Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Smarter Faster Better by Charles Duhigg

Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and BusinessSmarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I like this one better than Duhigg's The Power of Habit, though there's still too much illustrative storytelling which waters down the research.

There is some interesting science regarding the locus of motivation in the brain, though the author misses the chance to philosophize on the importance of this. Additionally, feeling like you have control in a situation increases motivation. (Ch 1) Start hard things by starting with someone that makes you feel like you have control, and explain to yourself why you're doing something. (Ch 1, Appendix)

Being on a sensitive team that gives everyone a chance to weigh in, increases the performance of the team more than having exceptional people on the team. (Ch 2) Individuals on teams that won't hold mistakes against them are more likely to take positive risks and admit mistakes that can then be corrected. (Ch 1, Ch 5)

Make a long-term goal. Under it make stretch goals, under stretch: SMART goals- Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timeline.

The book also contains a really interesting discussion on holding mental models in the brain and how to allow for new information or challenges to those models. (Ch 3) You should learn to make probabilistic predictions and base decisions on statistics. (Ch 6) View creativity as problem-solving. Don't become overly committed to your creative solutions. (Ch 7) Take notes by hand, write less, and listen more. (Ch 8)

The illustrative stories in this one are more compelling than in The Power of Habit, especially the two contrasting examples of plane emergencies. Super intense.

I'm dubious about the discussion of following instincts as that doesn't have scientific support in the book, nor am I aware of any other scientific evidence that supports instinct and I've read quite a few of these behavioral economics books.

The end of the book kind of peters out with an educational example I didn't totally see how to apply to real life. Overall, a good read to begin the year.

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