Use Different Ways of Seeing the World for Success and Influence

Additional Formats
  • Hardcover
  • ISBN 9781594631023
  • 272  Pages
  • Hudson Street Press
  • Adult


We all want to experience pleasure and avoid pain. But there are really two kinds of pleasure and pain that motivate everything we do. If you are promotion-focused, you want to advance and avoid missed opportunities. If you are prevention-focused, you want to minimize losses and keep things working. And as Tory Higgins has found in his groundbreaking research, if you understand how people focus, you have the power to motivate yourself and everyone around you.

Showing how promotion/prevention focus applies across a wide range of situations from selling products to managing employees to raising children to getting a second date, Halvorson and Higgins show us how to identify focus, how to change focus, and how to use focus exactly the right way to get results. Short, punchy, and prescriptive, Focus will help you see not just what’s going on around you— but what’s underneath.

Visit the author’s website at for a special pre-order giveaway.


Praise for Focus: 

“Nothing has changed the research conversation in social psychology in the last decade as much as Tory Higgins’ ideas about promotion and prevention. This book shows how promotion and prevention touch every aspect of our daily life from work to parenting.” —Chip Heath and Dan Heath, authors of Switch and Made to Stick

“In anything-but-routine fashion, the authors describe a fundamental difference in the way we seek and achieve success. Their description is so wide-ranging yet integrative, so entertaining yet instructive that I am able to offer an assertion of my own: If you are one of those people who want to be successful, you should read this book.” —Robert B. Cialdini, Ph.D., author of Influence

Focus is an exciting and important new book that brings motivational science to life in a remarkably practical way.” —Daniel Gilbert, Ph.D., author of Stumbling on Happiness

“Insightful, thought-provoking, and highly practical, Focus is an invaluable resource for anyone who wants more deeply to understand how to motivate others.” —Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project

“Every once in a while a book comes out that changes the way you see yourself, other people, and the world. This is one of those books. Read it.” —Peter Bregman, author of 18 Minutes

Focus lifts up the hood on the motivational system and shows how competing motivations to achieve positive outcomes and avoid negative ones influence work, love, and parenting in unexpected ways. A must-read for anyone who wants to understand why they behave as they do.” —Art Markman, Ph.D. author of Smart Thinking

“For leaders and managers of people, this is must reading: it’s like finding the missing link in human evolution or the Rosetta Stone in language translation.” —Ken Shelton, editor, Leadership Excellence magazine

Focus is an engaging, highly practical guide that makes complex ideas at the forefront of motivational science accessible to a wide audience, offering surprising insights and applications for dealing more effectively with everyday work and life challenges. It will be an eye-opener for people who thought they understood motivation.” —Walter Mischel, Past-President, Association for Psychological Science

“How do we actually motivate people to disrupt or drive change? In their eye-opening book Focus, social scientists Heidi Grant Halvorson and Tory Higgins provide a comprehensive toolkit for motivating yourself and those you lead.” —Whitney Johnson, Harvard Business Review contributor and author Dare, Dream, Do: Remarkable Things Happen When You Dare to Dream

Focus is a clear and engaging tour of central ideas in the study of motivation. Written by Tory Higgins, one of the world’s leading experts on the topic, together with Heidi Grant Halvorson, it provides a powerful lens for understanding what makes friends, bosses, co-workers and spouses tick. After you read it, your relations with other people will never be the same.” —Barry Schwartz, author of The Paradox of Choice and Practical Wisdom (with Kenneth Sharpe)

“Why do some people succeed at attaining goals, and others do not? Why do some products sell, whereas others lie on the shelf? Focus addresses these questions (and many more) in a deeply thoughtful, highly practical, and completely engaging way. This book is necessary reading for anyone interested in the fundamentals of persuasion and motivation.” —Jennifer Aaker, General Atlantic Professor of Marketing at Stanford, author of The Dragonfly Effect.

“This great book makes science fun–providing an empowering look at evidence-based research on how to optimize our motivational focus. It’s packed with big ideas that give us insight into how we can apply this wisdom to all aspects of our lives.” —Brian Johnson, Founder + CEO of en*theos Academy for Optimal Living

“Focus is brilliant. Two of the leading researchers on success and motivation, Heidi Grant Halvorson and Tory Higgins, have teamed up to give us an extraordinary gift of clear thinking, clever writing, and enjoyable reading about a topic of vital concern to all of us— what drives our thinking, our choices and our actions. It’s an absolutely fascinating read, and I learned more from this book than from any other I’ve read in a long, long time. And so will you. Focus is full of stunning insights, illuminating examples, practical advice, and solid and surprising research. It’s a fascinating new perspective on motivation, and it has lessons in it for managers, parents, teachers, coaches, students, researchers, writers, coworkers…even film buffs and romantics. Buy this book and gain a whole new perspective onyour life, your work, your family, and your community. It is that good.” —Jim Kouzes, coauthor of the bestselling The Leadership Challenge and The Dean’s Executive Fellow of Leadership, Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University