SMARTER FASTER BETTER by Charles Duhigg
Kirkus Star

SMARTER FASTER BETTER

The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Why some people are more productive than others.

Pulitzer Prize–winning New York Times reporter Duhigg follows up his bestselling The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business (2012) with a revealing, brightly written exploration of the ways in which successful people make the right choices necessary to succeed with less effort. Drawing on research studies and innumerable interviews with neurologists, businesspeople, government leaders, and psychologists, the author identifies a series of key ideas that help expand productivity. In absorbing stories from every corner of life, he shows how these ideas explain why some people get so much done. Each chapter offers a remarkable blend of anecdotes and science illustrating concepts that clearly have much to offer individuals and companies striving for greater productivity. In Marine Corps training and nursing homes, he finds people are more motivated when they feel in control. Teams like the original group that created Saturday Night Live thrive in a place made safe for risk-taking. In accounts of the experiences of FBI agents, educators, airline pilots, and others, Duhigg explains the importance of creating mental models (“we must take control of our attention”), having large ambitions and realistic plans (rather than “achievable but inconsequential goals”), and managing people successfully in a culture of commitment and trust. In making decisions—in poker, for instance—we must see the future as having multiple possibilities. In innovating, we must be mindful that fast originality often lies in using proven ideas from elsewhere in new ways. Finally, in workplaces inundated with information, we can learn from data by actually doing something with it, as happened in the recent overhaul of the Cincinnati public school system. In each instance, Duhigg shows an uncanny ability to find just the right exciting example of productivity-boosting methods, leaving readers to nod in recognition that they might act in the same way to improve their lives and work.

Highly informative and entertaining and certain to have wide appeal.

Pub Date: March 8th, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-8129-9339-4
Page count: 400pp
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2016




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