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Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business Hardcover – March 8, 2016

4.1 out of 5 stars 193 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“A pleasure to read . . . [Charles] 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. . . . He takes readers from inside the cockpit of a crashing plane to the writing room of Disney’s Frozen.”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
 
“[Duhigg] looks at the numerous ways that people can become more effective, whether in improving motivation, setting goals, making decisions or thinking creatively . . . [He’s] an effective storyteller with a knack for combining social science, fastidious reporting and entertaining anecdotes.”The Economist
 
“Engagingly written, solidly reported, thought-provoking and worth a read.”—Associated Press
 
“Charles Duhigg is the master of the life hack.”GQ
 
“A gifted storyteller, Duhigg . . . combines his reporting skills with cutting-edge research in psychology and behavioural economics to explain why some companies and people get so much done, while some fail. Almost all books written in this genre are full of case studies and stories, but Duhigg’s storytelling skills make this book memorable and persuasive. Duhigg succeeds in challenging our mindsets and existing thought processes. It is not just another productivity book. It is about making sense of overwhelming data we live with.”The Financial Express
 
“There are valuable lessons in Smarter, Faster, Better. . . . Duhigg is a terrific storyteller, and a master of the cliffhanger.”Financial Times

“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.”—Jim Collins, author of Good to Great

About the Author

Charles Duhigg is a Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative reporter for The New York Times and the author of The Power of Habit. He is a winner of the National Academies of Sciences, National Journalism, and George Polk awards. A graduate of Harvard Business School and Yale College, he lives in Brooklyn with his wife and two children.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; 1 edition (March 8, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 081299339X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812993394
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.3 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (193 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #312 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Edward Durney TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 14, 2016
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Charles Duhigg is a good journalist (his share of a Pulitzer Prize proves that), and his book Smarter Faster Better is a good read. I enjoyed reading it. It's inspiring and insightful.

But the book promises to be more than just entertainment. The title takes off the Olympic motto: Citius Altius Fortius (Faster Higher Stronger), and its cover shows a runner smartly running directly to the center of a maze. A self-help, self-improvement type of book, it promises "the secrets of being productive in life and business". That I don't think the book delivers.

Why not? The book is full of stories. Anecdotes. Case studies. Whatever you want to call them. Charles Duhigg researches a lot of disparate incidents involving various people, and tries to bring them together to show us how to draw on other people's experiences to be more productive. But he fails.

That's because you can pull out of anecdotes pretty much anything you want to. I can find an anecdote to support any argument I want to make. Anecdotes are like statistics. As Simpson's paradox says, often the same statistics can be used to show something and its exact opposite. The same with anecdotes.

Take Charles Duhigg's use of the life of Rosa Parks in his book The Power of Habit. He says that she shows the power of social habits. He tells of how her husband said she was so social she rarely ate dinner at home, instead eating at the home of friends. That gave her the social strength to start a movement.

But Susan Cain (a blurber for this book) in her book Quiet, tells the story of Rosa Parks to support her argument of the power of introverts.
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Format: Audible Audio Edition
A brief warning to busy and smart people: the book contains some interesting insights and pieces of valuable advice. But, in the tradition of most self-help books, its worthwhile points could be communicated in a book 70 to 80 percent shorter. It is just unbelievably tedious with runaway background information and stories. It contains so much superfluous material that it is actually painful to listen to. And the good points get buried and forgotten in a flood of words. I normally prefer unabridged versions of books but this one begs for a most severe abridgement.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
First let me tell you where I am at, and then we can better understand where I am going and what a profound impact this book is having on me. So where I am is that I am somewhat of a perfectionist. Consequently I make jobs a lot more arduous than they need to be. While I am pining over every little detail others are soaring ahead in what is essential. I marvel at creating to do lists no matter how trivial and am delighted when at the end of the day I have most of them checked off as accomplished. Sure I have long term goals but I am in reality caught up more in the day to day chores, and the enormous job of maintaining, and restoring my 1955 house.

So where does this book take you. It starts out recanting what some others who have achieved an unbelievable amount of acclaim, having achieved all of these things at the same time. This is not about an increase in "busy"ness but rather a focus on what is essential to achieve our goals. An even better idea is to create stretchy goals to all the more focus on achieving true notoriety and success. Taking time off and spending it with family is all part of adopting the new you.

Since this book does not currently have a browse through the pages feature I am going to take a moment to share with you a part of what was written right inside on the first page by the editorial director of Random House for non-fiction.
"My conception of what productivity really means has changed. I now understand that it's not about how many things I check off of my checklist on any given day, or how many hours you spend chained to your desk; at heart, it's about making certain choices.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Smarter, Faster, Better is the perfect title for this book by Charles Duhigg. I was simply fascinated by every chapter.

Duhigg details how people have the ability to make any job or idea more efficient and creative. Through storytelling, anecdotal examples and research he describes how people get caught in tunnel vision, bogged in negative corporate culture and stuck in projects. For example, one of the interesting findings comes from university researchers who discover that everyday people have an uncanny ability to forecast events when they are versed in probabilistic thinking which is the use of probabilities.

Almost in the same vein of the popular Freakonomics, Smarter Faster Better shows how two seemingly different teams, Google and Saturday Night Live, use similar team building plans to create a successful workplace. There are good examples of what these successful entities do and also examples of how others fail.

Especially good is the chapter regarding management and how a commitment culture in the workplace has such a high success rate and how other models others fail. The story of the GM plant turnaround is a fine example of how this works in a corporation. These are not just theories that Duhigg is writing about, he gives real world examples of how these approaches work.

There are great chapters on motivation showing how Marines have adopted differing strategies in their basic training with very good results, and a chapter on focus with the scary case lesson of tunnel vision and the doomed Air France Flight that crashed into the ocean. One of my favorite chapters involved innovation and how the film makers working on Disney’s Frozen had to reconstruct their entire script.
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