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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The author of The Power of Habit and “master of the life hack” (GQ) explores the fascinating science of productivity and offers real-world takeaways to apply your life, whether you’re chasing peak productivity or simply trying to get back on track.

“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
 
In The Power of Habit, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Charles Duhigg explained why we do what we do. In Smarter Faster Better, he applies the same relentless curiosity and rich storytelling to how we can improve at the things we do. 
 
At the core of Smarter Faster Better are eight key concepts—from motivation and goal setting to focus and decision making—that explain why some people and companies get so much done. Drawing on the latest findings in neuroscience, psychology, and behavioral economics—as well as the experiences of CEOs, educational reformers, four-star generals, FBI agents, airplane pilots, and Broadway songwriters—this book reveals that the most productive people, companies, and organizations don’t merely act differently. They view the world, and their choices, in profoundly different ways.
 
Smarter Faster Better is a story-filled exploration of the science of productivity, one that can help us learn to succeed with less stress and struggle—and become smarter, faster, and better at everything we do.

Review

“A pleasure to read . . . [Charles] Duhigg’s skill as a storyteller makes his book so engaging to read.” The New York Times Book Review
 
“Not only will Smarter Faster Better make you more efficient if you heed its tips, it will also save you the effort of reading many productivity books dedicated to the ideas inside.” Bloomberg Businessweek
 
“Duhigg pairs relatable anecdotes with the research behind why some people and businesses are not as efficient as others. . . . He takes readers from inside the cockpit of a crashing plane to the writing room of Disney’s Frozen.” Chicago Tribune
 
“The book covers a lot of ground through meticulous reporting and deft analysis, presenting a wide range of case studies . . . with insights that apply to the rest of us.” The Wall Street Journal
 
“[Duhigg] looks at the numerous ways that people can become more effective, whether in improving motivation, setting goals, making decisions or thinking creatively . . . [He’s] an effective storyteller with a knack for combining social science, fastidious reporting and entertaining anecdotes.” The Economist
 
“Engagingly written, solidly reported, thought-provoking and worth a read.” —Associated Press
 
“Charles Duhigg is the master of the life hack.” GQ
 
“A gifted storyteller, Duhigg . . . combines his reporting skills with cutting-edge research in psychology and behavioural economics to explain why some companies and people get so much done, while some fail. Almost all books written in this genre are full of case studies and stories, but Duhigg’s storytelling skills make this book memorable and persuasive. Duhigg succeeds in challenging our mindsets and existing thought processes. It is not just another productivity book. It is about making sense of overwhelming data we live with.” The Financial Express
 
“There are valuable lessons in Smarter, Faster, Better. . . . Duhigg is a terrific storyteller, and a master of the cliffhanger.” Financial Times

“As he did in The Power of Habit, Charles 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. He manages to reframe an entire cultural conversation: Being productive isn’t only about the day-to-day and to-do lists. It’s about seeing our lives as a series of choices, and learning that we have power over how we think about the world.” —Susan Cain, author of Quiet
 
“A brilliant distillation of the personal and organizational behaviors that produce extraordinary results. 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
 
“Charles 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: how to become more productive (by two times, or even ten times) and less busy, how to be more effective in the world and more in control of our lives. Duhigg has rendered, yet again, a great service with his sharp, lucid prose.” —Jim Collins, author of Good to Great

About the Author

Charles Duhigg is a Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative journalist and the author of The Power of Habit and Smarter Faster Better. A graduate of Harvard Business School and Yale College, he is a winner of the National Academies of Sciences, National Journalism, and George Polk awards. He writes for The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, and other publications, and is the host of the podcast How To! with Charles Duhigg.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

1

Motivation

Reimagining Boot Camp, Nursing Home Rebellions, and the Locus of Control

The trip was intended as a celebration, a twenty-nine-day tour of South America that would take Robert, who had just turned sixty, and his wife, Viola, first to Brazil, then over the Andes into Bolivia and Peru. Their itinerary included tours of Incan ruins, a boat trip on Lake Titicaca, the occasional craft market, and a bit of birding.

