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Smarter Faster Better
Cover of Smarter Faster Better
Smarter Faster Better
The Transformative Power of Real Productivity
Borrow Borrow
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The author of The Power of Habit and “master of the life hack” (GQ) explores the fascinating science of productivity and offers real-world takeaways to apply your life, whether you’re chasing peak productivity or simply trying to get back on track.
“Duhigg melds cutting-edge science, deep reporting, and wide-ranging stories to give us a fuller, more human way of thinking about how productivity actually happens.”—Susan Cain, author of Quiet
 
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 and rich storytelling to how we can improve at the things we do. 
 
At the core of Smarter Faster Better are eight key 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 book reveals that the most productive people, companies, and organizations don’t merely act differently. They view the world, and their choices, in profoundly different ways.
 
Smarter Faster Better is a story-filled exploration of the science of productivity, one that can help us learn to succeed with less stress and struggle—and become smarter, faster, and better at everything we do.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The author of The Power of Habit and “master of the life hack” (GQ) explores the fascinating science of productivity and offers real-world takeaways to apply your life, whether you’re chasing peak productivity or simply trying to get back on track.
“Duhigg melds cutting-edge science, deep reporting, and wide-ranging stories to give us a fuller, more human way of thinking about how productivity actually happens.”—Susan Cain, author of Quiet
 
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 and rich storytelling to how we can improve at the things we do. 
 
At the core of Smarter Faster Better are eight key 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 book reveals that the most productive people, companies, and organizations don’t merely act differently. They view the world, and their choices, in profoundly different ways.
 
Smarter Faster Better is a story-filled exploration of the science of productivity, one that can help us learn to succeed with less stress and struggle—and become smarter, faster, and better at everything we do.
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Excerpts-
  • From the book 1

    Motivation

    Reimagining Boot Camp, Nursing Home Rebellions, and the Locus of Control

    The trip was intended as a celebration, a twenty-nine-day tour of South America that would take Robert, who had just turned sixty, and his wife, Viola, first to Brazil, then over the Andes into Bolivia and Peru. Their itinerary included tours of Incan ruins, a boat trip on Lake Titicaca, the occasional craft market, and a bit of birding.

    That much relaxation, Robert had joked with friends before leaving, seemed unsafe. He was already anticipating the fortune he would spend on calls to his secretary. Over the previous half century Robert Philippe had built a small gas station into an auto parts empire in rural Louisiana and had made himself into a Bayou mogul through hard work, charisma, and hustle. In addition to the auto-parts business, he also owned a chemical company, a paper supplier, various swaths of land, and a real estate firm. And now here he was, entering his seventh decade, and his wife had convinced him to spend a month in a bunch of countries where, he suspected, it would be awfully difficult to find a TV showing the LSU-Ole Miss game.

    Robert liked to say there wasn't a dirt road or back alley along the Gulf Coast he hadn't driven at least once to drum up business. As Philippe Incorporated had grown, Robert had become famous for dragging big-city businessmen from New Orleans and Atlanta out to ramshackle bars and forbidding them from leaving until the ribs were picked clean and bottles sucked dry. Then, while everyone nursed painful hangovers the next morning, Robert would convince them to sign deals worth millions. Bartenders always knew to fill his glass with club soda while serving the bigwigs cocktails. Robert hadn't touched booze in years.

    He was a member of the Knights of Columbus and the chamber of commerce, past president of the Louisiana Association of Wholesalers and the Greater Baton Rouge Port Commission, the chairman of his local bank, and a loyal donor to whichever political party was more inclined to endorse his business permits that day. "You never met a man who loved working so much," his daughter, Roxann, told me.

    Robert and Viola had been looking forward to this South American trip. But when they stepped off the plane in La Paz, midway through the monthlong tour, Robert started acting oddly. He staggered through the airport and had to sit down to catch his breath at the baggage claim. When a group of children approached him to ask for coins, Robert threw change at their feet and laughed. In the bus to the hotel, Robert started a loud, rambling monologue about various countries he had visited and the relative attractiveness of the women who lived there. Maybe it was the altitude. At twelve thousand feet, La Paz is one of the highest cities in the world.

    Once they were unpacked, Viola urged Robert to nap. He wasn't interested, he said. He wanted to go out. For the next hour, he marched through town buying trinkets and exploding in a rage whenever locals didn't understand English. He eventually agreed to return to the hotel and fell asleep, but woke repeatedly during the night to vomit. The next morning, he said he felt faint but became angry when Viola suggested he rest. He spent the third day in bed. On day four, Viola decided enough was enough and cut the vacation short.

