Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business
by Charles Duhigg
Though I have read many productivity books in the past, I don’t read many now due to the repeated advice, some of which seems like theory to the author and not their actual practice. I usually skim the books to look for a different approach but gave special attention to this one because of the author.
I was already a fan of Duhigg after the insightful book The Power of Habit. He typically presents good support material, diverse views on the topic, and a tendency to plunge below the surface of “accepted knowledge.” The book addresses productivity as it relates to motivation, teams, focus, goal setting, managing others, decision making, innovation, and absorbing data. He draws on research and anecdotal evidence from a broad spectrum of society, not just the business world as is the case with many productivity books. The author is a good storyteller and uses suspense very well to cycle between the narrative and the research. I found myself tense after reading the account of Qantas flight 32. The appendix is especially valuable because Duhigg describes the application of the productivity areas discussed in each chapter to his own challenges in writing the book.
Although Duhigg describes some techniques for enhancing the productivity areas described above, he mostly outlines the science and principles of improved performance, leaving the reader to determine how to apply them to their personal and professional life. I made several notes of techniques that I will integrate into my own productivity processes. Whether you use a Cove or GTD type approach, the discussion of goal setting and focus will enhance and mesh with the principles of those systems.
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