David DeSteno's Emotional Success is an exploration of harnessing the practical power of using positive emotion to impact decision making. Current models promote suppressing emotion and using willpower as a means of self-control which, DeSteno argues, is not viable in the long term. With comparisons to well-known studies and a balance of hard research and popular culture examples, Emotional Success calls for a paradigm shift in the way in which we talk about the effect of responding emotionally.
Presented in four sections that pull together cutting-edge research from his own Northeastern University lab, DeSteno explores the benefit of promoting the prosocial emotions of gratitude, compassion and pride. Trying to balance and control emotions by using cognitive strategies is complicated and often ineffective in the long term, but building decisions based on an emotional response is in alignment with a 'gut feeling'.
In a similar way to how the zeitgeist has looked to mindfulness as a means by which to negotiate the information overload of modern life, learning to use emotion as a response toolkit is an essential way to achieve rational decision making with a real long-term impact.