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on December 24, 2008
I found this book fascinating. It was written by two brothers, one a business consultant and the other a psychologist. The insights and studies related to consumer (and human, in general) behaviour were very good and very relevant for today's business people and consumers alike. They use a number of studies that clearly outline frailties in human nature and then make suggestions of how to mitigate oneself from doing the same mistakes. I conducted an informal study like one of the ones in the book and found that some of the principles differed based on gender and background. The reading is very light, say about a grade 10 level at most (I ready it in a couple of hours) so it is very easy to understand. My only complaint is not having more depth in the information or further explanation. I would recommend it to anyone. I have now had a number of friends borrow the book and all of them found it very fascinating as well and some have indicated they will purchase it as well. I had first found out about this reading a professional executive summary that comes around to work, and from that decided to buy it and I am glad I did.
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on October 6, 2017
Gripping reading, I finished the book almost 24/7 in 2 days. it helped explain the unknows in human weaknesses.
Although copywrited in 2008 it is still current in shedding light with some insight into the unknowns of peoples behaviour.
Got a Kindle copy on my computer for easy re-reading of the enlarged print.

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on February 25, 2013
An easy read , but pretty light stuff..not much research..more observational and anecdotal in my view ..I'd say OK at best.
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on January 29, 2010
Some interesting ideas, a survey of some of the ideas in the literature, tons of examples.

But overall, doesn't really answer the question about WHY we are swayed, but quite a lot of WHEN we are swayed and HOW we are swayed. It seems to wander all over the map, snippets here and there, back to this, ahead to that...

Could use a bit more hard core summary -- jut when we are attracted to irrational behaviour and why. Why do we engange in irrational behaviour? Naming it doesn't explain it. Why are we programmed to ovoid loss even at the expense of winning? Why to we hate to see someone else win?

The book needs a bit more structure, a bit more focus. Every chapter is sort of the same with new examples.

Anyway, some interesting annecdotes, but ultimately the book fails to move.
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on January 18, 2016
Great Read!
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HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERon November 13, 2009
The Brothers Brafman are like the Brothers Heath (Chip and Dan, co-authors of Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others and forthcoming Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard) in that they seem to have an insatiable curiosity about what may, at first, seem to be aberrational human behavior but is in fact commonplace. In their book Sway, the Brafmans seek answers to questions such as these: Why would skilled and experienced physicians made decisions that contradict their years of training? What psychological forces underlie our own irrational behaviors? How do these forces creep up on us? When and why are we most vulnerable to them? How do they shape our business and personal relationships? When and how do they put finances, even our lives, at risk? And why don't we realize when we're being swaying?

The Brafmans obviously have a sense of humor. How else to explain chapter titles such as "The Swamp of Commitment" in which they discuss how Florida's then football coach, Steve Spurrier, dominated the SEC conference because the other coaches in the conference were loss averse and committed to a "grind-it-out-and-hold-in-to-the-ball offensive strategy. He played to win; they played not to lose. He introduced the "Fun-n-Gun" offense that scored more points in less time and attracted better recruits. In anther chapter, "The Hobbit and the Missing Link," they focus on a precocious young Dutch student named Eugene Dubois (1858-1940) who, after earning his degree in medicine, marriage, starting a career as well as a family, decided to seek what was then believed to be the missing link between apes and the more humanlike Neanderthals. He found it in the East Indies but both he and his discovery was largely ignored. Why? Because his contemporaries were firmly committed to a certain view of evolution that Dubois' discovery challenged. Moreover, "there was another force at play. Here's where commitment merges with the sway of `value attribution': our tendency to imbue someone or something with certain qualities based on perceived value, rather than on objective data."(This is one of the eight deceptions that Phil Rosenzweig discusses in his book, The Halo Effect.) The Brafmans also cite a more contemporary example of how value attribution works and how it swayed the anthropological community. In Washington, D.C. on a January morning in 2007, Joshua Bell (one of the world's finest violinists) performed for 43 minutes in the L'Enfant Plaza subway station. "Here was one of best musicians in the world playing in the subway station for free, but no one seemed to care."

As Ori Brafman and Rom Brafman explain in the Preface, their objective in this book is to explore "several of the psychological forces that derail rational thinking. Wherever we looked - across different sectors, countries, and cultures - we saw different people being swayed in very similar ways. We're all susceptible to the sway of irrational behaviors. But by better understanding the deductive pull of these forces, we'll be less likely to fall victim to them in the future." They fully achieve this objective with a book I consider to be a brilliant achievement. Bravo!

Those who share my high regard for this book are urged to check out Ori Brafman's The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations (co-authored with Rod Beckstrom) and the aforementioned books by the Brothers Heath as well as Dan Ariely's Predictably Irrational, Martin Lindstrom's Buyology, Gregory Berns's Iconoclast, Roger Martin's The Opposable Mind, Leonard Mlodinow's The Drunkard's Walk, Nassim Nicholas Taleb's The Black Swan, and Joseph Murphy's The Power of Your Subconscious Mind.
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on May 19, 2009
Sway attempts to provide some simple and concrete rules about the 'forces' that drive us. There are interesting anecdotes and the presentation is well conceived: the authors make their points clearly and frame their ideas in a way the reader can apply to his or her own experience. However, I found that they sometimes got a bit carried away with / over-applied their simple ideas, and that a much thinner book could have carried equal weight.

Overall, it was a somewhat enjoyable read with a few thought-provoking sections. I recently read 'Predictably Irrational', and found that to be a much better book.
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on January 8, 2010
This book was short and sweet and very fun to read. Author presents some interesting facts and experiments backing his points. Would definitely recommend.
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