Charles Duhigg is the author of the bestselling book The Power of Habit, which I enjoyed on audiobook when it came out a few years ago. I was intrigued by the examples he included that supported his research into how habits work in individuals, businesses, and society. His new book is Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business.
Smarter Faster Better is divided into eight sections: Motivation, Teams, Focus, Goal Setting, Managing Others, Decision Making, Innovation, and Absorbing Data. Most, if not all, of the subjects can be applied as easily to our personal lives as to our lives at work.
It contains a wide variety of examples and case studies: research conducted by data scientists at Google, software used by FBI agents, the restructuring of the Marine Corps’ boot camp program, how the team working on Frozen at Disney overcame creative roadblocks, the collaboration behind the scenes at Saturday Night Live, and more.
“Productivity, put simply, is the name we give our attempts to figure out the best uses of our energy, intellect, and time as we try to seize the most meaningful rewards with the least wasted effort. It’s a process of learning how to succeed with less stress and struggle. It’s about getting things done without sacrificing everything we care about along the way.”
Just like The Power of Habit, the examples and lessons in Smarter Faster Better are pretty high level. These are not books that get into the weeds with specific ways to apply the concepts directly to our lives. These are books for people interested in sociology and psychology, who want to mull over big ideas and figure out how the lessons and examples can be applied personally. I really enjoyed it
Curious about Smarter Faster Better? Here are a few of Charles Duhigg’s recent online pieces that feature topics from the book:
- What Google Learned From Its Quest to Build the Perfect Team [NY Times Magazine]
- The Most Effective Way to Create a To-Do List [Etsy Seller Handbook]
FTC disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.