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BOOK

The History and Application of WOOP

“The solution isn’t to do away with dreaming and positive thinking. Rather, it’s making the most of our fantasies by brushing them up against the very thing most of us are taught to ignore or diminish: the obstacles that stand in our way.”


So often in our day-to-day lives we’re inundated with advice to “think positively.” From pop music to political speeches to commercials, the general message is the same: look on the bright side, be optimistic in the face of adversity, and focus on your dreams. And whether we’re trying to motivate ourselves to lose weight, snag a promotion at work, or run a marathon, we’re told time and time again that focusing on fulfilling our wishes will make them come true.

Gabriele Oettingen draws on more than twenty years of research in the science of human motivation to reveal why the conventional wisdom falls short. The obstacles that we think prevent us from realizing our deepest wishes can actually lead to their fulfillment. Starry- eyed dreaming isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and as it turns out, dreamers are not often doers.


Selected Reviews

How do you get from dreaming to doing? This exciting and important book shows you how to turn your dreams into reality. You’ll be surprised at how thoroughly it overturns conventional wisdom.
— Carol S. Dweck, Lewis & Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology, Stanford University, and author of Mindset
This book is a wise delight. Some kinds of positive thinking are beneficial, other kinds are downright dangerous, and Gabriele Oettingen has spent her scientific career figuring out which are which. The fruits of her labor are deep, plentiful, and yours for the taking.
— Daniel Gilbert, Edgar Pierce Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of Stumbling on Happiness
Gabriele Oettingen presents a well-written thought-provoking evidence-based self-help book. Hers is an intriguing approach to overcoming life challenges at all ages. It is a worthy read.
— James Joseph Heckman, Henry Schultz Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago, Winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics
In her smart, lucid book, Dr. Oettingen critically reexamines positive thinking and gives readers a more nuanced—and useful—understanding of motivation based on solid empirical evidence
— Dr. Richard A. Friedman, The New York Times

Selected Press Reviews


Selected WOOP International