The Surprising Psychology of High Performers

"Intention is an expression of our identity, and to live without it is to lose ourselves. Our aim is to help you reconnect with that power in you." (p.4)

Mike James Ross, Sekoul Theodor Krastev & Dan Pilat

What Expert Reviewers Say About The Book

Tony Robbins

#1 NY Times Bestselling author, entrepreneur and philanthropist

“INTENTION is an exhilarating exploration into the power of purposeful living. Unearth the secrets of an engaging life, masterfully interwoven with science and practicality!”

Dr. Marshall Goldsmith

NYT bestselling author of The Earned Life

“INTENTION is a true gem that delves into the psychology behind high achievers while offering practical applications for those seeking success — despite feeling stuck or unmotivated. The brilliance of this book lies in its ability to simplify complex concepts, making them accessible to everyone.”

Nir Eyal

Bestselling author of Indistractable and Hooked

"INTENTION decodes the art of personal growth in a distracted world, showing us the key to a richer life.”

Jeff Goins

Bestselling author of The Art of Work

“If you’re looking for a better way to be human, to get the most of your experience of being alive, look no further than this book. It’s a treasure trove of insight.”

Gay Hendricks, Ph.D.

Author of The Big Leap

“I highly recommend that you read INTENTION. I’ve used the power of intention in my own work for decades, and I wish I’d had this book when I began. A key distinction of INTENTION is that the authors use a scientific lens to show how intention can be trained. This is good news, indeed, for those who want to employ intention as a skill professionally or personally. Read INTENTION and grow your own powers of intention.”

Adam Alter

NY Times bestselling author of Irresistible

"INTENTION is a sharp and engaging book that uncovers the roots of peak performance. If you're looking for a 30,000-foot birds-eye view of what it means to be a high achiever, INTENTION is an excellent compendium that gathers together research from fields as diverse as sleep, willpower, curiosity, and self-belief. Highly recommended."

Order The Book

Large orders can be placed by contacting Wiley here.


About The Book

We’re stuck. Stuck to the couch. Stuck scrolling. Stuck at work. Stuck in worn-out paths of habitual action. Stuck in patterns and echo chambers of thought. Stuck in carefully curated lives where we’ve traded our agency for endless comforts that wrap us in existential ennui.

As our eyes fixate on a constant parade of images meant to engage us, we notice something in the periphery. We see folks who are just like us, except they are actually, deeply happy and fulfilled. They seem to go through life with ease and grace, overcoming obstacles and making amazing things happen for themselves.

Peering closer, we see that these aren't gods or superhumans. They’re just people who have chosen to not be stuck and decided to become the main characters in their own lives.

Their success (as they define it!) is not a birthright bestowed upon a lucky few, but the result of lives lived with intention. And that’s what this book is about—helping you to be just like these high performers by living intentionally.

This book is a practical guide on infusing purpose into life - a combination of inspiring stories about unlikely high performers and evidence from the cutting edge of behavioral science. Our goal is to dispel modern myths about high performance and teach you the five essential skills behind intention.

Get your copy of Intention today for a behind-the-scenes look of a life well lived.


Highlight Chapters

Chapter 2: A Languishing World

How did we get here? Why is it that the same modern technologies and tools that have made us almost godlike compared to our ancestors leave many of us feeling powerless? How is it that workplaces that have never cared more about fostering purpose and meaning feel more meaningless and emptier than ever? In this chapter, we explore the answers and look for a way forward.

Chapter 3: A History of Intention

When humans first appeared on Earth 300,000 years ago, we beat out the Neanderthals even though we were weaker and had smaller brains. So what did we have that our brethren didn’t? Perhaps the most important difference between us and other hominids was our ability to use social cooperation, complex language, and abstract concepts - to build shared intentions. In this chapter, we explore how intention first appeared, then allowed us to climb the food chain and finally turned us into what you could call wizards.

Chapter 5: Intention as a Muscle

The world around us has conditioned us to believe that the extent to which we can live purposeful lives is limited. Limited by who we are, how we were raised, our current circumstances, our social circle, our job and so on. And yet, an increasing amount of research shows that a sense of agency and purpose aren’t handed to a lucky few—it’s something all of us can predictably build. In this chapter, we introduce the idea of training intention and look through some research to back it up.

Chapter 7: Willpower - Redefining your limits

High performers tend to have something in common: they don’t view willpower as a limited resource. Perhaps they don’t think about willpower at all. Whichever it is, this attitude gives them the ability to push onward when others might give up—not because they’re breaking through some sort of internal limit, but because they’re too absorbed with the task to pay attention to self-imposed limits in the first place. In this chapter we look at how the myth of limited willpower causes us to place unnecessary limits on ourselves and what we can do about it.

Chapter 12: Curiosity: Don’t Stop (Re-)Believing

Critical thinking is a key ingredient to becoming more intentional. High performers aren’t only able to change their mind, they’re able to entertain different points of view at the same time. They constantly reassess what they believe, seeking new information, and, in the right circumstances, can integrate opposing viewpoints into their mental models to create novel approaches. In this chapter we look at why that might be and how it can be learned.

About The Authors

Mike James Ross

Mike James Ross is the CHRO of Simons, a leading North American retailer, where he helps over 5,000 employees thrive. Prior to Simons, Mike was a consultant at McKinsey, focused on transforming Fortune 100 companies into better workplaces. He then founded a coaching and leadership development firm that worked with global organizations such as Google and Cirque du Soleil.

Sekoul Theodor Krastev

Sekoul Theodor Krastev is a Co-Founder at The Decision Lab. Previously at Google and the Boston Consulting Group, his work in decision science has been featured in top peer-reviewed journals, conferences around the world, and in outlets such as The  Huffington Post and The New York Times. 

Dan Pilat

Dan Pilat is a Co-Founder at The Decision Lab, an applied behavioural science firm helping large organizations unlock social impact. Previously at The World Bank, Dan’s work on decision-making has been featured in outlets such as ForbesBloomberg, and NBC
Dan can be reached at