Surprise Book Summary - Surprise Book explained in key points
Listen to the Intro

Surprise summary

Tania Luna and LeeAnn Renninger

Embrace the Unpredictable and Engineer the Unexpected

4.3 (10 ratings)
16 mins
Table of Contents

    Summary of 7 key ideas

    Audio & text in the Blinkist app
    Key idea 1 of 7

    Surprise is a feeling triggered by the brain when it fails to predict what will happen next.

    In a world rife with uncertainty, we often experience the sensation of surprise, whether it delights us or upsets us. But how exactly does surprise work?

    Surprise is activated when your brain fails to predict what will happen in the next moment.

    Your brain is endlessly whirring away, trying to predict what is about to take place; if something unpredictable happens, it immediately shifts into action.

    This function of the brain actually has an evolutionary advantage: when faced with a hungry predator, our prehistoric ancestors needed the sensation of surprise in order to react as soon as possible, and not end up as dinner.

    So what goes on in our brain when we’re surprised? Interestingly, the surprise response consists of several stages – a surprise sequence.

    Imagine yourself coming home to a room full of people yelling “SURPRISE!” The surprise sequence would go something like this:

    Freeze phase: in a fraction of a second, the surprise takes away your cognitive resources and brings all of your attention to the object of surprise, leaving you with the well-known duh face.

    Find phase: Your brain clambers through all the available information to figure out what on Earth just happened. In this case your brain realizes, “My friends gathered to throw me a surprise party!”

    Shift phase: Now your framework for understanding your circumstances shifts; the way you viewed your situation before has been altered by the surprise. You might start to think, “I won’t have a typical evening by myself tonight, but instead I’ll be partying with my friends.”

    Share phase: The previous three phases are hard work for the brain, so in order to lighten the workload, you share the experience with others. In this case, this means talking to your friends about it.

    Want to see all full key ideas from Surprise?

    Key ideas in Surprise

    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    What is Surprise about?

    Surprise (2015) takes a closer look at the very concept of surprise, how it works and how to embrace and create it. What’s more, the authors show us how surprise can keep our relationships flourishing and allow us to live life to the fullest.

    Who should read Surprise?

    • Anyone bored with fixed routines and structures
    • Anyone with a fear of the unpredictable
    • Anyone curious about how surprise works

    About the Author

    A self-proclaimed surprisologist, Tania Luna is a co-founder and CEO of Surprise Industries – the only company in the world specializing in surprise. Luna has given a TED talk and is one of the leaders at LifeLabs New York.

    LeeAnn Renninger holds a PhD in social psychology and is a co-founder and director of training at LifeLabs New York.

    Categories with Surprise

    Books like Surprise

    People ❤️ Blinkist
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    People also liked

    Start growing with Blinkist now
    27 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    Of Blinkist members create a better reading habit*
    *Based on survey data from Blinkist customers
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 7,000+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial