Smarter, Faster, Better
The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and BusinessBook - 2016
From the bestselling author of The Power of Habit comes a fascinating new book exploring the science of productivity, and why, in today's world, managing how you think--rather than what you think about--can transform your life.
Productivity, recent studies suggest, isn't always about driving ourselves harder, working faster and pushing ourselves toward greater "efficiency." Rather, real productivity relies on managing how we think, identify goals, construct teams and make decisions. The most productive people, companies and organizations don't merely act differently--they envision the world and their choices in profoundly different ways.
This book explores eight concepts that are critical to increasing productivity. It takes you into the cockpit of two passenger jets (one crashes) to understand the importance of constructing mental models--telling yourself stories about yourself in order to subconsciously focus on what really matters. It introduces us to basic training in the U.S. Marine Corps, where the internal locus of control is exploited to increase self-motivation. It chronicles the outbreak of Israel's Yom Kippur War to examine cognitive closure--a dangerous trap that stems from our natural desire to feel productive and check every last thing off our to-do lists, causing us to miss obvious risks and bigger opportunities. It uses a high-achieving public school in Cincinnati to illuminate the concept of disfluency, which holds that we learn faster and more deeply when we make the data harder to absorb. It shows how the principles of lean manufacturing--in which decision-making power is pushed to the lowest levels of the hierarchy--allowed the FBI to produce a software system that had eluded them for years. It explores how Disney made Frozen into a record success by encouraging tension among animation teams--a version of what biologists refer to as the Intermediate Disturbance Hypothesis, which posits that nature is most creative when crises occur. With the combination of relentless curiosity, deep reporting and rich storytelling that defined The Power of Habit , Charles Duhigg takes readers from neurology laboratories to Google's brainstorming sessions and illustrates how we can all increase productivity in our lives.
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Charles Duhigg is a business reporter for the New York Times and winner of a Pulitzer Prize. In his latest book, Smarter, Faster, Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business, Duhigg examines the science of productivity. Eight chapters cover concepts such as decision making, innovation, team dynamics, focus, and goal setting. The overall premise is that how you think is more important than what you think with respect to increasing your productivity in your daily life and career.
Each chapter in this New York Times bestseller opens with a story of a major problem – the Yom Kippur War, a plane about to crash, the kidnapping of a national security advisor – and then shifts to an anecdote of someone else whose study, experience, or experiment improves their productivity and relates to the original catastrophe. Through these exemplary tales, Duhigg examines the success of the Saturday Night Live cast (psychological group security,) how Disney’s Frozen became such a hit movie (creative breakthroughs,) and how a Ph.D. dropout became a world poker champion (probabilistic reasoning.)
As the reader is taken from one anecdote to another, you see Duhigg’s fantastic skill with telling a story. His ability to draw you in and care about the outcome in a few short pages is remarkable. Fans of Malcolm Gladwell will enjoy Duhigg’s ability to make academic articles and studies of cognitive and social science engaging for a wide audience. The strategy, using human interest stories as examples of productivity methods, lends itself to quick reading. The concluding appendix includes useful suggestions of how you can apply Duhigg’s strategies to your daily life. The lack of statistical significance for his productivity suggestions is masked by the high level of engaging storytelling, fast pace, informative diagrams, and witty turns of phrase.
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