Focus: Use Different Ways of Seeing the World for Success and Influence

书里的prevention和promotion focus其实就是dichotomies in economics and psychology: loss aversion, risk aversion, the optimism-pessimism spectrum

  • 书有些很有意思的想法,但是太冗长
  • 我截取的他人摘要应该已经足够包括书的主要内容, 就不需要再去读了
  • 很有意思去读,但是很难真的去实施


  • negative thinking vs positive thinking

    • 大多数self-help的书说要positive thinking不要negative thinking

      • 书里说, negative thinking对某些人来说是一种motivation (possibility that they will fail), 所以不需去make them stop focusing on negative thinking

Title: Focus: Use Different Ways of Seeing the World for Success and Influence
Authors: Heidi Grant Halvorson, E. Tory Higgins
Edition: 1
Finished Date: 2017-05-12
Rating: 1
Language: English
Genres: Self-Help, Productivity
Level: Entry
Publishers: Hudson Street Press
Publication Date: 2013-04-18
ISBN: 978-1594631023
Format: ePub, Pdf, Mobi
Pages: 272
Download: ePub Pdf Mobi

summary from goodreads

  • Taught me the difference between Prevention Focused Vs Promotion Focused people and their different methods in approaching things; optimism Vs defensive pessimism.

    Loved it because I got to know that not all people get affected by motivational speeches because this speech does not suit their personalities or their “focus” ! :)

  • Prevention-focused: people try to avoid losses and are motivated by the status-quo and keeping things working unless there is a real, proven reason to change things up.

    Generally, East Asians are prevention focused, as are your other stereotypes: Senior Citizens, accountants, attorneys, engineers, and bureaucrats. Their job is to make sure things don’t go wrong and to avoid mistakes.

    • Try to fix the bads.
    • Try to minimise the losses.
    • Pain of not being nurtured or safe.
    • Avoiding mistakes and preventing problems.
    • Motivated by potential losses
  • Promotion-focused people are focused on gains, rewards, and benefits, and they’re motivated by the possibility of better opportunities around the corner.

    generally: Americans, sales/marketing people, entrepreneurs, and Young People.

  • Both approaches have their strengths and weaknesses, and you can be prevention-focused in some areas and promotion-focused in other areas.

  • Most people are a mix of both, and their motivational focus is affected by context (when you go to the doctor, you tend to be prevention-focused), but people tend to have one predominant outlook. This affects a lot of behaviors. For example, when reading product reviews before buying something, promotion-focused people go to the positive reviews first, but prevention-focused people read the negative reviews first.

  • One point that I appreciated is that you shouldn’t assume prevention-focused people are pessimists and need to “cheer up”. They know what motivates them: it’s not that they believe they will fail, but they are motivated by the possibility that they might fail. If you get them to stop focusing on that, they will be less effective. I sometimes motivated myself through this weird dual mindset as an undergrad (I’m doing well/I might fail).

  • Halvorson asserts that your motivational focus depends on parenting style. If kids’ successes are greeted with affection and admiration, and failures cause the withdrawal of that positive attention, the kid tends to grow into a promotion-focused adult. If all is peaceful in the household until a failure causes punishment or yelling, the kid tends to grow up prevention-focused.
  • A lot of her research is based on studies of messaging fit. For example: “Avoid cancer, don’t smoke” vs. “Enjoy life, you are too focused on health to smoke”. If you say: “Enjoy life, don’t smoke,” you are mixing messages and trying to appeal to both types. To say the last phrase another way, you could say: “Don’t miss out on life, avoid smoking” to appeal to prevention focused people.

  • The point is to identify the filter people use to sort opportunities and threats and see if their primary motivation is vigilance against a threat or opportunity recognition.

  • The first half of the book describes the two types of focuses, and how they affect all areas of your life - from family, to work, to making purchasing decisions, to interactions with society as a whole.
  • The second half describes ways to determine other peoples’ primary way of focusing, and how you can use that knowledge to motivate and influence them (e.g. to buy a product, to make a certain decision, to take a certain action, etc). For example, according to studies that the authors and their colleagues have done, people are more easily persuaded when the message they receive is a good fit for their dominant focus. There are plenty of practical examples throughout, which is great.

  • The only issue I had with this book is that in my opinion, it felt like many of the main points could have been compressed into one or two chapters. A 20-page essay, tops.

  • The chapters were repetitive, and I kept thinking to myself, “ok, this is great, but it was already discussed in the first chapter. I get it.”

Prevention are focused on how and promotion on why.

Action verbs are concrete! For promotion focused.
Adjectives are abstract! For prevention focused.


  • Past successes;
  • Emphasise change ;
  • Take a chance;
  • Adventurous language;
  • Emphasise feelings;
  • Use animated gestures;
  • Emphasise the whole.


  • Failed because we were not prepared enough; feedback that you could fail if you don’t focus enough, cautionally tails;
  • Emphasise stability;
  • Be cautious;
  • Cautious language;
  • Emphasise reason;
  • Use reserved movements careful precise and deliberate;
  • Emphasise the parts.