Summary of Focus

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Focus book summary


7 Overall

9 Applicability

7 Innovation

7 Style


Heidi Grant Halvorson and E. Tory Higgins describe motivation in an unusual way. Readers will quickly grasp what motivates the eager, “promotion-focused” go-getter, but may have trouble understanding people whose motivation is “prevention-focused” – those who thrive on worry and succeed by avoiding failure. Chapters devoted to these two drives regarding their influence on work, child rearing, romance and the world at large illuminate their singularity and importance. This book provides valuable, detailed explanations and anecdotes of how “fit” combines with focus to create powerful persuasive tools at work and at home. Even if the book sometimes seems to be a one-trick pony, its basic concepts are significant. getAbstract recommends this approach to marketers, those curious about human behavior, and those seeking insight into their motivation and focus.

In this summary, you will learn

  • What two basic motivators drive achievement;
  • How to utilize these factors in private and in public; and
  • How combining these motivating forces with the right emotional “fit” creates powerful, persuasive tools.

About the Authors

Psychology and management professor E. Tory Higgins is director and Heidi Grant Halvorson is associate director of Columbia University Business School’s Motivation Science Center.



“Promotion” and “Prevention”
Motivation comes in two varieties. One is “promotion focus,” the drive to do more and better. People thus motivated want to move ahead to explore how they might gain. An equally strong motivation is “prevention focus” – people hunker down with what they have...

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