The Power of Regret
How Looking Backward Moves Us Forward
“The world needs this book.” —Brené Brown, Ph.D., New York Times bestselling author of Dare to Lead and Atlas of the Heart
An instant New York Times bestseller
As featured in The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post
Named a Best Book of 2022 by NPR and Financial Times
From the #1 New York Times–bestselling author of When and Drive, a new book about the transforming power of our most misunderstood yet potentially most valuable emotion: regret.
Everybody has regrets, Daniel H. Pink explains in The Power of Regret. They’re a universal and healthy part of being human. And understanding how regret works can help us make smarter decisions, perform better at work and school, and bring greater meaning to our lives.
Drawing on research in social psychology, neuroscience, and biology, Pink debunks the myth of the “no regrets” philosophy of life. And using the largest sampling of American attitudes about regret ever conducted as well as his own World Regret Survey—which has collected regrets from more than 15,000 people in 105 countries—he lays out the four core regrets that each of us has. These deep regrets offer compelling insights into how we live and how we can find a better path forward.
As he did in his bestsellers Drive, When, and A Whole New Mind, Pink lays out a dynamic new way of thinking about regret and frames his ideas in ways that are clear, accessible, and pragmatic. Packed with true stories of people's regrets as well as practical takeaways for reimagining regret as a positive force, The Power of Regret shows how we can live richer, more engaged lives.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Forget YOLO. Living a regret-free life might actually be detrimental to our happiness, according to best-selling author Daniel H. Pink’s fascinating book. Pink shatters the popular goal of having “no regrets” by rethinking all the conventional wisdom around that platitude. Drawing on his survey of 15,000 people (!) from all over the world, the best-selling pundit reveals a mind-blowing phenomenon: People who experience regret over their choices tend to have better outcomes in life—in both their careers and their personal relationships—since they make demonstrably better decisions going forward. Best of all, Pink offers us simple steps that can help us experience these benefits of our regrets without getting bogged down with remorse. The Power of Regret is an inspiring read that might help steer your future decisions.
Regret "clarifies. It instructs. Done right, it needn't drag us down," writes Pink (When) in this pragmatic guide to harnessing the power of the past. He draws on the largest survey ever conducted of Americans' regrets, as well as his own poll of thousands of respondents in 105 countries, to reveal the four most common types of regret: foundational (the failure to be responsible regarding education, finances, or health), boldness (the chances not taken), moral (taking "the low road"), and connection (fractured or unrealized relationships). Rather than despairing over regrets, Pink urges readers to think of them as opportunities for growth and learning, and offers a program for doing so. First, one should acknowledge the regret to "reduce some of its burden," then grant oneself "the same... understanding offer another," and finally, create some distance by talking about it in the third person, which can turn it into a lesson. Pink assembles an impressive array of research and includes some moving stories of people dealing with mistakes, as with one woman whose regret at not having spent more time with her grandparents "helped her to see her own life as a puzzle with meaning as the center piece." Readers looking to shake their shame should start here.