Summary of The Power of Noticing

What the Best Leaders See

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The Power of Noticing book summary
What didn’t you notice that might have changed your future if you had seen it sooner?


8 Overall

9 Applicability

7 Innovation

8 Style


In this lovely book, Max Bazerman, co-director of Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership, does a fine job of examining factors that lead you not to notice a lot of what is going on around you. He identifies conditions that make it harder for you to notice. While some of his examples of “failure to notice” are standard – such as the unseen gorilla in the basketball video and the Challenger explosion mechanical fault – many are new. Bazerman’s unique blend of humility, clarity and insight make his exploration particularly appealing. getAbstract recommends his research and advice to anyone interested in the emerging field of behavioral economics or, generally, in how to think better and see more.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How “failure to notice” causes crises and disasters,
  • Why you don’t notice everything you should, and
  • How to get better at “noticing.”


The Need to Notice
After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, many people wondered why the US hadn't seen this calamity coming. Such crises highlight the need to notice.

People habitually do not notice what happens around them. For example, students working on case ...
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About the Author

Max Bazerman, co-director of Harvard’s Center for Public Leadership, co-authored Negotiation Genius with Deepak Malhotra and Blind Spots with Ann Tenbrunsel.

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