Four Seconds


The basic things we all want—fulfilling relationships, accomplishments of which we’re proud, meaningful success at work, to be of service to others, peace of mind—are surprisingly straightforward to achieve. But, in many cases, our best efforts to achieve them are built on habits and behaviors that, simply put, don’t work.

When we feel overwhelmed and stressed by our growing to-do list, our knee-jerk reaction is to work longer hours and pack more into the hours we are already working. We multitask, dash from meeting to meeting, sneak e-mails under the conference-room table, and work early in the morning and late into the night. Our intention is to reduce our stress and overload. But our actions have the exact opposite effect: we end up more stressed and more overloaded.

In Four Seconds, Peter Bregman shows that the key to success in our fast-moving world is to pause for as few as four seconds–the length of a deep breath–to replace bad habits and reactions with more productive behaviors. In his trademark style of blending personal anecdotes with practical advice, Bregman reveals some of our most common counter-productive tendencies and describes counter-intuitive strategies for acting more intentionally.


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“This book is priceless, a book that could change your career, your marriage, your life. I hope you get a chance to read it.”

Seth Godin, author of The Icarus Deception

“Peter Bregman is back, this time with an even faster way to find your focus and get back on track when life throws you off. You’ll learn how four seconds can be just enough time to activate better decision-making and short-circuit our habitual, counterproductive responses to seemingly intractable problems. I especially appreciate that Bregman doesn’t offer himself up as a guru with superhuman self-control: his honesty and empathy for his own failings make Four Seconds a refreshing read.”

Daniel H. Pink, author of To Sell Is Human and Drive.

“As always, Peter Bregman’s insights are life-changing, often surprising, and—most importantly—entirely practical. His strategies can be used every day, take very little of your time, and yet yield extraordinary results. In Four Seconds, you’ll learn not only how to identify the bad habits holding you back, but how to replace them with the right habits, so that you can truly thrive.”

Heidi Grant Halvorson, associate director, Motivation Science Center, Columbia Business School, and author of Nine Things Successful People Do Differently

“I started reading 4 Seconds and within 24 hours had an incredible day.”

Steven Fuss CPA-CA MBA, Principal, Align Business Consulting