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on December 27, 2010
As a fellow researcher in psychology, I ordered "Succeed" because I was familiar with Dr. Halvorson's scientific accomplishments and found it interesting that she was writing outside the closed-off world of elite scientific journals. After a snowy weekend of reading, I'm stunned by what she has created: "Succeed" is extraordinary, and something only a tiny number of my colleagues could ever have done so well.

In "Succeed," Dr. Halvorson applies real science to the real goals and struggles we all face: losing weight, building better relationships, getting a raise, strengthening willpower, and even just getting up from the couch on those days we feel stuck. Whether one wants to get out of a lousy rut in life or go further faster, "Succeed" presents a comprehensive, step-by-step, scientifically-sound "toolkit" for success.

Using examples from her own life as a working professional, wife, and mother, Dr. Halvorson describes the best ways to frame our goals, plan for success, and put those plans into action - and that includes dealing with moments when we fall down along the way. Piles of scientific studies reveal that HOW we pursue our goals powerfully influences how likely we are to be successful, and many of the most effective methods are genuinely surprising. In "Succeed," Dr. Halvorson takes those studies from the laboratory to life.

All along, Dr. Halvorson's writing is engaging, down-to-earth, and often humorous. I found "Succeed" engaging and enjoyable, and have a feeling it came as much from the heart as from the mind. There's no useless nonsense here about "picturing yourself thin" or asking "the universe" to give you that raise. Instead, Dr. Halvorson has crafted a true, realistic guidebook for boosting motivation, achieving goals, and personal growth. "Succeed" is an absolute success, and I hope we see more from this talented scientist and writer.
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Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals is a wonderful, in-depth look at goal achievement. I believe most students of self-improvement have been taught to write out their goals, get clear about what you want and take focused action to achieve them. Unfortunately a high percentage of people who set goals do not achieve them. Heidi Halvorson, the author of Succeed, has made her life mission to study goals, what works and what works against us. She has captured this in a very easy to read and very enlightening book.

If you are familiar with and like Carol Dweck's book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, then I feel certain you will want to read this book. Ms. Dweck wrote the introduction to this book and in my mind this book seems like a natural extension of Mindset.

There are lots of ideas we have about goal setting, motivation and success which are simply wrong. Ms. Halvorson does a very good job of taking the reader through the complete process, from 1) setting goals to 2) avoiding the things which are likely to derail us to 3) achieving our goals.

I believe the self-help industry has done most people a huge disservice because for the most part we have been presented a rather simple picture of what is in fact a rather complex process. This book guides the reader through the process of understanding which goals keep you moving forward, how optimists and pessimists approach goals in a totally different manner.

All the information is presented with numerous examples from research which validates the points being made. It is much easier to grasp and believe the information because of the research studies which accompany the lessons.

Ms. Halvorson writes with a breezy, conversational style and occasionally she shows a real sense of humor. She is quick to share her own experiences with goals.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who is serious about setting goals. You will learn why some of your past efforts were not successful. You will also learn strategies which will help you with your present and future goals. The book is very interesting and refreshing to read but Ms. Halvorson also talks very straight about taking personal responsibility.

To be honest, I do not believe you will get all the value from this book in one reading. I plan to go back through the book at least one more time and certainly plan to keep it handy to refer to often.

There are lots of insights you will gain from this book. It is a great resource for coaches, teacher, mentors and anyone dealing with motivating people. Highly recommended.
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on February 7, 2013
For the past year or so I have been studying a variety of resources on the topics of creating change and reaching goals.

I prefer the more evidence based, social sciences oriented books as opposed to traditional self-help books in a search for quality information.

While I have read many wonderful books in this time, I have to rate Succeed as one of the top books that I have read, if not the best! There are a few reasons for this.

Firstly I find Heidi's style of writing well suited to my taste. She has a good blend between factual, to the point and being conversational and casual. This is a really difficult balance to strike, and she pulled it off masterfully.

Second, her content has tremendous substance. From the moment you read this book you will see that she truly applied scientific rigor to her work, and her citations are superb! (I am one of those geeks that look up the actual studies quoted and read them :))

Finally the logic to the flow of information also deserves mention. Her ideas have a logical, natural sequence to them.

If you wish to Succeed at achieving your goals and bringing about lasting change in your life, buy this book, lock yourself in a room and read it from start to finish. You will be glad you did.
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on March 4, 2015
I have been looking for a book about drive, and passion, and how to cultivate them for a few months. All the books that say they are about the topic are often the story of how one guy succeeded at his one chosen path. How he was driven to succeed. Not how I, in my everyday life, could find worth and passion in the things I do every day. Or how I could figure out what larger goal might motivate to work hard and succeed.
I was recommended the book 'Drive' by Daniel H. Pink through a networking source, and it sounded like what I was looking for. Then I came onto Amazon and the reviews here turned me off. According to the reviews the book contains little depth and no citation or explanation of the scientific studies he writes about.
Then one reviewer mentioned this book. Same topic, much more in depth, and written by a scientist who does original research on the topic at hand. A browse of these reviews sold me. Previous comments were much more positive then for 'Drive'.
Dr. Halvorson speaks to the every day. What motivates us, what discourages us, how to get a little spark when you're too exhausted to try any more. Even that failure is fine. I found this book to be incredibly informative and educative.
One negative: They need to print a new edition with a snazzier (less scientific) cover. Then the masses would devour this book.
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on April 25, 2017
What Heidi Grant Halvorson explains is you don’t need to become a different person to become a more successful one. What it does take is knowledge of what really works, the willingness to do what it takes and a little practice (remember my review on Outliers from Malcolm Gladwell, the 10.000 hours practice)

Many books write about the subject to succeed, motivation and goals, this book is much better, the book explains with studies and practical questions how to become more successful. The book gives us, the readers, more understanding how to manage our staff, how to motivate them better.

