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Situations Matter: Understanding How Context Transforms Your World [Format Kindle]

Sam Sommers

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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

“Thought-provoking and entertaining.”—The Washington Post

“A fascinating glimpse into the way our most important judgments are framed by the world around us.”—Salon.com

“[Situations Matter] offers inspiration to outsmart any situation.”—Psychology Today 

“Perhaps the least understood forces in the universe are the social powers that drive our thoughts and behavior. Sam Sommers is an expert at identifying these influences, and in Situations Matter he takes us on an entertaining and engaging guided tour.”  --Dan Ariely, author of Predictably Irrational and The Upside of Irrationality

“Understanding and appreciating the power of situations gives you a leg up in life, and Situations Matter is the best place to start investigating this challenge. It is excellent, entertaining reading for anyone interested in classic human questions about morality, conformity, and the real differences between men and women.” --Tyler Cowen, Professor of Economics, George Mason University, and author of Create Your Own Economy and The Great Stagnation

“It can be easy to overlook how ordinary situations shape behavior. It might seem like Sam Sommers is brilliant for choosing to write a book on this important topic, but he'd probably just explain that circumstance drove him to it. Still, we're all lucky he did.” – Leonard Mlodinow, author of The Drunkard’s Walk and co-author of The Grand Design

“I loved Situations Matter.  True, I read it while sitting on my comfortable couch, but I bet I would have loved it no matter the situation, even if I read it submerged in ice-cold water.  Sam Sommers shows us the surprising extent to which humans are influenced by external factors.  It's a fascinating read, and one that will improve your life in many ways, whether dealing with road rage, choosing a spouse, or trying to handle your boss.”  --A.J. Jacobs, author of The Year of Living Biblically and My Life as an Experiment

“This book is a true eye-opener.  From the boardroom meeting to the dining room table, from why we love to why we hate, you'll never look at the ordinary world around you in exactly the same way again.” --Wray Herbert, author of On Second Thought: Outsmarting Your Mind's Hard-Wired Habits

Présentation de l'éditeur

An "entertaining and engaging" exploration of the invisible forces influencing your life-and how understanding them can improve everything you do.

The world around you is pulling your strings, shaping your innermost instincts and your most private thoughts. And you don't even realize it.

Every day and in all walks of life, we overlook the enormous power of situations, of context in our lives. That's a mistake, says Sam Sommers in his provocative new book. Just as a museum visitor neglects to notice the frames around paintings, so do people miss the influence of ordinary situations on the way they think and act. But frames- situations- do matter. Your experience viewing the paintings wouldn't be the same without them. The same is true for human nature.

In Situations Matter, Sommers argues that by understanding the powerful influence that context has in our lives and using this knowledge to rethink how we see the world, we can be more effective at work, at home, and in daily interactions with others. He describes the pitfalls to avoid and offers insights into making better decisions and smarter observations about the world around us.

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Amazon.com: 4.1 étoiles sur 5  60 commentaires
34 internautes sur 38 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Thoroughly engaging and interesting 25 novembre 2011
Par atmj - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
For a first time writer, of a psychology book no less, Sam Sommers has a great way of taking what could be a very dry subject and gave it life with his smart aleck style of writing. I know there a lot more books out there that I wish he wrote. Heck, I even enjoyed the Acknowledgments.

This is an interesting topic, one we can all understand, how the situation we are in often will influence our behavior. I'm sure if people were to consider many of these situations upfront they would deny that they could act this way, but the data does not lie.

The chapters are: Paraphrased by me.
1. WYSIWYG: Talks about how when we see people in one situation, and assume it reflects their behavior in all situations.
2. Help Wanted: How we assume other people will address a situation observed in public, such as a call for help. Let someone else help. And more importantly, how to change this behavior.
3. Go with the Flow: The influence of crowds and authority figures on behavior.
4. You're not the person you thought you were; Everything is relative
5. Mars and Venus here on earth: Gender differences are more explained by socialization than biology.
6. Love: Who we love is more explained by geography, familiarity and state of mind than we realize.
7. Hate: Them versus Us, the bigots in us all.

Having read many a dry but interesting psychology book, this author had a way to make the subject matter come alive. I can see where this would be required reading in many a (fortunate) psychology class, however better yet, this books calls for us to be better people.

* We need to realize people are not always what they seem in one situation.
* We need to realize that even in groups, we have the responsibility to help and not expect the crowd to do so.
* If something seems wrong to us, we should not let the crowd or the authority figures dictate our behavior.
* Women and Men are more similar than different and should not be so categorized, or limited in our expectations.
* Sometimes by acknowledging differences between groups, we find freedom to move on, or at least recognition of our own reactions
* Last but not least, observe and don't assume and in being more considerate, we can live together more harmoniously.

Not often you find so many gems in a psychology book...
12 internautes sur 13 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Worth Reading 16 novembre 2011
Par Zoeeagleeye - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
Sam Sommers must be quite an engaging man especially in the classroom. The tone of his book "Situations Matter" is light even as he pitches some rather dark stats your way. With his statistics and studies he explains why crowds smother independent thinking, and then shows us how "crowds diffuse (individual) responsibility." Much of his work indicates a need for people to think for themselves, and then he illustrates what in our society mitigates against doing that.

