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Published on Mar 15, 2011
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 robust power of situations, of context, in our lives. And that's a mistake, says Sam Sommers in his provocative new book, Situations Matter. Just as the museum visitor pays little attention to the frames around paintings, so do people overlook the influence of ordinary situations on the way we think and act. But frames -- situations -- do matter: They catch the eye and accentuate aspects of the paintings they surround. Your experience at the museum wouldn't be the same without them. The same goes for human nature.
In Situations Matter, Sommers argues that appreciating and understanding the enormous impact that context has in our lives makes us more effective at work, at school, at home, and with each other. Recognizing the power of situations to shape human nature gives us a leg up in a wide range of endeavors, both professional and interpersonal.
Sommers takes us on a fascinating and engaging journey through how our assumptions about other people are flawed and shows us how to understand why we make these mistakes. He also teaches us to recognize what pitfalls to avoid so that we can make better decisions and smarter observations about other people, the world around us, and even ourselves.