Book Review: Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals, by Heidi Grant Halvorson

This book gives you the science behind goal setting. It’s not just another goal-setting process. Instead, Halvorson explains how different types of goals need different methods to achieve them, and goes on to describe the best methods for each of your goals.

This is a crucial difference between this and many (most?) other goal-setting processes. Most other processes prescribe a single formula – such as setting “SMART” goals. But Halvorson argues here that that’s a flawed approach, because there’s no one-size-fits-all formula.

For example, she makes a distinction between “be good” goals (those based on achieving a certain outcome) and “getting better” goals (those based on growth and improvement). Just being aware of this distinction alone is useful, but she then goes on to suggest when it’s better to set one type or the other (I’ll let you read the book to find out!)

The best part of this book is that it’s strongly evidence-based, with Halvorson citing research in social psychology throughout the book. This makes it different from the vast majority of goal-setting and achievement books, which are usually just based on whatever the author thinks is a good idea. That doesn’t make those books wrong, of course; it’s just nice to see a process with a solid scientific foundation.

Despite my glowing comments here about the book, this is not the first book I would recommend for your goal setting. For that purpose, I recommend “Nine Things Successful People Do Differently”, by the same author. That is a smaller, more succinct, version of this book, and is more useful if you just want a simple goal-setting process. But if you’re interested in some of the psychology behind goal setting and motivation, “Succeed” is one of the best books on the subject.

Buy the book from

What Next?

Scroll to Top