That much relaxation, Robert had joked with friends before leaving, seemed unsafe. He was already anticipating the fortune he would spend on calls to his secretary. Over the previous half century Robert Philippe had built a small gas station into an auto parts empire in rural Louisiana and had made himself into a Bayou mogul through hard work, charisma, and hustle. In addition to the auto-parts business, he also owned a chemical company, a paper supplier, various swaths of land, and a real estate firm. And now here he was, entering his seventh decade, and his wife had convinced him to spend a month in a bunch of countries where, he suspected, it would be awfully difficult to find a TV showing the LSU-Ole Miss game.

Robert liked to say there wasn''t a dirt road or back alley along the Gulf Coast he hadn''t driven at least once to drum up business. As Philippe Incorporated had grown, Robert had become famous for dragging big-city businessmen from New Orleans and Atlanta out to ramshackle bars and forbidding them from leaving until the ribs were picked clean and bottles sucked dry. Then, while everyone nursed painful hangovers the next morning, Robert would convince them to sign deals worth millions. Bartenders always knew to fill his glass with club soda while serving the bigwigs cocktails. Robert hadn''t touched booze in years.

He was a member of the Knights of Columbus and the chamber of commerce, past president of the Louisiana Association of Wholesalers and the Greater Baton Rouge Port Commission, the chairman of his local bank, and a loyal donor to whichever political party was more inclined to endorse his business permits that day. "You never met a man who loved working so much," his daughter, Roxann, told me.

Robert and Viola had been looking forward to this South American trip. But when they stepped off the plane in La Paz, midway through the monthlong tour, Robert started acting oddly. He staggered through the airport and had to sit down to catch his breath at the baggage claim. When a group of children approached him to ask for coins, Robert threw change at their feet and laughed. In the bus to the hotel, Robert started a loud, rambling monologue about various countries he had visited and the relative attractiveness of the women who lived there. Maybe it was the altitude. At twelve thousand feet, La Paz is one of the highest cities in the world.

Once they were unpacked, Viola urged Robert to nap. He wasn''t interested, he said. He wanted to go out. For the next hour, he marched through town buying trinkets and exploding in a rage whenever locals didn''t understand English. He eventually agreed to return to the hotel and fell asleep, but woke repeatedly during the night to vomit. The next morning, he said he felt faint but became angry when Viola suggested he rest. He spent the third day in bed. On day four, Viola decided enough was enough and cut the vacation short.

Back home in Louisiana, Robert seemed to improve. His disorientation faded and he stopped saying strange things. His wife and children, however, were still worried. Robert was lethargic and refused to leave the house unless prodded. Viola had expected him to rush into the office upon their return, but after four days he hadn''t so much as checked in with his secretary. When Viola reminded him that deer hunting season was approaching and he''d need to get a license, Robert said he thought he''d skip it this year. She phoned a doctor. Soon, they were driving to the Ochsner Clinic in New Orleans.

The chief of neurology, Dr. Richard Strub, put Robert through a battery of tests. Vital signs were normal. Blood work showed nothing unusual. No indication of infection, diabetes, heart attack, or stroke. Robert demonstrated understanding of that day''s newspaper and could clearly recall his childhood. He could interpret a short story. The Revised Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale showed a normal IQ.

"Can you describe your business to me?" Dr. Strub asked.

Robert explained how his company was organized and the details of a few contracts they had recently won.

"Your wife says you''re behaving differently," Dr. Strub said.

"Yeah," Robert replied. "I don''t seem to have as much get-up-and-go as I used to."

"It didn''t seem to bother him," Dr. Strub later told me. "He told me about the personality changes very matter of fact, like he was describing the weather."

Except for the sudden apathy, Dr. Strub couldn''t find evidence of illness or injury. He suggested to Viola they wait a few weeks to see if Robert''s disposition improved. When they returned a month later, however, there had been no change. Robert wasn''t interested in seeing old friends, his wife said. He didn''t read anymore. Previously, it had been infuriating to watch television with him because he would flip from channel to channel, looking for a more exciting show. Now, he just stared at the screen, indifferent to what was on. She had finally convinced him to go into the office, but his secretary said he spent hours at his desk gazing into space.

