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Publisher's Summary

Successful people literally see the world differently. Now an award-winning scientist explains how anyone can leverage this "perception gap" to their advantage.

"Get ready for this book to change how you see everything you see." (Adam Grant, New York Times best-selling author of Originals and Give and Take)

When it comes to setting and meeting goals, we may see - quite literally - our plans, our progress, and our potential in the wrong ways. We perceive ourselves as being closer to or further from the end than we may actually be depending on our frame of reference. We handicap ourselves by looking too often at the big picture and at other times too long at the fine detail. But as award-winning social psychologist Emily Balcetis explains, there is great power in these misperceptions. We can learn to leverage perceptual illusions if we know when and how to use them to our advantage.

Drawing on her own rigorous research and cutting-edge discoveries in vision science, cognitive research, and motivational psychology, Balcetis offers unique accounts of the perceptual habits, routines, and practices that successful people use to set and meet their ambitions. Through case studies of entrepreneurs, athletes, artists, and celebrities - as well as her own colorful experience of trying to set and reach a goal - she brings to life four powerful yet largely untapped visual tactics that can be applied according to the situation.

Narrow your focus: Closing the aperture of your attention helps you exercise effectively, save money, and find more time in your day.

Widen the bracket: Seeing the forest instead of the trees reduces temptations and helps you recognize when a change of course is in order.

Materialize your plan and your progress: Creating checklists and objective assessments inspires better planning and adjusts your gauge of what’s really left to be done.

Control your frame of reference: Knowing where to direct attention improves your ability to read others’ emotions, negotiate better deals, foster stronger relationships, and overcome a fear of public speaking.

A mind-blowing and original tour of perception, Clearer, Closer, Better will help you see the possibilities in what you can't see now. Inspiring, motivating, and always entertaining, it demonstrates that if we take advantage of our visual experiences, they can lead us to live happier, healthier, and more productive lives every day.

©2020 Emily Balcetis (P)2020 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Emily Balcetis' Clearer, Closer, Better is as entertaining as it is important - a book that teaches you how to see the world, both literally and figuratively, in the service of cultivating a life of happiness, meaning, health, and prosperity. Balcetis writes with such verve that you’ll forget you’re learning, but along the way you’ll discover how titans of business, the arts, sports, and fashion perceive the world to maximize their prospects of success. One of the most important - and engaging - books I've read in a very long time." (Adam Alter, New York Times bestselling author of Irresistible and Drunk Tank Pink)

"Clearer, Closer, Better offers an incisive analysis of the many ways we get things wrong - misinterpret, don't look closely enough, see what we want to see, respond to the way things are phrased or positioned instead of the thing itself - as well as a highly applicable road map to getting them right." (Amy Cuddy, best-selling author of Presence)

"If you're staring down a goal that seems overwhelming, this book will give you a new way of looking at it. A rising star in the field of social psychology, Emily Balcetis gets real about the challenges of applying scientific insights to the messiness of daily life. In Clearer, Closer, Better, she offers sage, practical advice that I've already incorporated into mine." (Elizabeth Dunn, co-author of Happy Money: The Science of Happier Spending)

What listeners say about Clearer, Closer, Better

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Great ideas bad book.

The book premise is great. The ideas are cleaver. The story telling was really bad. I herd her pod cast on hidden Brain and was very impressed. The book was a letdown.

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Needs a better editor.

Geez, on and on and on and on about the minutiae of her attempts at drumming and her family. Do I really want to know that she woke up in her son’s bed with vomit? This book would have been much better if it were about 1/3 as long and without a lot of the jokiness. Sorry, don’t want to sound too mean.
I used to work in l a university research lab and this book sounds like many of the grad students’ first attempts at presenting their work. They too, would include way too many details that were interesting to them, but should have been winnowed from the presentation.

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  • Simon
  • 01-24-21

Mostly personal anecdotes

Good narration and entertaining in itself but a few too many personal stories and not enough science for my liking.