Smarter, Faster, Better

Smarter, Faster, Better

eBook - 2016
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Random House, Inc.

From the bestselling author of The Power of Habit comes a fascinating new book exploring the science of productivity, and why, in today's world, managing how you think--rather than what you think about--can transform your life.

Productivity, recent studies suggest, isn't always about driving ourselves harder, working faster and pushing ourselves toward greater "efficiency." Rather, real productivity relies on managing how we think, identify goals, construct teams and make decisions. The most productive people, companies and organizations don't merely act differently--they envision the world and their choices in profoundly different ways.
     This book explores eight concepts that are critical to increasing productivity. It takes you into the cockpit of two passenger jets (one crashes) to understand the importance of constructing mental models--telling yourself stories about yourself in order to subconsciously focus on what really matters. It introduces us to basic training in the U.S. Marine Corps, where the internal locus of control is exploited to increase self-motivation. It chronicles the outbreak of Israel's Yom Kippur War to examine cognitive closure--a dangerous trap that stems from our natural desire to feel productive and check every last thing off our to-do lists, causing us to miss obvious risks and bigger opportunities. It uses a high-achieving public school in Cincinnati to illuminate the concept of disfluency, which holds that we learn faster and more deeply when we make the data harder to absorb. It shows how the principles of lean manufacturing--in which decision-making power is pushed to the lowest levels of the hierarchy--allowed the FBI to produce a software system that had eluded them for years. It explores how Disney made Frozen into a record success by encouraging tension among animation teams--a version of what biologists refer to as the Intermediate Disturbance Hypothesis, which posits that nature is most creative when crises occur. With the combination of relentless curiosity, deep reporting and rich storytelling that defined The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg takes readers from neurology laboratories to Google's brainstorming sessions and illustrates how we can all increase productivity in our lives.

Baker & Taylor
Redefining productivity as a discipline involving how one thinks, identifies goals, constructs teams and makes decisions, the best-selling author ofThe 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.

Publisher: Toronto, Ontario, Canada : Doubleday Canada, 2016
ISBN: 9780385680929
Branch Call Number: OVERDRIVE
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Additional Contributors: Overdrive, Inc

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Productivity, recent studies suggest, isn't always about driving ourselves harder, working faster and pushing ourselves toward greater "efficiency." Rather, real productivity relies on managing how we think, identify goals, construct teams and make decisions. Learn how in Smarter, Faste... Read More »

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FPL_Lori May 01, 2020

If you liked "Power of Habit" you will probably like "Smarter Faster Better," too. The book is divided into 8 chapters (Motivation, Teams, Focus, Goal Setting, Managing Others, Decision Making, Innovation, and Absorbing Data) all exploring key ways to be more productive in work and life. Dughigg uses the technique of storytelling to keep one's interest in data and research that might otherwise seem dull. He gives real life examples that read almost like fiction, which makes for an attention-keeping read. Recommended for anyone who liked "Power of Habit" and/or would like to learn to be more productive.

OPL_ErinD Sep 09, 2018

Really interesting and offers a number of takeaways that could be immediately useful in life and work.

Apr 19, 2017

As a fan of author, Charles Duhigg's earlier book, "The Power of Habit," I expecteda lot from this book. Duhigg did not disappoint. While I have to admit I may not become Smarter/ Faster/ Better overnight, by following some of the ideas in the book I could defintely improve my productivity in more creative ways.

The book's strong suit is the author's liberal use of examples to illustrate his point like his in-depth description of the creative process involved in 'West Side Story,' and Disney's 'Frozen.'

Some of what he says is self-evident and some counter-intutive but if you persevere and read till the end you're sure to benefit.

Oct 26, 2016

Charlies Duhigg has exceeded expectations once again. Similar to his last book, the critically-acclaimed Power of Habit, I was expecting this one to be another dumbed-down life hack guide for the business/corporate crowd, but Smarter Faster Better is much too astute for that.

Just glancing at the chapter titles, with their bland labels like "Motivation," "Focus," "Decision Making," and "Absorbing Data," you can't help but slap your forehead and wonder if there's anything here that you wouldn't find at a dreary company team building retreat. But I implore you: Give it a chance. The stories are captivating. And you'd have to be a cynic not to find at least one useful bit of advice that could improve your life.

All of Smarter Faster Better is first-rate, but if you happen to work in a creative field, then I especially recommend reading "Innovation" which is about how the production team for Disney's Frozen reworked the film from a disjointed script to a surprise hit. Astonishing stuff. For related reading, you should also check out Ed Catmull's Creativity Inc.

Jul 14, 2016

There were a few chapters that interested me - read this pretty tersely

Lord_Vad3r Jun 03, 2016

What motivates me to go to work every day? I'm sure there are people all over the world who wake up and ask that question. Why, do I do it? For me, the answer's easy: I am addicted to living in an air-conditioned house and eating food.

I am very fortunate in that I actually like my job. That doesn't mean I don't want to get better at it. I am always looking for ways to improve in all aspects of my life. I want to learn more, retain more, and produce more. That's why I picked up Smarter Faster Better in the first place, to see if there was anything I could glean and apply to my daily life or work.

Quite often, I have noticed, books claiming to have a system for you to become more productive fall into the trap of repeating their elevator pitch in twenty different ways to make up 90 percent of the content. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Mr. Duhigg introduced a concept, provided supporting documentation, and then real world applications (where it has worked). The book is built around 8 concepts that can help both individuals and teams function better. He covers motivation, focus, goal setting, and decision-making for instance. Lean management techniques and psychological safety are included.

I have used the SMART system before but I had never seen it paired with a stretch goal (a goal that when you first look at it, you'd think there was no way to reach it.) I have begun to experiment with some of the suggestions in the book. I decided for example to take on fewer projects and give greater attention to the ones I do have (focus). Also, I am trying to work on more things I am interested in or feel passionate about (motivation). I've begun applying his approach to my to-do lists. I will be looking for the opportunities to apply probabilistic thinking to future projects and for variables to manipulate. It will all make for a better product.

For some time I have thought that schools should have a course called "Cause and Effect Thinking." In the Cincinnati schools discussed in the book they used Engineering Design Process which is pretty close to what I was envisioning. They say that the human mind can't really see the big picture until the mid-twenties but I bet that's because we've not made a concerted effort to develop that skill. I'm glad to see that it's being employed and that it's working. If we can get that and a greater focus on economics at every grade level it will go a long way towards fixing our school systems, which ARE BROKEN. Money spent on education is only a waste if it's not achieving ends that are beneficial to all of society and the world. Okay, I'm calming down now. . . maybe.

At any rate, the book is easy to read with solid examples. I am going to pick up The Power of Habit just because I was so impressed with this product. Not all of the concepts will work in every situation but they will help in most.

SPL_Heather Jun 02, 2016

A full review can be found under "Summary," which was first published in the Stratford Gazette on 2 June 2016.

May 31, 2016

I agree with the previous review - you won't end up with a concrete plan on how to be more productive and better at what you do but the stories are fascinating. This is a great primer on productivity and there are useful tools in the book that are relevant as well as doable. Look out for the last chapter and how the author used all his findings to become smarter, faster, better in his life.

multcolib_karene Apr 04, 2016

After you read this book, you might not have a concrete plan on how to be smarter, faster, better or you might already know most of the ways that will make you more productive such as the importance of setting specific, long-term goals and organizations work more productively if people are allowed to participate and express their views, etc. But this is a super entertaining book that is filled with interesting stories about real life events and people. It's worth reading just for those stories!


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SPL_Heather Jun 02, 2016

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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