Book Review: The Power of Regret

The power of regret book cover

Book: The Power of Regret: How Looking Backward Moves Us Forward 

By: Daniel H. Pink 

Reviewed by: Shelby Brown 


The Premise: This book, The Power of Regret: How Looking backward Moves Us Forward, came on my radar this summer as I was looking for a book that would help me with a personal mid-year refresh. I know that I have regrets –everyone does- and that’s what makes us human. And at The Roundtable, we are firm believers in learning from your mistakes and growing from them. The title of this book intrigued me as it seemed to aim at just that. Daniel Pink really takes the time in the book to explain how regret works, why we have regret, and most importantly, how we can use regret to help us make better, more informed and effective decisions. Pink is a New York Times bestseller, so I was certain I’d get some value from these couple hundred pages – and I did! 

Regrets, are a universal and healthy part of our lives. And understanding how regret works can help us perform better at work and school, and bring greater meaning to our lives.  

The Bottomline: Pink shares how regret can be used as a tool to help us with decision making and ultimately help us perform better in our day-to-day lives, and while at work. I am always on the lookout for the newest and latest research, and Pink was able to offer quite a bit of research in this book to support his theories. Honing in on neuroscience and social psychology research, Pink illustrates how regret can be transformed into a useful tool. 

What was fascinating in this book, is that Pink conducted the largest sampling of American opinions on regret that has ever been executed, and used this large study to conduct his research and reach conclusions. He also used data from his “World Regret Survey” to showcase the main four regrets that we as people have. He goes on to share how our own regrets can actually offer really great insight into how we can improve. 

This book is also packed with real life stories and examples – which I always find resonates with me – of how people have shifted their regrets to forward thinking action. He really illustrates how reimaging what regret is can be very powerful and positive. 

Recommendation: I recommend this book for anyone who is looking for a reset to help them make smarter decisions. This was a great summer read, a perfect balance of being able to utilize tools you already have, and introduction of new tools to help you move forward. 

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