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Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive Paperback – 12 Jan 2017

4.1 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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  • Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive
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  • The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do, and How to Change
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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Books (12 Jan. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847947433
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847947437
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,182 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


"As he did in The Power of Habit, 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." (Susan Cain, author of QUIET)

"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)

"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." (Jim Collins, author of GOOD TO GREAT)

"There are valuable lessons in Smarter Faster Better … I never felt like putting it down." (Financial Times)

"Duhigg brings impressive reportorial and narrative skills to the project." (Spectator)

Book Description

A groundbreaking exploration of the science of productivity from the author of the international bestseller The Power of Habit.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Duhigg gives us a set of stories about people who have been very productive in various ways and some tips: motivation is about feeling in control, teams work best in a safe space where people have equal time to talk; a mental model can be very helpful if you are flying a plane in severe distress; goal setting should be a mix of stretch goals and SMART actions; managing others works well when you can devolve power to the front line (as in a car factory); decision-making should involve open-mindedness and an understanding of probability; innovation is a bit hard to pin down (no real useful take-aways from the chapter for me); and to get good results (in school or in debt collecting) the key is to experiment and to work with data to understand what experiments have worked.

All this is persuasively written. I'm not sure how far it would go to solve the problem Duhigg says he started with, of not having enough time to fit everything in. But clearly Duhigg thought about this himself (or his editor did, he tells us) and in some ways the most interesting chapter in the book is the last one on applying these ideas. It's persuasive on decision-making, focus and goals - and even motivation to a degree. Less so on the other themes of the book, where the final chapter give you 'how to' advice, rather than worked examples from Duhigg's own life.

I felt overall I learned something from this book. The narratives are all eye-catching and the notes convince you that Duhigg has done his homework on the stories. That said, you might do better to read, say Philip Tetlock's book on super forecasting rather than the chapter here on decision-taking. And I dare say the same is true for some of the other themes of the book. And doubts persist about how far it all fits together as a single coherent study of productivity. It did hold my attention, though, and it is thought-provoking.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An excellent review of different tools that can help any individual or group to adopt state of the art efficiency, productivity and performance. The use of gripping novel-like stories to explain the derivation of each theory makes this text an easy read. I completed this on kindle in 5 days.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I loved 'The Power of Habit' and was really excited to read this. In many ways I wasn't disappointed: if there's one thing Charles Duhigg can do, it's write in a fascinating, engaging manner. I was gripped by the various anecdotes given throughout the book, and at times it felt like a series of interesting stories more than anything else. The points made around productivity were interesting, but buried; quite often I found myself wondering how this related to the overall theme of the book (if indeed there was one). Part of me wonders whether Charles just put together an anthology of what might otherwise have been a series of journal articles and attempted to unify them under a theme of 'productivity', but really to me this doesn't ring true. This is more a series of ways to live your life a little better, with accompanying case studies. It is a good, engaging and interesting book, but it seems a little muddled and confused at times.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Thanks to NetGalley and Random House UK/Cornerstone for providing me with an ARC copy of this book that I voluntarily choose to review.
I don’t read many self-help or how-to books although recently I’ve been reading some that intrigued me and this was one of them. After all, who doesn’t want to be smarter, go faster and do things better? We all want to be productive, so the title was a big hook for me, and I imagine I’m not alone.
Charles Duhigg is the author of a very popular, well-liked and positively reviewed book, the bestseller The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do, and How to Change. Although I noticed that many of the reviewers mentioned his previous book and drew comparisons, I haven’t read it and I won’t be able to add to that debate. (In short, a few of the reviewers felt that this book wasn’t as good or as useful, from a practical point of view, as the previous one). After reading the comments, now I’m curious about his previous book.
But, as for Smarter Faster Better, it is a book where the author explains how he started wondering about the different levels of productivity people obtain. We all know individuals whose days seem to last more than 24 hours if we’re to judge by the amount of activities and achievements they manage to pack in. In an attempt at trying to find out how they do it, Duhigg collected studies, reviewed theories, interviewed people, checked stories… The book, which is divided into a series of chapters (Motivation, Team, Focus, Goal Setting, Managing Others, Decision Making, Innovation, Absorbing Data, Appendix and Notes), consists of the discussions of some cases that Duhigg then uses to illustrate a point or theory about the particular item and its importance.
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By Autamme_dot_com TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 30 April 2016
Format: Hardcover
Oh the eternal quest, being more effective and productive at what we do. How can we achieve this nirvana (asks this reviewer, who is being distracted by email and other online things at the time of writing)?

Well, this book claims to have some ideas and takes a science-led approach to the problem. It certainly appears convincing and well thought out. Applying it might be the harder part, demanding great discipline and drive. We may know we want to change, but effecting it…?

In many cases a lot of our attitudes can be shaped by who we are working with, how we interact with them and our collective outlook to matters. We receive reflections from others and, in turn, we reflect our own values back to them. A vicious circle, perhaps, that needs to be broken, in the cases when a sub-optimal signal is being sent. The author says that central to his idea of “Smarter Faster Better” working are eight concepts, build around findings in neuroscience, psychology and behavioural economics and supplemented with real-world experience and interviews of many people from top CEOs to even Broadway songwriters.

The key takeaway point is that the most productive people, companies and organizations don’t just act differently but they view the world and their choices, in profoundly different ways. This is a book to read and enjoy. It conveys a certain credibility and authority that is often lacking in many productivity improving-type books. Of course, the easy part is reading it – the more difficult part may be putting the ideas into practice. The author cannot help you here, other than giving a lot of inspiration and practical help.

Even if you don’t manage (or want to implement) the change, the sheer mass of information will at least make you a better-informed person. The science, history and real-world experiences are fascinating reading in their own right. It is a book definitely worth further scrutiny!
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