Book Review: Sway by Ori Brafman and Rom Brafman

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images Book Review: Sway by Ori Brafman and Rom Brafman
The subtle ways we derail ourselves.

The incredibly bright Brafman brothers bring us a book that explains why we do the silly, illogical, irrational things we have a tendency to do. They examine everything from why we hold onto failing investments, to how our initial impressions can be totally wrong. They tear apart the typical job interview, and examine how pressure to perform can cause us to ignore clear safety warnings. Using stories and studies to illustrate their points, the Brafmans encourage us to rethink how we think.

I bookmarked two sections in particular. First, the examination of the “diagnostic bias” and how first impressions can have long reaching implications was fascinating. The diagnostic bias basically means that our first impression, whether self imposed (“I like her smile”) or put on you by another (“he is a cold man”) tends to set our expectations. Not only that, but we then tend to disregard information to the contrary. Being open-minded really is hard!

Second, I was really swayed (pun intended) by the information on the commitment bias.  This bias causes us to hold steady on a sinking investment, relationship or situation because we have committed to it. As they do throughout the book, the authors suggest a way to resist the pull of the irrational, and avoid traps of thinking. For example, with the commitment bias trap, they suggest asking yourself if you were just coming into the situation would you jump right in or pass it by? If you would pass it by in the fantasy scenario, but you are still in it in reality, they suggest you have been caught up in the commitment bias!

Tricks of thinking, such as those offered by the Brafman brothers in response to our irrational behaviors, are part of how we keep moving forward. The more aware we are of our thoughts, and why we are thinking them, frees us to more accurately assess how we are doing. The notion of getting to take care of the business of our lives is enhanced by information and resources like Sway. The more we know, well, the more we know! 

As always, thanks for reading ~ Dr. Carrie

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