    Back home in Louisiana, Robert seemed to improve. His disorientation faded and he stopped saying strange things. His wife and children, however, were still worried. Robert was lethargic and refused to leave the house unless prodded. Viola had expected him to rush into the office upon their return, but after four days he hadn't so...
About the Author-
  • Charles Duhigg is a Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative journalist and the author of The Power of Habit and Smarter Faster Better. A graduate of Harvard Business School and Yale College, he is a winner of the National Academies of Sciences, National Journalism, and George Polk awards. He writes for The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, and other publications, and is the host of the podcast How To! with Charles Duhigg.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    February 15, 2016
    Journalist Duhigg (The Power of Habit) shares his conversations with productive people in this manual for increasing productivity. From this fieldwork he draws eight commonalities, treated in individual chapters. He places particular emphasis on the importance of individual agency and engagement: according to him, success comes from proactive transformation, as opposed to passive acceptance. The book's major source consists of the interviewees' stories, so it makes sense that the discussion is more narrative than data-driven. Many examples are recent, relevant, and fresh—such as the story of creative triumph that was the development of the hit film Frozen. The narrative can feel like one under-analyzed anecdote after another, but Duhigg's accessible prose comes across as appropriate for the subject matter, since it ensures that his points about behaving proactively can be absorbed quickly and easily. Agent: Andrew Wylie, Wylie Agency.

  • Library Journal

    March 1, 2016

    Everyone is busy, but not everyone is productive, says New York Times reporter Duhigg (The Power of Habit), who here explores the hows and whys of eight ideas that he feels are most important to expand effectiveness in the workplace. By using case studies, research reports, and experiences from a variety of industries, the author hopes to make everyone smarter, faster, and better at what needs to be accomplished, and to understand why some people and companies are more efficient than others. While the chapters deal with such topics as motivation, psychological safety in teams, focus, goal setting, and absorbing data, the examples are so enjoyable that Duhigg's point often tends to get lost. Other concepts include creative desperation, information blindness, reactive thinking, and cognitive tunneling. Even the notes section at the end makes for a compelling narrative. VERDICT Although a fascinating read in which the pages turn quickly, the author's goals may not have been realized. For readers who enjoy their business lessons disguised as entertaining stories, although in this case, absorbing the main arguments will require diligence.--Bonnie A. Tollefson, Rogue Valley Manor Lib., Medford, OR

    Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    March 15, 2016
    Investigative reporter Duhigg defines productivity as attempting to realize the most meaningful rewards with the best uses of our energy, intellect, and time by learning to succeed with less effort and stressand by efficiently accomplishing tasks without sacrificing other priorities. His eight concepts to expand productivity include innovation, motivation, mental models, and the correct way to set goals. A skillful storyteller, the author weaves his thought-provoking ideas into lessons learned from interviews of businesspeople, government leaders, psychologists, and others. One standout anecdote tells how, under enormous time pressure, with its creative team spinning, Disney promoted an underling to be, effectively, a film's codirector. This shake-up launched the all-time highest-grossing animated film, Frozen. We also learn about the world's most famous woman poker player, whose mastery of decision making stems from leaning to live with uncertainty and constantly updating her assumptions while thinking probabilistically having the ability to hold multiple conflicting outcomes in your mind and estimate their relative likelihoods. This is an excellent book, suitable for most public libraries.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2016, American Library Association.)

  • Jim Collins, author of Good to Great "As he did in The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg melds cutting-edge science, deep reporting, and wide-ranging stories to give us a fuller, more human way of thinking about how productivity actually happens. He manages to reframe an entire cultural conversation: Being productive isn't only about the day-to-day and to-do lists. It's about seeing our lives as a series of choices, and learning that we have power over how we think about the world."--Susan Cain, author of Quiet "A brilliant distillation of the personal and organizational behaviors that produce extraordinary results. Duhigg uses engaging storytelling to highlight fascinating research and core principles that we can all learn and use in our daily lives. A masterful must-read for anyone who wants to get more (and more creative) stuff done."--David Allen, author of Getting Things Done "Charles Duhigg has a gift for asking just the right question, and then igniting the same curiosity in the rest of us. In Smarter Faster Better he finds provocative answers to a riddle of our age: how to become more productive (by two times, or even ten times) and less busy, how to be more effective in the world and more in control of our lives. Duhigg has rendered, yet again, a great service with his sharp, lucid prose."
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The Transformative Power of Real Productivity
Charles Duhigg
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