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Daniel H. Pink is the author of seven books, including the forthcoming The Power of Regret: How Looking Backward Moves Us Forward (Riverhead, 2022).  His other books include the New York Times bestsellers When and A Whole New Mind — as well as the #1 New York Times bestsellers 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.


  • The truth: We regret inactions much more than actions.The lesson: Be bold. Take that chance. In a world full of talkers, be a doer. Have a bias for action.
  • The 3 keys to a productive achiever: empathy/compassion, curiosity, doggedness (consistency).
  • We overvalue intensity and undervalue consistency and doggedness. Continue to show up and do the work.
  • The four core regrets:
    • Foundation regrets – People want stability. (save money, plan for the future)
    • Boldness regrets – “If only I’d taken that chance.” People regret not taking the chance.
    • Moral regrets
    • Connection regrets
  • The truth: We deeply regret not asserting ourselves. The lesson: Speak up.
  • Optimizing Regret: Our goal should not be to always minimize regret. Our goal should be to optimize it. By combining the science of anticipated regret with the new deep structure of regret, we can refine our mental model. 
  • “Regret makes me human. Regret makes me better. Regret gives me hope.”
  • This is a great exercise. Instead of a New Year’s resolution, choose a single word to guide your 2022. After 2 years of upheaval, it can help you focus on the goals & changes most important to you. Dan’s choice? Restore.
  • The Dan Pink family acronym: HAHU – Hustle. Anticipate. Heads up.
  • Big life decisions:
    • Maximizers and satisficers
      • Know when to maximize and when to satisfy. For low stakes decisions (the color of your car), you don’t have to maximize
  • Regret is part of the human condition. We all have regrets. Disclose it. Lift the burden.
    • Someone that says they have “No Regrets” is either lying or they are a sociopath.
  • Disclose lessons from your regrets. Ask yourself, “What did I learn from it?”
  • Does everything happen for a reason?
    • The lesson to be learned from it is understanding what we have control over and what we don’t.
  • Regret depends on storytelling. And that raises a question: In these stories, are we the creator or the character, the playwright or the performer? The answer is… YES. We are both.
    • We are both the authors and the actors. We can shape the plot but not fully. We can toss aside the script but not always. We live at the intersection of free will and circumstance.
  • “Our everyday lives consist of hundreds of decisions—some of them crucial to our well-being, many of them inconsequential. Understanding the difference can make all the difference. If we know what we truly regret, we know what we truly value. Regret— that maddening, perplexing, and undeniably real emotion—points the way to a life well-lived.”
  • Career/Life advice:
    • Doggedness is important. Be a person of action. Be willing to try stuff. “We learn who we are in practice, not in theory.” Doing something helps you figure it out.

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