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The Power of 50 BitsPeople’s natural inclinations when making decisions tend to default to patterns that do not help them in the long run. While there is broad agreement among researchers about the science underpinning these tendencies, people need more solutions to help overcome the gap between what they really want to do and what they actually do. In The Power of Fifty Bits, Bob Nease offers a seven-pronged strategy to deal with common decision-making failures. He explains why people struggle with inattention and inertia and demonstrates how simple changes in environment can nudge people toward better overall outcomes.

People typically have good intentions, but they often struggle to act on them. This is because people’s brains have evolved in a way that makes inattention and inertia the two primary obstacles to action. Fifty bits design acknowledges the brain’s natural limitations and addresses them with the following seven strategies:

  1. Require choice: Interrupting a process, usually an existing one, and forcing a person to make a decision before he or she can continue the process.
  2. Lock in good intentions: Making some type of statement–a pledge, a signed document, or automatic reaction–in the present, which increases the chances that people will follow through on good behavior in the future.
  3. Let it ride: Making the desired behavior the default and asking people to opt out of a behavior rather than opt in, thereby using inattention and inertia for good.
  4. Get in the flow: Placing a cue or call to action in a location where people have already devoted their attention.
  5. Reframe the choices: Altering what a cue triggers in people, which directs people’s attention toward some aspects of an issue and away from others.
  6. Piggyback it: Making a behavior typically subject to inertia and/or inattention the side effect of something that people seek out or find pleasurable.
  7. Simplify…wisely: Removing barriers to change or improving fluency (the relative ease with which the brain processes information). Simplification of either type is usually, though not always, a smart design choice.

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Earn What You're Really WorthWith the new year right around the corner, it’s the perfect time to rethink one’s personal and career goals. Many of us may have been planning on going back to school, asking for a raise, changing careers, or simply doing better at our current job, and now is the time to solidify those goals and achieve them in the new year.

In Earn What You’re Really Worth, Brian Tracy argues that by using care, planning, and written exercises, people can better achieve their goals. He believes people must continually examine their work lives and continually update their skills and knowledge, and insists that people should always aim high and treat life as a continuing process of education and reinvention. Tracy aims to break down some of life’s most formidable goals into a concise, easy-to-understand plan.

Tracy shares the following advice with readers:

  1. Success is a personal decision that every individual makes, no matter how tough or expansive the job market.
  2. People must work harder and smarter today because the age of affluence has ended, replaced by an age of turbulence.
  3. Everyone, ultimately, works for themselves, and must continually upgrade their skills and knowledge.
  4. A successful career requires frequent reassessment–often, done in writing.
  5. Identify the key result areas of every job, and master them all–weakness in even one can sabotage an entire career.
  6. Everyone should be prepared to sell themselves.
  7. “Live” by lists–because writing down goals focuses on setting priorities, and on planning and scheduling the best ways to achieve them.
  8. A person’s character and reputation are among their most crucial assets.
  9. Never be afraid to ask at work–for an increase in responsibilities, a higher salary, or another request.
  10. People must be in the right job for the right company to earn what they’re really worth.

With firm goals in mind and the willpower and tools to achieve them, anyone can become more personally and professionally successful in 2013.

To download three free summaries, please visit our site.

Related book summaries in the BBS library: Disaster Proof Your CareerGreat Work, Great CareerCareer Contentment

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