crown Publishing Group at www.crownpublishing.com

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Categories:Types, Business/Law
Publish date: Jun 2, 2009
Added to Scribd: Jun 01, 2011
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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08/21/2013

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Copyright © 2008 by Ori Brafman and Rom BrafmanAll Rights ReservedPublished in the United States by Broadway Books, an imprint of The CrownPublishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., New York.www.crownpublishing.comA hardcover edition of this book was originally published in 2008 byDoubleday.
BROADWAY BOOKS
and the Broadway Books colophon are trademarksof Random House, Inc.All trademarks are the property of their respective companies.Book design by Chris WelchLibrary of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication DataBrafman, Ori.Sway : the irresistible pull of irrational behavior / Ori Brafman andRom Brafman.p. cm.Includes bibliographical references and index.1.Rationalism—Psychological aspects. 2.Irrationalism (Philosophy)3.Stupidity. 4.Errors. 5.Conduct of life. 6.Success. I.Brafman, Rom.II.Title.BF441.B725 2008155.9'2—dc222007045640ISBN: 978-0-385-53060-6
PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2First Paperback Edition
For more information visit Ori Brafman's website at www.oribrafman.comor Rom Brafman's website at www.rombrafman.com.

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lisa2013_1 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
recommended for: everyone - except those who never read nonfiction, but maybe they’d appreciate this oneThis book is very readable and entertaining, and so engaging that I just kept reading and didn’t read the notes until after I’d finished the book, which is unusual for me. It’s fascinating knowlege for anyone who has an interest in universal human nature and/or group dynamics.The authors take a bunch of existing studies and do a tremendous job of presenting a cogent thesis about why human beings can exhibit such irrational behaviors. I was familiar with many of the studies cited in the book; I was even a participant in a friend's version of the “different lengths of lines” study described. I recommend this book to everyone, because it shows that even if we believe we’re logical and independent thinkers and reasonable in our decision making, and assume that we possess impeccable common sense, that there are factors at work that often make our assumptions not so. You may be surprised by the findings presented here re loss aversion, pull of commitment, value attribution, diagnostic bias, etc. Even if these concepts are not new to you, the way the information is presented here will make you think. Now that I’ve read this book, I’m confident that remembering the material presented will help me think before I act. I do think of myself as someone who thinks and makes decisions in a logical manner, although even though before I read this, I was very aware of my own aversion to loss, and also my tendency to be influenced by value attribution; the latter is something I’ve actually tried to work on with some success.I’d like to see this book assigned as an adjunct text for many psychology, sociology, economics, business, and education classes. I also hope that it’s read by every person who is in a position of power, especially our elected officials and those such as airplane pilots and others in similarly responsible jobs. Also finding it helpful would be those who work with others, including HR people (although preferably not those who will interview me for jobs since historically I do “very well” in job interviews, even though I’ve always thought they’ve had limitations.)My favorite portions of the book were the part that described the brain centers of altruism vs. pleasure, because that research was brand new information for me, and also the part where Stephen Breyer describes his process doing his work as a Supreme Court Justice, just because I found his explanation so fascinating. I also was extremely entertained by the $20 bill story, and I assume that all readers will find this story enjoyable, unless they were ever one of the final two participants in this or a similar activity.I appreciate that, while this is not a self-help book, reading the book isn’t an exercise in futility; having this information actually gives the readers tools to empower themselves.The formatting of the chapter headings is very clever too, as it ties into the sway/pull theme of the book.
lindap69 reviewed this
Rated 5/5
fascinating fun look at human foibles would make a good non-fiction book discussion book
hayduke_1 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
The key to life: be open-minded and non judgmental. That's certainly not an easy way to approach life for us humans. I'm glad the authors mentioned Zen Buddhism, because that philosophy certainly aids one in approaching the world with an uncluttered outlook.
cat1ballou reviewed this
Rated 4/5
Fascinating & very accessible, without being dumbed-down.
amaraduende reviewed this
This was mostly worth listening to because of the interesting anecdotes it includes in relation to the points. The points it makes are worth thinking about in a be-aware-of-what-you're-doing-and-why sort of way but I feel like many of them are obvious. Also, THE most patronizing sounding narrator. Ugh.
birdsmath reviewed this
Rated 4/5
Fascinating analysis of forces that sway our decision making.
tintinintibet_1 reviewed this
Rated 2/5
so this book took a couple hours to read and had overlapping material to "predictably irrational". which was fine, all these books are pretty much addressing the same quirky sort of pop-psychology-statistics-business crap. but i think i liked this one a bit more; maybe the examples were less laboratory-based (though both books use EXACTLY the same examples at times) and felt a bit more real -- e.g. is it weird that French or Russian audiences are dramatically different than American ones in helping out contestants on "who wants to be a millionaire"?? i would say no. but then....what? Why would 56% of the French audience say that the sun revolved around the earth? Are they stupid?Hence: quirky-pop-psychology-statistics-business crap.
cgodsil_1 reviewed this
Rated 3/5
Find something half a dozen or so interesting experiments inpyschology, write them up in a refreshing style and voila,a new book.This particular example of the genre was well written and a very easy read.
snarkhunt reviewed this
Rated 3/5
This is another decent sort of nonfiction book. It's about a subject that few people deeply acknowledge - how irrational they are. Sure, you think you make irrational decisions about cake and mates and so on, but the book is about how the deep reasons why you are irrational. An important and interesting subject.But this book is just skimming along the surface of deep waters. The formula is a common one - the gladwellian collection of stories about people who make bad decisions and then a discussion of the principles embodied in that bad decision. There's no real coherent theme though, no understanding of the reasons, no way to apply this new knowledge to ones life. Mainly, it's a collection of stories about people making bad decisions with a little science dabbed on top.There's better stuff out there. On the other hand, it's accessible and might get people interested in the fascinating working of their minds. You could do worse, but you could do much, much better.
bridget770 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
This book was an entertaining and informational read. It's a short book that uses interesting studies and anecdotes to explain why people behave irrationally. The topics range from the NBA draft to auctioning money to mental disorder diagnosis. It's similar to Freakonomics in writing style and variety of topics.

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