Short: This book is a real roadmap to success.

Personally: Oh yes; I made “mistakes” and now I am armed with more knowledge to be better and I have the willingness to adapt certain things so myself and my surrounding will succeed (probably eve much faster)
I gave once another book 6 stars, this book is certainly 6 stars.

If you liked “Mind set” from Carol Dweck, you will enjoy this book 100%.
Maybe you should read “Mindset” and “Succeed” one after the other.
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on January 14, 2011
I loved this book, because it combines two of my favorite things: surprising and interesting science described in simple English, and the writing of a brilliant and very funny woman.

First, the science: "Succeed" describes different aspects of setting and achieving goals from the perspective of research psychology. Every suggestion in this book is backed up with, "... and here is how psychologists proved that it works:", with a discussion of some crazy study involving vinegar Kool-aid or internet disses or Robin Williams. The other cool thing about Dr. Grant Halvorson's work here is that she takes interesting psychology results and explains succinctly how to use them in real ways to improve your life, in whatever area of your life that needs improvement. Her advice is left general, which I like; what it takes to lose weight or change jobs or quit smoking is at heart the same stuff, and Dr. Grant Halvorson knows that stuff well. The only downside of this book is a minor one-- she will have you convinced that, say, action X is exactly the right one to take for a given situation, but instead of moving on, she'll repeat a few more times why you should take action X and give you many more convincing studies than you need. They're still interesting, but from a proselytizing standpoint, enough already! You had me at the second or third study!

Next, the writer: Dr. Grant Halvorson's writing reads like that girlfriend you turn to when you're going through a rough patch, who takes you out for a beer and tells you how not only has she been there, here's how she got through it, here's what worked for your other friends, and here, have another beer. She illustrates her intellectual points with perfect anecdotes from her own experience, e.g. with her prevention-focused German mother, her beloved, hapless philosopher husband, or the ending of her first marriage. She is not some ivory tower scientist; she has a personal understanding of how we struggle.

This book is life changing. If you want to finally, finally meet those goals you keep setting and falling short on, (or figure out whether you should just chuck them and move on), you need "Succeed".
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on April 22, 2012
Heidi Grant Halvorson's "Succeed" came highly recommended. It lived up to, and beyond, the promise. Here's why:

= Research based: As one of the most credible experts in the area of goals, Dr Halvorson ensures that every claim is supported by research, and generally lots of it. When compared with the 'you can do it' approach of many self-help books on goals, this one blows them away with credibility leaping from every page.

= Accessible: Dr Halvorson relies heavily on research, but at no point does the book bog down in detail. Use of research is simple, direct, and very clear. This book gives the reader enough to know that what they are reading is credible and supported by the research, and then moves to the main point. It's easy to read - even for a teenager.

= Relevant: Everything in the book revolves around the topic of goals and how to achieve yours. There's no beating around the bush. There are no tangents. It's all relevant.

= Fun: Dr Halvorson's writing style is engaging, conversational, light, and simple. At no point did it feel like I was reading a research paper. Instead, it felt like I was having a fun conversation with a colleague.

= Simple: The keys to successful goal setting and goal achievement are distilled into simple strategies. Each chapter makes a small handful of key points with a neat summary at the end to tie it all together.

I recommend this book.
Justin Coulson PhD
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on June 27, 2016
It's a shame that the kindle's edition doesn't include the NINE THINGS SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE DO DIFFERENTLY as indicated in the cover!!!

Really disappointing!!
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on December 17, 2012
There are lots of programs, teachings and 'theories' about the subject of Goal Setting. Many of these are not based on any science or research. Thst is why this book by Halvorson is such a great read. She digs deep into the science and research of what does and does not work when it comes to goal setting.

One of the best points I took away was the concept that if we believe we can achieve a goal but also think it will be easy to achieve, we are less likely to achieve it than someone who thinks they can achieve the goal but thinks it will be difficult. This is a brilliant reminder and great to see research making this point very clear.

There are lots and lots of other great insights in this book.

I have used the book often. I have quoted it on a number of occasions and continue to appreciate the work that she does and teaches.

If you are interested in what are the DO's and DON'Ts when it comes to goal setting then this book is a must for you.
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on January 22, 2012
What a great book! It lays out in very simple language the science of goal setting and changing our habits. And then she summarizes the key points at the end of each chapter. Goals and how to achieve them are different for each of us. The author does a great job of breaking down these different facets and how to apply the concepts to different personalities. I read this on my Kindle and the message resonated with me so deeply that I went out and bought a hard copy, just so I could underline, annotate, and refer back to passages that were important to me. This is the best book I have found on the subject of the mechanics of goal setting. I highly recommend this book.
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