"Are you unhappy or depressed?" Dr. Strub asked.

"No," Robert said. "I feel good."

"Can you tell me how you spent yesterday?"

Robert described a day of watching television.

"You know, your wife tells me your employees are concerned because they don''t see you around the office much," said Dr. Strub.

"I guess I''m more interested in other things now," Robert replied.

"Like what?"

"Oh, I don''t know," Robert said, and then went silent and stared at the wall.

Dr. Strub prescribed various medications--drugs to combat hormonal imbalances and attention disorders--but none seemed to make a difference. People suffering from depression will say they are unhappy and describe hopeless thoughts. Robert, however, said he was satisfied with life. He admitted his personality change was odd, but it didn''t upset him.

Dr. Strub administered an MRI, which allowed him to collect images from inside Robert''s cranium. Deep inside his skull, near the center of Robert''s head, he saw a small shadow, evidence that burst vessels had caused a tiny amount of blood to pool temporarily inside a part of Robert''s brain known as the striatum. Such injuries, in rare cases, can cause brain damage or mood swings. But except for the listlessness, there was little in Robert''s behavior to suggest that he was suffering any neurological disability.

A year later, Dr. Strub submitted an article to the Archives of Neurology. Robert''s "behavior change was characterized by apathy and lack of motivation," he wrote. "He has given up his hobbies and fails to make timely decisions in his work. He knows what actions are required in his business, yet he procrastinates and leaves details unattended. Depression is not present." The cause of this passivity, Dr. Strub suggested, was the slight damage in his brain, which had possibly been triggered by Bolivia''s altitude. Even that, however, was uncertain. "It is possible that the hemorrhages are coincidental and that the high altitude played no physiologic role."

It was an interesting but ultimately inconclusive case, Dr. Strub wrote.



Over the next two decades, a handful of other studies appeared in medical journals. There was the sixty-year-old professor who experienced a rapid "decrease in interest." He had been an expert in his field with a fierce work ethic. Then, one day, he simply stopped. "I just lack spirit, energy," he told his physician. "I have no go. I must force myself to get up in the morning."

There was a nineteen-year-old woman who had fallen briefly unconscious after a carbon monoxide leak and then seemed to lose motivation for the most basic tasks. She would sit in one position all day unless forced to move. Her father learned he couldn''t leave her alone, as a neurologist wrote, when she "was found by her parents with heavy sunburns on the beach at the very same place where she laid down several hours before, under an umbrella: intense inertia had prevented her from changing her position with that of the shadow while the sun had turned around."

There was a retired police officer who began waking up "late in the morning, would not wash unless urged to do so, but meekly complied as soon as his wife asked him to. Then he would sit in his armchair, from which he would not move." There was a middle-aged man who was stung by a wasp and, not long after, lost the desire to interact with his wife, children, and business associates.

In the late 1980s, a French neurologist in Marseille named Michel Habib heard about a few of these cases, became intrigued, and started searching archives and journals for similar stories. The studies he found were rare but consistent: A relative would bring a patient in for an examination, complaining of a sudden change in behavior and passivity. Doctors would find nothing medically wrong. The patients scored normally when tested for mental illness. They had moderate to high IQs and appeared physically healthy. None of them said they felt depressed or complained about their apathy.

Habib began contacting the physicians treating these patients and asked them to collect MRIs. He then discovered another commonality: All the apathetic individuals had tiny pinpricks of burst vessels in their striatum, the same place where Robert had a small shadow inside his skull.

The striatum serves as a kind of central dispatch for the brain, relaying commands from areas like the prefrontal cortex, where decisions are made, to an older part of our neurology, the basal ganglia, where movement and emotions emerge. Neurologists believe the striatum helps translate decisions into action and plays an important role in regulating our moods. The damage from the burst vessels inside the apathetic patients'' striata was small--too small, some of Habib''s colleagues said, to explain their behavior changes. Beyond those pinpricks, however, Habib could find nothing else to explain why their motivation had disappeared.

