Book Review: Smarter Faster Better – The Secrets of Being Productive – by Charles Duhigg

Smarter Faster Better Charles Duhigg

The title of this book ‘Smarter Faster Better’ seems to be a slogan that one of our ministers in Singapore will be fond of (hehe). This book has a great layout which makes it easier and faster to read – the font size is pretty big, and one quarter of the book actually contains the appendix / notes (which I didn’t read). But this 266-page book is still full of interesting anecdotes, insightful analyses and illuminating ideas. πŸ™‚

I love the author’s definition of productivity on pages 4 and 5: “Productivity, put simply, is the name we give our attempts to figure out the best uses of our energy, intellect, and time as we try to seize the most meaningful rewards with the least wasted effort.”

I’d highly recommend you purchase a copy of this book and read those interesting anecdotes. It’ll certainly help you think about Productivity differently. The notes that follow are little summaries for myself. They won’t necessarily make any sense to you if you haven’t already read the book, so go buy a copy, ok? πŸ˜€

  1. Motivation: Can be learned. We prefer choice and control. Link something hard to a choice you care about.
  2. Teams: Manage the how of teams, not the who. Give everyone an equal voice, encourage social sensitivity among teammates.
  3. Focus: Especially important in this age of automation. Create mental models. Visualization. Force yourself to think.
  4. Goal setting: Commit to stretch goals. Pair stretch goals and SMART goals.
  5. Managing others: Take pride in your work. Commitment culture in companies is best. Empower staff.
  6. Decision making: Get trained in how to think “probabilistically”. Accurate forecasting requires exposing ourselves to as many successes and disappointments as possible”.
  7. Innovation: Take proven, conventional ideas from other settings and combine them in new ways. Use our lives as raw material, our emotions as creative material. Don’t get overly attached to your creation. Critique what we’ve already done.
  8. Absorbing data: Increase your understanding of data. Use a new word in a sentence, write it down. Use the scientific method to isolate and test variables. Framing is important. Write > type.

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