Almost everyone feels stuck in some way. Whether you’re muddling through a midlife crisis, wrestling with writer’s block, trapped in a thankless job, or trying to remedy a fraying friendship, the resulting emotion is usually a mix of anxiety, uncertainty, fear, anger, and numbness. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Anatomy of a Breakthrough is the roadmap we all need to escape our inertia and flourish in the face of friction.
The solution to becoming unstuck rests on a process that Alter calls a friction audit—a systematic procedure that uncovers why a person or organization is stuck and then suggests a path to progress. The friction audit states that people and organizations get unstuck when they overcome three sources of friction: HEART (unhelpful emotions); HEAD (unhelpful patterns of thought); and HABIT (unhelpful behaviors).
Artfully weaving together scientific studies, anecdotes, and interviews, Alter teaches us that getting stuck is a feature rather than a glitch on the road to thriving, but with the right tweaks and corrections, we can reach even our loftiest targets.
About the Author: Adam Alter is a professor of marketing and the Stansky Teaching Excellence Faculty Fellow at New York University’s Stern School of Business. He also holds an affiliated professorship in social psychology at NYU’s psychology department. In 2020 he was voted professor of the year by the faculty and student body at NYU’s Stern School of Business and was among the Poets and Quants 40 Best Professors Under 40 in 2017. Alter is the New York Times bestselling author of two books: Drunk Tank Pink and Irresistible.
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