Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior
Every now and then, a book comes along that challenges your
thinking and sharpens or hones your innate sensibilities. SWAY has
that pull. It made me go back in time to reconsider my
relationships with bosses, mentors and others whose opinions
mattered greatly to me. What an interesting journey it has
“The good news is that, as powerful as these forces are,
by understanding them we can learn to overcome their pervasive pull
--- and even use them to our advantage.” Once you understand
the basic premise of SWAY, you have the power to recreate your
reaction to those whose opinions you value. Ori and Rom Brafman are
creating their theories using their learned skills and education in
business and psychology, the perfect melding of information. Here
we can discover what psychological forces underlie our own
irrational behaviors: “How do they hold us back in our
careers? How do they affect our business and personal
relationships? When do they put our finances, or even our lives, at
risk? And why don’t we realize when we’re getting
Look for a moment at a boss or mentor you have had. That person,
for the most part, probably had some great ideas and were followed
blindly because of their solid reputation. But here’s the
problem: not every idea was brilliant. Some might have been
outrageous or ridiculous, while others might have bankrupted the
corporation or put people and their employment in serious jeopardy.
Taking every idea at face value because of its source is dangerous.
This is not to say that most ideas are not brilliant. They probably
are well thought out and worth trying, but looking at each idea as
a separate and possible option is the important lesson here.
There are people we meet who don’t seem to have good
ideas. But did you ever notice that every once in a while you might
hear something that will challenge your thinking? There are great
ideas and stupid ideas in all of us. Don’t shut out the
Let’s examine perception for a moment. In 2007, a famous
classical violinist named Joshua Bell, who was wearing jeans and a
ball cap, stopped in L’Enfant Plaza in Washington, D.C. and
began playing his violin. Not only was the music beautiful, the
instrument was a priceless Stradivarius. The perception was that he
was a homeless musician, not a wealthy, successful, sought-after,
world-famous violinist. People responded to Bell as though he were
just another street musician, not the famous Joshua Bell.
It’s all about perception.
There are so many examples in SWAY that will entertain you, but
more importantly will make you think. They will make you challenge
your perceptions, examine your options and relive very interesting
memories. This is a book to be savored, enjoyed and passed on to a
good friend. It’s time to open a few minds!
Reviewed by Marge Fletcher on January 23, 2011