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The Power of Noticing: What the Best Leaders See [Kindle Edition]

Max Bazerman
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $28.00
Kindle Price: $14.99
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Book Description

From Harvard Business School Professor and Co-Director of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership: A guide to making better decisions, noticing important information in the world around you, and improving leadership skills.

Imagine your advantage in negotiations, decision-making, and leadership if you could teach yourself to see, and evaluate, information that others overlook. The Power of Noticing provides the blueprint for accomplishing precisely that. Max Bazerman, an expert in the field of applied behavioral psychology, draws on three decades of research and his experience instructing Harvard Business School MBAs and corporate executives to teach you how to notice and act on information that may not be immediately obvious.

Drawing on a wealth of real-world examples, from the Challenger Space Shuttle disaster to Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, Bazerman diagnoses what information went ignored in these situations, and why. Using many of the same case studies and thought experiments designed in his executive MBA classes, he challenges readers to explore their cognitive blind spots, identify any salient details they are programmed to miss, and then take steps to ensure it won’t happen again. While many bestselling business books have explained how susceptible to manipulation our irrational cognitive blindspots make us, Bazerman helps you avoid the habits that lead to poor decisions and ineffective leadership in the first place. His book provides a step-by-step guide to breaking bad habits and spotting the hidden details that will change your decision-making and leadership skills for the better, teaching you to: pay attention to what didn’t happen; acknowledge self-interest; invent the third choice; and realize that what you see is not all there is.

With The Power of Noticing at your side, you can learn how to notice what others miss, make better decisions, and lead more successfully.

Editorial Reviews


"Books on leadership seem too numerous to count. But, occasionally, one contributes something to the field that is truly important and genuinely new. With its lucid description of the rarified—but learnable—skill of noticing correctly, this book is undeniably one." (Robert B. Cialdini, author of Influence)

The Power of Noticing makes you better at anything and everything you do – whether in business, law, sports, politics, education, art, medicine, or any other field. Max Bazerman offers not only a lively and engaging book but a challenge and roadmap to live, see, and work with more honesty, vision, and purpose. By resisting the conventional “how-to” tip list, in favor of creating a more powerfully elevated consciousness, this book satisfies the deepest human need for finding the elusive truths that are the keys to success.” (Billy Shore, Founder and Director, Share Our Strength)

"Important new ideas are rare in discussions of flaws of executive performance, but Bazerman has one. In a compellingly readable book he illustrates the consequences of failing to notice signs of impending disaster, and he teaches executives how to practice vigilance." (Daniel Kahneman, author of Thinking, Fast and Slow and winner of the Nobel Prize.)

"Many books promise to change the way you see the world – this fascinating, provocative tour into the mind and research of one of the world’s preeminent noticers actually lives up to the claim." (Michael Norton, co-author of Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending)

"Max Bazerman is one of the most creative, brilliant, and constructive social scientists on the planet. His new book, on the importance and power of noticing, is a game-changer. Notice it!" (Cass Sunstein)

“In this book that will suit fans of Dan Ariely and Malcolm Gladwell, Harvard Business School professor Bazerman … describes how we fail to notice the most important details around us.” (Publishers Weekly)

"There are countless theories in the field of behavioral psychology regarding the biases that restrict our awareness, but Bazerman is artful at the nonacademic delivery of the fruits of academia. He makes a convincing case for a handful of valuable tools we can deploy to reap the benefit or dodge the bullet, if only we would take the time." (Kirkus)

"This excellent book is a must-read for leaders and aspiring leaders." (Booklist)

"The Power of Noticing hits home, bolstered by Bazerman's connections." (South China Morning Post)

"[A] refreshingly powerful book that uncovers techniques and pointers that many of us have never even considered... fun, shocking, a breack from hard-core business cookbooks. " (Blue Heron Journal)

"A guide to making better decisions, noticing important information in the world around you, and improving leadership skills." (Value Walk)

"Bazerman's book is not only descriptive, but an effort to turn the reader into a 'first-class noticer.'" (First Things)

About the Author

Max Bazerman is the codirector of the Center for Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School, the Straus Professor at the Harvard Business School, and the author of numerous books, including Negotiation Genius with Deepak Malhotra, Blind Spots with Ann E. Tenbrunsel, and Judgment in Managerial Decision Making with Don A. Moore. He has taught, advised companies, and consulted to governments in thirty countries. He is on numerous editorial boards. He received an honorary doctorate from the University of London, the Life Achievement Award from the Aspen Institute’s Business and Society Program, and the Distinguished Educator Award from the Academy of Management, among many other awards.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1896 KB
  • Print Length: 241 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 147670029X
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (August 5, 2014)
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 147670029X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1476700298
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #67,736 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
This book is more about learning by example versus instruction. Author Max Bazerman shares stories, many of which he has personal involvement with, all about the power of noticing. Much of this likens to Malcom Gladwell’s method of sharing examples to illustrate the main theme, but without the same thought provoking or story telling ability. In other words, instead of offering bullet-pointed steps to practice the power of noticing, Bazerman gives detailed examples of recent news-headlined events and how noticing could have prevented catastrophe, both bodily and financial. These examples seem more rote than congruent.