One of the reasons social commentators leave out has to do with a strong unconscious need to protect ourselves from others' vibes, which thereby closes us down. Or, as Sommers has it, "in crowded settings we're just less tuned in to everything around us." He calls it "sensory overload." I guess the trick is to remain alert while protecting yourself against other peoples' vibes.

One part of the book teaches you how to ask for help, especially in crowds where you might not get attention: "When you need help, be direct. Target specific individuals. Paint yourself in the most empathetic light possible." Sounds a little bleak. Oh, and if you smile and you're pretty, you have the edge over the rest of us. Sorry, guys.

Sommers writes that there is no way to know what true perceptions are so "the gurus of self-help got it wrong." He seems happy about that. I think he is short- sighted. Perceptions are far more fluid than he allows and therefore self-help advice has got to be right at least some of the time. But, nicely, he also points out that authenticity isn't static. It flows over time and place and situations. You can recognize it inside yourself in any case, and others can sense it. No immutable law here, it is a creative thing that can both grow and diminish.

Sometimes Sommers writes, and cites studies, as if behavior can be quantified across the board. He writes as if people do not know when they are acting, faking, or hiding their reactions. Some of us may act unconscious, but really, we know all along what we're doing!

While I did enjoy the author's voice, I confess at times I found it distracting especially when he decides to be "funny" during a serious paragraph. While writing about emotional impacts, Sommers quips, "Mostly they just looked on at the irate actor with a mix of befuddled curiosity and annoyed resignation -- a bit like the face that White House officials make when they watch Joe Biden ad-lib near a microphone." This, like much of his referential humor, will mean nothing to those reading this book in ten years time.

The book begins to fall a little short near the end when it becomes a tad preachy. The light tone is gone and earnestness replaces it. Sommers talks about "spacial relationships," which I wish he had defined more clearly, giving us the curious information that playing video games improves this skill in both boys and girls. "Just imagine the cumulative effects of an entire childhood devoted to gaming," he says. But, oh, Sam, what a missed opportunity to create and dream what those effects might be!

His take on gender gaps was a bit ho-hum, summed up in this obvious statement: "reminding people how men and women are "supposed to" act exacerbates gender gaps." He devolves into a pleading not to turn girls into "standard issue" conceptions of femininity -- about 30 years too late!

The "Love" chapter peters out into his giving advice on love. In "Hate" we get scolded about our prejudices. And yet, there are also some very good points to be made in each of these latter chapters. Which is why I gave the book 4 stars and found it worth reading.
15 internautes sur 18 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Situations Do Matter More Than We Think 25 novembre 2011
Par William McPeck - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
I read this book as a member of the Amazon Vine Program. This book is about the science of situations and how situational context contributes to human behavior. More often than not, we tend to think that behavior is driven by traits or personality, so we overlook or don't see the role the situational context plays in our and others' behaviors.

By overlooking the situational context, Sommers points out that we end up with a simplified view of human behavior. Sommers calls this the WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) view of life. The WYSIWYG view, according to Sommers, gives us a false confidence that we can predict the behavior of others by relying only on our internal explanations of behavior. To demonstrate the problem with WYSIWYG, Sommers explores how situations contribute to behavior by looking at confessions, crowd behavior, gender issues, love and hate.

Sommers did a great job of illuminating the role played by context in behavior through research reviews and personal stories. As I was reading the book though, I kept asking myself the question, so what? How can I use this information? While Sommers did provide a Lessons Learned at the end of each chapter, I believe the book would have been much better and of greater use to readers if the Lessons Learned material had been developed further by the author.

The book is easy to read, despite being heavy with research findings. Sommers does a masterful job of translating these research findings for the lay reader. Personally though, I could have done with less of the author's attempts at humor. I feel it detracted from the book's message.

Despite being well researched and written, this book left me flat....
11 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 I couldn't finish it either 2 juillet 2012
Par C. P. Anderson - Publié sur Amazon.com
This is a whole book about the fundamental attribution error. Let me repeat that. This is a ... whole ... book ... about ... the ... fundamental ... attribution ... error.

It's an interesting topic, it has some major repercussions, there have been some classic experiments that tie into it, it definitely has some important things to teach us humans. But a whole 250-page book?

So, what happens when you try to turn a decent article into a book? You repeat yourself, you drag things out, you rehash the same old experiments, you bore the reader.

I blame Malcom Gladwell. His books took a fascinating subject (people), combined that with excellent writing, and basically started a major industry. It seems every psych professor out there has now taken a shot at turning out a book now. Surprisingly, some of these are very well written (Dan Ariely, David Buss, Geoffrey Miller). But that style is not for everybody. Sommers, for example. Clunky, boring, awkward, obvious.

Okay, "Prof," have at me.
5 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 This Book Can Help You Appreciate the Significance of Context in Your Life and Work 22 décembre 2011
Par James Strock - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
This is a delightful book. The author writes gracefully. He presents references and information that back his points, without being academic or abstruse.

His fundamental point: context influences our thought and decision-making processes to a much great extent than we tend to be aware. From choice of marriage partners to our reactions to advertising and other communications, context can be decisive.

This suggests that our listening and observation powers can be cultivated to our great benefit. It can also mean that simply tweaking one aspect of a situation can occasion a significant change in behavior and others' expectations. Sommers' example o the effects of having women--rather than men--circulate in speed dating is interesting and instructive.

In sum, 'Situations Matter' is an interesting read. Can be of real value in comprehending circumstances. Also useful in helping us understand the ways we frame situations that affect how others view us in work and life.
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