Saturday, May 14, 2016

Smarter Faster Better by Charles Duhigg

cover of Smarter Faster Better
I have to admit that I have been very busy with my new job and my online class. When you throw in taking my nephew to reading tutoring every Saturday, you will see that I really have very limited time to do anything. Cleaning and yard maintenance have also suffered. The only thing that I kept up with was walking, and that was basically because i love to eat, and eating leads to weight gain! I have been doing some reading, mostly magazines and Philippa Carr. i am working my way through her series. I would write more about them, but the books are really very similar.

I did however, finally read a book. I found out about Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg. The author and book were highlighted on a recent episode of episode of Freakonomics on How to be Productive. I know that it's a question that I hear from a lot of friends, who think that I'm productive. They ask me how I got to be that way. I don't think Smarter Faster Better is really about being productive as much as it attempts to show you the qualities that will make you successful, and perhaps a better boss. I know as I read through it my prominent thought was that some of my former bosses who were really good at demoralizing and demotivating the workforce should read the book. However, that would probably be a lost cost. Bad bosses never see their own incompetence, and they do have a habit of misconstruing what they read to believe it is a validation of their incompetence.

When Duhigg surveyed productive people and teams, he found that there were eight factors that seemed to be consistence across all the people. These eight were items that no one disagreed on. So it wasn't that it worked for one and didn't work for another. They worked for all. The factors are:
  • motivation with the locus of control being internal rather than external to the individual
  • psychological safety in teams
  • focus and how cognitive tunneling can be destructive
  • goal setting with SMART goals and stretch goals
  • managing others with agile thinking and a culture of trust
  • decision making by forecasting the future and Bayesian psychology
  • innovation through creative desperation
  • absorbing data by turning information into knowledge
Duhigg provides some good case studies to prove the point that he makes. For instance, he uses the story about how the production crew behind Frozen changed Elsa from evil to misunderstood. I know that I when I deal with my nephew and niece, I will try to change them feel that their successes were due to an internal as opposed to external locus of control. If you want to be a better worker or manager, or just read an interesting book, you should try Smarter Faster Better.

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