Neurologists have long been interested in striatal injuries because the striatum is involved in Parkinson''s disease. But whereas Parkinson''s often causes tremors, a loss of physical control, and depression, the patients Habib studied only seemed to lose their drive. "Parkinsonians have trouble initiating movement," Habib told me. "But the apathetic patients had no problems with motion. It''s just that they had no desire to move." The nineteen-year-old woman who couldn''t be left alone at the beach, for example, was able to clean her room, wash the dishes, fold the laundry, and follow recipes when instructed to do so by her mother. However, if she wasn''t asked to help, she wouldn''t move all day. When her mother inquired what she wanted for dinner, the woman said she had no preferences.

When examined by doctors, Habib wrote, the apathetic sixty-year-old professor would "stay motionless and speechless during endless periods, sitting in front of the examiner, waiting for the first question." When asked to describe his work, he could discuss complicated ideas and quote papers from memory. Then he would lapse back into silence until another question was posed.

None of the patients Habib studied responded to medications, and none seemed to improve with counseling. "Patients demonstrate a more or less total indifference to life events that would normally provoke an emotional response, positive or negative," Habib wrote.

"It was as if the part of their brain where motivation lives, where élan vital is stored, had completely disappeared," he told me. "There were no negative thoughts, there were no positive thoughts. There were no thoughts at all. They hadn''t become less intelligent or less aware of the world. Their old personalities were still inside, but there was a total absence of drive or momentum. Their motivation was completely gone."



II.

The room where the experiment was conducted at the University of Pittsburgh was painted a cheery yellow and contained an fMRI machine, a computer monitor, and a smiling researcher who looked too young to have a PhD. All participants in the study were welcomed into the room, asked to remove their jewelry and any metal from their pockets, and then told to lie on a plastic table that slid into the fMRI.

Once lying down, they could see a computer screen. The researcher explained that a number between one and nine was going to appear on the monitor. Before that number appeared, participants had to guess if it was going to be higher or lower than five by pressing various buttons. There would be multiple rounds of guessing, the researcher said. There was no skill involved in this game, he explained. No abilities were being tested. And though he didn''t mention this to the participants, the researcher thought this was one of the most boring games in existence. In fact, he had explicitly designed it that way.

The truth was, the researcher, Mauricio Delgado, didn''t care if participants guessed right or wrong. Rather, he was interested in understanding which parts of their brains became active as they played an intensely dull game. As they made their guesses, the fMRI was recording the activity inside their skulls. Delgado wanted to identify where the neurological sensations of excitement and anticipation--where motivation--originated. Delgado told participants they could quit whenever they wanted. Yet he knew, from prior experience, that people would make guess after guess, sometimes for hours, as they waited to see if they had guessed wrong or right.

Each participant lay inside the machine and watched the screen intently. They hit buttons and made predictions. Some cheered when they won or moaned when they lost. Delgado, monitoring the activity inside of their heads, saw that people''s striata--that central dispatch--lit up with activity whenever participants played, regardless of the outcome. This kind of striatal activity, Delgado knew, was associated with emotional reactions--in particular, with feelings of expectation and excitement.

As Delgado was finishing one session, a participant asked if he could continue playing on his own, at home.

"I don''t think that''s possible," Delgado told him, explaining that the game only existed on his computer. Besides, he said, letting the man in on a secret, the experiment was rigged. To make sure the game was consistent from person to person, Delgado had programmed the computer so that everyone won the first round, lost the second, won the third, lost the fourth, and so on, in a predetermined pattern. The outcome had been determined ahead of time. It was like betting on a two-headed quarter.

"That''s okay," the man replied. "I don''t mind. I just like to play."

"It was odd," Delgado told me later. "There''s no reason he should have wanted to continue playing once he knew it was rigged. I mean, where''s the fun in a rigged game? Your choices have no impact. But it took me five minutes to convince him he didn''t want to take the game home."

