Click – Brafman & Brafman

The one-sentence summary

Instant connections can be magic, and there’s a lot more you can do make it happen than you might think.


  • Instant connections can be magic – you meet someone new and you just hit it off, or click.
  • There are lots of components that make this happen:
  1. Magic matters: we should pay more attention to the euphoria moment and be aware that we can foster such moments.
  2. Power in vulnerability: most of us don’t want to let our guard down but when we do we are more likely to connect effectively.
  3. A few feet = a big difference: proximity matters and the closer we are the more we are likely to click.
  4. Resonance begets resonance: flow, being in the zone, being fully present, and really paying attention resonates with others to great effect.
  5. Similarity counts & quantity trumps quality: any shared item brings people together, even a birthday.
  6. The environment can foster intimacy: where people are makes a huge difference to the likelihood of clicking, and usually it’s not the office.
  7. Certain people are magnets: they are high self-monitors (see next).
  8. Quick-set intimacy brings out the best in us: quick and instant works well – click first and we all perform better.


  • It’s well written, and there’s a flow diagram that summarises the logic at the end of each chapter.
  • The magical state of quick-set intimacy leads to personal elevation – people raise their game and perform better.
  • Click accelerators than carry things onward: vulnerability is demonstrated through transactions (body language etc.) and connective factors (gut-feel).
  • Although the proximity point seems evident enough, there is an exponential increase in clicking and spontaneous conversations that many international organisations now fail to benefit from.
  • Presence has four important elements: intentionality (sense of purpose), mutuality (being open and available), individuality (being authentic), attentiveness (actively listening).
  • The best clickers are high self-monitors, who:
  1. Have fluid personalities
  2. Modulate emotional expression
  3. Quickly incorporate norms
  4. Manage others’ perceptions
  5. Act as networks


  • Not much. This is nicely observed and backed with decent research.

Sway – Brafman & Brafman

The one-sentence summary

People will make irrational decisions if left to their own devices.


  • We usually think we are rational beings but the science of decision-making would suggest otherwise. Logical thought can be subverted or ‘swayed’ in many ways
  • Irrational behaviour can be perpetrated by the most experienced and well-trained people, including pilots and doctors
  • Common reasons are: overreacting to a potential loss, taking dangerous risks when a lot is at stake, refusing to withdraw even with a small loss, misjudging something because it is in the wrong context, and being prejudiced by prior information
  • Our brains have two particularly different parts that are constantly struggling with each other: the ‘pleasure centre’ wild side that gets a kick out of taking risks, shopping, winning money etc., and the ‘altruism centre’ that does the best for others and always seeks reasonable compromise
  • Sometimes it just doesn’t seem worth the bother to dissent from the prevailing view, so many people stay quiet when the majority have got it wrong – particularly for an easier time at work


  • There are scores of examples from anthropology, aviation, sports and politics to illustrate the points
  • The narrative rolls along nicely – more story than text book
  • The thesis is a useful complement to, and development of, many other social theory books of recent times: Freakonomics, Nudge, Herd, and The Tipping Point


  • It is this very similarity to so many other books that makes it potentially derivative. Although in theory it is original material, sometimes it feels too similar. A shorthand for separating them is:
  • Freakonomics: patterns of social behaviour can be rooted in linked causes
  • Herd: huge numbers of people simply copy each other because they are social
  • The Tipping Point: little things can make a big difference
  • Nudge: providing different options or small incentives can change mass behaviour
  • Sway: irrational behaviour can affect even the best-trained and the most experience people

Podcast 10, Nudge by Thaler & Sunstein and Sway by Brafman & Brafman

Another combined podcast this week featuring Nudge by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein (book summary posted last year – see Thaler & Sunstein right) and Sway by Ori Brafman and Rom Brafman (summary to come).

Download 03 Nudge and Sway