Emotional Success: The Power of Gratitude, Compassion, and Pride

A pioneering psychologist reveals how three emotions can provide the surest, quickest route to success in any realm. 

A string of bestsellers have alerted us to the importance of grit—an ability to persevere and control one’s impulses that is so closely associated with greatness. But no book yet has charted the most accessible and powerful path to grit: our prosocial emotions. These feelings—gratitude, compassion and pride—are easier to generate than the willpower and self-denial that underpin traditional approaches to self-control and grit. And, while willpower is quickly depleted, prosocial emotions actually become stronger the more we use them. These emotions have another crucial advantage: they’re contagious. Those around us become more likely to apply them when we do.
 
As this myth-shattering book explains, prosocial emotions evolved specifically to help us resist immediate temptations in favor of long-term gains. Originally, they enabled us to build lasting relationships with other people, and they still do that brilliantly. But they can also be adapted to strengthen our bonds with our own future selves—who will benefit most from the grit we need to succeed in life. No matter what our goals are, Emotional Success can help us achieve them with greater ease and deeper satisfaction than we would have thought possible.


What People Are Saying About Emotional Success

Emotional Success is as inspiring as it is practical. DeSteno shows us how to use our feelings of gratitude, compassion, and authentic pride to improve our lives—and the world.”
— Arianna Huffington, author of Thrive and The Sleep Revolution
 
“Are high achievers simply blessed with more willpower than the rest of us? DeSteno's provocative argument is that the science of success is, in fact, very much the science of social emotions like gratitude and compassion. I, for one, am convinced!”
— Angela Duckworth, author of Grit
 
“One of the leading psychologists of our time has discovered the keys to success: our emotions. They give us strength, they help us stick to our goals, they make us better friends and better people. DeSteno shows how gratitude, compassion, and—surprisingly—pride are essential to the good life. Emotional Success is a beautifully written and very important book.” 
— Paul Bloom, professor of psychology at Yale University and author of Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion

“This book is a new and interesting take on success—not one based on willpower or a rather grim effort to talk ourselves down from desiring something. Instead, David DeSteno offers a skillful path of emotions such as gratitude, patience and compassion, and the forging of connection to others as a vital route to success.”
— Sharon Salzberg, author of Real Happiness and Real Love.

 

“A revolutionary way to achieve our goals that promises to make us happier, healthier, and more resilient along the way. Using persuasive prose and cutting-edge science, DeSteno shows how we can attain grit and grace—the perseverance to succeed combined with the qualities that inspire others as well.”
— Chade-Meng Tan, author of Joy on Demand and Search Inside Yourself
 
“Anyone who hopes to live a more meaningful and fulfilling life should read this book. DeSteno reveals the hidden power of “prosocial emotions,” feelings like pride (but without hubris), gratitude, and compassion. He relies on research rather than anecdote to convince us that these emotions underlie grit and emotional intelligence.”
— Peter Salovey, professor of psychology and president of Yale University, and co-discoverer of emotional intelligence
 
“If you think the key to self-control is overriding your emotions, think again. Moral emotions can strengthen your willpower—and this fascinating book uses the latest social science to explain how.”
— Adam Grant, author of Give and Take, Originals, and Option B with Sheryl Sandberg

“Passion can be the enemy of reason, but it can also be what’s best about us. In this smart and lively book, David DeSteno shows us how to use our minds to cultivate our hearts.”
-Dan Gilbert, author of Stumbling in Happiness