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The Brainy Business | Understanding the Psychology of Why People Buy | Behavioral Economics

Jul 22, 2022

In today's conversation, I am joined by Daniel Pink; author of five New York Times bestsellers, including his latest, The Power of Regret: How Looking Backward Moves Us Forward (which is the focus of our conversation today). His other books include When, A Whole New Mind, Drive, and To Sell is Human. Dan’s books have won multiple awards, have been translated into 42 languages, and have sold millions of copies around the world.

I reached out to Dan while I was writing my new book, What Your Employees Need and Can't Tell You (which is now on presale and coming out on October 11, 2022) because I reference his book Drive a few times and wanted him to have a chance to weigh in and make sure I attributed everything correctly (something I do for every mention in my books). I was so deep in writing mode that I didn't realize he had a new book coming out at that time, so I asked him to come join me on the podcast to talk about his newest book, The Power of Regret. You will hear all about it in our conversation of course, but let me tell you, this book did not disappoint. It is full of great examples and extensive research -- it will change the way you think about regret and what it means to be human. You don’t want to miss this conversation where we talk all about it.

Show Notes:

  • [00:40] In today's conversation, I am joined by Dan Pink. He is the author of five New York Times bestsellers.
  • [01:51] In this episode we talk about his newest book, The Power of Regret.
  • [03:41] Dan shares about himself and his background.
  • [05:49] He realized in his early thirties what he was doing on the side (writing) should be what he was doing full-time. 
  • [07:12] He shares about the manga comic book he wrote called The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You'll Ever Need. It is a 180-page graphic novel written in the Japanese comic form of manga.  
  • [09:41] The book received a number of awards, including one from the American Library Association. 
  • [12:06] In the first week the book came out he got an offer for the movie rights, which he declined, and he never got another one. (Per the theme of today’s episode…Does he regret it?)  
  • [14:43] Dan’s tips for writing books: When it comes to writing and content creation there is a lot to be said for getting the reps. Start small and work up to writing a book. Listen to the feedback you get.
  • [15:59] When writing a book you have to have a very high bar for whether something is worth writing a book about. Many ideas don’t have shoulders broad enough to carry a full book and they would be better as an article or essay. 
  • [17:20] Writing a book is hard so if you don’t pick a topic that you are deeply interested in it is going to be a profoundly miserable experience. 
  • [19:50] Does your book deserve 9 hours and 300 pages of someone else’s time? And, do you want to live with this for the rest of your life?
  • [21:13] His early book Free Agent Nation was about the rise of people who were working for themselves. 
  • [22:41] At any point in our lives we want to have some exploration but at a certain point, we have to execute. 
  • [25:15] Dan loves sharing what he is working on along the way and getting feedback from others.  
  • [27:14] Not only is regret normal and exceedingly common. Everybody has regrets. 
  • [28:15] We want to use our regrets as information for understanding what our value is and learning to do better. 
  • [29:21] He did two pieces of original research, one was The American Regret Project. It was a very large public opinion survey of the US population. 
  • [30:59] He also did a piece of qualitative research called The World Regret Survey where he invited people around the world to submit their regrets (over 20,000 of them!). 
  • [31:55] He found that people around the world had the same four core underlying regrets over and over again. 
  • [33:42] One of the core regrets is foundation regrets. These are regrets people have about small bad decisions early in life that accumulate and have negative consequences later in life. 
  • [34:23] Boldness regrets are if only I had taken the chance regrets. Moral regrets are if only I had done the right thing. Connection regrets are regrets about relationships. 
  • [36:37] We need to process our regrets and use them as a force going forward. A starting point is looking at our regrets and deciding if they are regrets of action or regrets of inaction. 
  • [38:15] Regret is one of the most common emotions that we have. Everybody has regrets. 
  • [38:30] We have a massive amount of evidence that when we confront and think about our regrets we can use them to make better decisions, solve problems faster and better, avoid cognitive biases, become better negotiators and strategists, and find more meaning in life. 
  • [39:59] Feelings are for thinking. They are signals, data, and information. When you have negative feelings even when it is unpleasant we need to figure out what it is teaching us to use them as a force of progress. 
  • [41:35] You want to have way more positive emotions than negative emotions but a life well lived is not a life of only positive emotions. Negative emotions serve a role and are part of life.
  • [43:43] Discomfort is a sign of growth so you want a little discomfort because that is how we learn and grow. 
  • [46:00] Melina shares her closing thoughts.
  • [48:15] If you enjoy the experience I’ve provided here for you, will you share about it? That could mean leaving a rating/review or sharing the episode with a friend (or 10!)

Thanks for listening. Don’t forget to subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Android. If you like what you heard, please leave a review on iTunes and share what you liked about the show. 

I hope you love everything recommended via The Brainy Business! Everything was independently reviewed and selected by me, Melina Palmer. So you know, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. That means if you decide to shop from the links on this page (via Amazon or others), The Brainy Business may collect a share of sales or other compensation.

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