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A. A. Bailes
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A disappointing and not very useful book
Reviewed in the United States on July 30, 2018
This is a disappointing and not very useful book. First, Duhigg sets us up with his introduction about how super-productive people like Atul Gawande are and promises that he''ll deliver their secrets. The book is full of anecdotes and their relation to research. There''s... See more
This is a disappointing and not very useful book. First, Duhigg sets us up with his introduction about how super-productive people like Atul Gawande are and promises that he''ll deliver their secrets. The book is full of anecdotes and their relation to research. There''s little to no summarizing with the steps a person should take to be smarter, faster, and better. As a reference book, it''s useless because you have to wade through hundreds of pages of text to find any nuggets.

The clincher for me was when I got to the end and read his appendix. This was where he was supposed to tell us how he put the lessons of the book into practice as he wrote the book. It''s where he was supposed to tell us how we all can manage the load of commitments we have to be as productive as Gawande, a best-selling author, a well-known surgeon, a Harvard faculty member, an advisor to the World Health Organization...

But it never happened. Instead of finding out how Duhigg managed the responsibilities of work, family, and personal needs, we found out how he organized and managed to write the book. Nope. As far as I know, his family life fell apart and his co-workers hate him for shirking his duties.

In short, this book could have been much better in many ways. Don''t waste your money or your time.
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Robert Morris
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Mastering what separates “the merely busy from the genuinely productive”
Reviewed in the United States on April 20, 2016
Mastering what separates “the merely busy from the genuinely productive” In Smarter Faster Better, Charles Duhigg sets the table: Various advances in communications and technology are supposed to make our lives easier. “Instead, they often seem to fill o0ur days... See more
Mastering what separates “the merely busy from the genuinely productive”

In Smarter Faster Better, Charles Duhigg sets the table: Various advances in communications and technology are supposed to make our lives easier. “Instead, they often seem to fill o0ur days with more work and stress. In part, that’s because we’ve been paying attention to the wrong innovations. We’ve been staring at the tools of productivity — the gadgets and apps and complicated filing systems for keeping track of various to-do lists — rather than the lessons those technologies are trying to teach us…This book is about how to recognize the choices that fuel true productivity…This is a book about how to become smarter, faster, and better at everything you do.”

He focuses on — and devotes a separate chapter to — “a handful of key insights” shared by hundreds of poker players, airline pilots, military generals, executives, and cognitive scientists who kept mentioning the same concepts again and again and again. In this book, he explores “the eight ideas that seem most important to expanding productivity.” Here they are, accompanied by my own annotations:

1. Motivation: Make choices that place you in control of a situation. If empowered, you will speak and act more decisively and accelerate gaining the respect and trust of others.

2. Teams: Manage the [begin italics] how [end italics], not the [begin italics] who [end italics] of teams. Send messages that empower others. Keep in mind this passage from Lao-tse’s Tao Te Ching:

"Learn from the people
Plan with the people
Begin with what they have
Build on what they know
Of the best leaders
When the task is accomplished
The people will remark
We have done it ourselves."

3. Focus: Envision what will probably happen. What will happen first? Obstacles? How to avoid, pre-empt, or overcome them?

4. Goal Setting: Choose a stretch goal (a BHAG), then break that into sub-goals and develop SMART objectives.

5. Managing Others: Employees work smarter and better when they feel they have the power (see #1) to help make the right decisions about what to be done and how best to do it. They will be more motivated if convinced that others recognize and appreciated what they think, feel, and do.

6. Decision Making: Envision multiple futures as well as their potential implications and possible consequences. Obtain a variety of different (and differing) perspectives from those closest to the situation. Although this 360º process is helpful, you must be prepared to make the given decision.

7. Innovation: Combine new ideas in old ways and old ideas in new ways. Constantly challenge assumptions and premises. If they are sound, they will survive. Incremental innovation makes disruptive innovation even better.

8. Absorbing Data: When encountering new information, do something with it. Write it down. Read it aloud. Formulate Qs that it evokes. Put it to a small test. Ask others “Did you know that…?” Most new information is really unfamiliar information.