Even in the final chapter “Developing the Capacity to Notice”, Bazerman is light on instruction or application and instead re-emphasizes his take on business methodology. I think this is what drove me to a lesser-starred review: I expected more “how to” versus the author’s autobiography and thoughts on the current and recent business world. To some, though, this will still be a worthwhile investment (as the author states) compared to the cost to take one of his college courses.

This book seems perfect for executives looking to learn from example and develop a bravado for asking out-of-bounds questions. Both safety and financial success depend on going against the group mentality and seeking the obscure, almost hidden details. Don’t be afraid to look, explore, and ask.

Thanks to Simon & Schuster for providing an electronic version of this book for me to review.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
I agree with Yogi Berra: "You can observe a lot by just watching."

However, as Max Bazerman explains in this brilliant book, more than watching is necessary: we must also notice and then, of perhaps even greater importance, we need to have developed a mind-set that enables us to recognize what is especially significant. This is what Isaac Asimov has in mind when observing, "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds the most discoveries, is not "Eureka!" (I found it!) but 'That's funny...'" Hence the importance of anomalies. It is impossible to connect the dots to reveal patterns, trends, causal relationships, etc. unless you know what the right "dots" are and connect them in the right way. The same is true of accumulating disparate data (viewed as pieces of a puzzle) and know how to assemble them in proper order.

As Bazerman explains, "The Power of Noticing challenges leaders to also be noticing architects. Leaders too often fail to notice that they have designed systems that encourage a misspecified goal (booked sales) rather than a more appropriate one (actual profit to the organization). I encourage all leaders to become better noticing architects and to design systems that encourage employees to notice what is truly important." All of the great leaders throughout history were great noticers. With rare exception, they helped others to become great (or at least competent) noticers.

In the second chapter, Bazerman suggests that inattentional blindness "is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to our failure to notice. Much worse -- and well-documented -- is the common tendency to willfully ignore inconvenient evidence of others' unethical behavior.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A lot of old headlines but not enough instruction. August 11, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I agree with the first review from Ryan that this book focuses more on examples from the headlines but not the instructions for increasing your power to notice which is what I wanted more of. I did not think that this book gave me much in helping me to expand my knowledge or awareness to improve myself in business or personally. I am always looking for books written by people with a lot of knowledge, research or experience that are written well. Bazerman's book on Negotiating was better and I feel I learned something I did not know. This book, I did not feel I learned much at all I am sorry to say.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beyond Focus to Noticing August 18, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I believe that the book benefits readers from an array of backgrounds and interests. It’s central theme is that we rarely have in front of us all of the information needed to make effective decisions; and more importantly, we do not seek it out and/or ask for more information even when it may be readily available.

It took two readings for me to fully grasp the learning points the author provided through a variety of examples ranging from the 9/11 terrorists attack, Hurricane Katrina, and to the housing crisis and economic recession; but it was worth it. The principles shared have day to day application in our personal and professional lives.

The book is a book about leadership and how we need to take responsibility for noticing when things seem wrong, when additional information is needed to make more effective decisions, and when our own self biases are at work in the decisions we make.

He summarizes the book with a list of characteristics that describe first class noticers. They are intensely attentive to their own and others behavior; they see opportunities that others miss; think multiple steps ahead; and are suspicious of things that are too good to be true.

I highly recommend it to the reader who wants to improve their decision making through noticing the motivation of their own and others behavior.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The Power of Noticing
Great book for any thinker!
Published 10 days ago by Gordon
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Yea Max
Published 1 month ago by toby felcher
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Another gift. This book was just what she wanted. She started reading it right away.
Published 1 month ago by Laurie
3.0 out of 5 stars Bazerman does a good job of laying out causes and costs of failure ...
If I were re-titling this book, I’d call it Failure to Notice: What People Should See But Don’t. I’d drop leaders from the title because there’s little in the book about... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Eli62
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Long winded
Published 2 months ago by Louwrens Erasmus
4.0 out of 5 stars Grad Gift
This was a great gift for my Grandson who just received is BA.
Published 2 months ago by PointBlankTX
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Leadership Guide Up to date!
Published 3 months ago by Bill L Stanley
4.0 out of 5 stars not world beating insights but well written and helpful in ...
not world beating insights but well written and helpful in an important aspect of decision making. In an age of analytics the importance of framing questions will become more... Read more
Published 3 months ago by shepard hurwitz
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
You need average or better inteligence to read this book. It might be too much for you. Ron.
Published 4 months ago by Ron
4.0 out of 5 stars Prof Bazerman at his inimitable best
Very good observations ('noticing') by Prof. Bazerman and very well presented with the help of personal anecdotes in his inimitable style. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Chandrashekar S P
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More About the Author

Max H. Bazerman is Jesse Isidor Straus Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School and the Co-Director of the Center for Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School. Max's research focuses on decision making, negotiation, and ethics. He is the author of the new book THE POWER OF NOTICING: WHAT THE BEST LEADERS SEE, as well as many other books and hundreds of research articles and chapters. Max lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he can often be found listening to folk music and eating vegetarian food at Club Passim.


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