Smarter Faster Better
The Secrets of Productivity in Life and BusinessBook - 2016
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the author of The Power of Habit comes a fascinating book that explores the science of productivity, and why managing how you think is more important than what you think—with an appendix of real-world lessons to apply to your life.
At the core of Smarter Faster Better are eight key productivity concepts—from motivation and goal setting to focus and decision making—that explain why some people and companies get so much done. Drawing on the latest findings in neuroscience, psychology, and behavioral economics—as well as the experiences of CEOs, educational reformers, four-star generals, FBI agents, airplane pilots, and Broadway songwriters—this painstakingly researched book explains that the most productive people, companies, and organizations don’t merely act differently.
They view the world, and their choices, in profoundly different ways.
A young woman drops out of a PhD program and starts playing poker. By training herself to envision contradictory futures, she learns to anticipate her opponents’ missteps—and becomes one of the most successful players in the world.
A group of data scientists at Google embark on a four-year study of how the best teams function, and find that how a group interacts is more important than who is in the group—a principle, it turns out, that also helps explain why Saturday Night Live became a hit.
A Marine Corps general, faced with low morale among recruits, reimagines boot camp—and discovers that instilling a “bias toward action” can turn even the most directionless teenagers into self-motivating achievers.
The filmmakers behind Disney’s Frozen are nearly out of time and on the brink of catastrophe—until they shake up their team in just the right way, spurring a creative breakthrough that leads to one of the highest-grossing movies of all time.
What do these people have in common?
They know that productivity relies on making certain choices. The way we frame our daily decisions; the big ambitions we embrace and the easy goals we ignore; the cultures we establish as leaders to drive innovation; the way we interact with data: These are the things that separate the merely busy from the genuinely productive.
In The Power of Habit, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Charles Duhigg explained why we do what we do. In Smarter Faster Better, he applies the same relentless curiosity, deep reporting, and rich storytelling to explain how we can improve at the things we do. It’s a groundbreaking exploration of the science of productivity, one that can help anyone learn to succeed with less stress and struggle, and to get more done without sacrificing what we care about most—to become smarter, faster, and better at everything we do.
Praise for Smarter Faster Better
“A pleasure to read . . . Duhigg’s skill as a storyteller makes his book so engaging to read.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Not only will Smarter Faster Better make you more efficient if you heed its tips, it will also save you the effort of reading many productivity books dedicated to the ideas inside.”—Bloomberg Businessweek
“Duhigg pairs relatable anecdotes with the research behind why some people and businesses are not as efficient as others.”—Chicago Tribune
“The book covers a lot of ground through meticulous reporting and deft analysis, presenting a wide range of case studies . . . with insights that apply to the rest of us.”—The Wall Street Journal
Baker & Taylor
Redefining productivity as a discipline involving how one thinks, identifies goals, constructs teams, and makes decisions, explains how to transform thinking behaviors to increase self-motivation and shares illustrative examples.
Redefining productivity as a discipline involving how one thinks, identifies goals, constructs teams and makes decisions, the best-selling author of The Power of Habit explains how to transform thinking behaviors to increase self-motivation, sharing illustrative examples by organizations ranging from the U.S. Marine Corps to Disney Animation.
From the critics
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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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