These are among the dozens of passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Duhigg’s coverage:

o Motivation (Pages 13-21 and 33-47)
o U.S. Marine Corps boot camp (22-31)
o Teamwork at Google (41-46, 50-51, and 65-68)
o Mental Models (88-93, 97-98, 101-102, and 277-279)
o Qantas Airways flight 32 and mental models (93-101 and 277-278)
o Prelude to Yom Kippur War (103-106 and 109-112)
o Stretch goals (125-128)
o Frank Janssen (134-139 and 161-165)
o Rick Madrid (139-144, 150-151, and 154-155)
o James Baron (145-150)
o Categories of culture (146-148)
o Productivity and control (153-155)
o Bayesian psychology (192-193)
o How Idea Brokers and Creative Desperation Saved Disney’s Frozen (205-215)
o West Side Story (210-212, 216-220, and 223-224)
o Information blindness (243-247)
o Debt collection (247-252)
o Stretch goals paired with SMART goals (274-279)

In addition to his lively as well as eloquent narrative, I commend Duhigg on his provision of the most informative annotated notes that I have as yet encountered. I urge everyone who reads this brief commentary to check them out (Pages 293-368). They enliven and enrich his narrative in ways and got an extent that must be experienced to be believed.

The best journalists as well as the best leaders are terrific storytellers and that is certainly true of Duhigg. He anchors his reader in hundreds of real-world situations to illustrate key points. Dozens of poker players, airline pilots, military generals, executives, and cognitive scientists that he interviewed learned valuable lessons with regard to the dos and don’ts of being productive in life and business, especially when under severe duress.

I highly recommend Smarter Faster Better as well as Charles Duhigg’s previously published book, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, also published by Random House.
189 people found this helpful
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Michael Gallagher
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Liked the Outside Examples
Reviewed in the United States on September 18, 2017
I’ve read a lot of management / self-improvement books over my career, and this one (to me) was much better as it was filled with third-party examples that didn’t involve the author as the main character: it’s more refreshing to hear about others than the author beating on... See more
I’ve read a lot of management / self-improvement books over my career, and this one (to me) was much better as it was filled with third-party examples that didn’t involve the author as the main character: it’s more refreshing to hear about others than the author beating on his or her chest in order to tell you how great they are. The author does a good job of explaining the chapters in a conversational tone, with real-world life examples having equal footing with outside research. In many of the examples in the book, I could recall people, places, and specific times in my career that were spot-on. Nice read and well worth the time.
20 people found this helpful
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Dr. Kaman C. Hung
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Eight Methods to Becoming Super Productive!
Reviewed in the United States on September 12, 2018
I am really impressed with Duhigg''s book. I thought his Power of Habit was fantastic when I first read it but I''m convinced that this is his masterpiece. It was a quick read. If you''re interested in understanding why some peoplehave it all, and others just can''t seem to get... See more
I am really impressed with Duhigg''s book. I thought his Power of Habit was fantastic when I first read it but I''m convinced that this is his masterpiece. It was a quick read. If you''re interested in understanding why some peoplehave it all, and others just can''t seem to get their acts together, then this book is a must read. I particularly liked his chapter on SMART Goals and setting lofty goals. Oftentimes we either select goals that are one or the other, but not both. Duhigg states you need to have both types. Your SMART goals need to be shorter term goals that can be attained regularly. It''s not a matter of putting something on your to-do list then checking it off. It''s a matter of challenging yourself to do things that are difficult but possible. The other category of goals are your reach goals0--go ahead... dream a little. He uses the example of the Japanese Bullet trains and how back when they were first created the Japanese elite wanted trains that could go 60 mph and turn a six-hour trip into a three-hour trip. Well, lo-and-behold, they now have trains that go above 120 mph and they have seemingly made travel much more convenient turning that three-hour trip into a 1.5 hour trip. How did this happen? Set really lofty goals. I found him echoing similar words of Jim Collins'' "Good to Great" and the B.H.A.Gs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals).

I''m not going to say more because I do think it''s important that everyone get their hands on this book. What Duhigg has put together is another way of bettering the human race by giving us eight simple rules to squeeze the most out of our days.
9 people found this helpful
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Rob Galbraith
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Inspiring read to get you into high gear
Reviewed in the United States on February 25, 2020
I enjoyed Duhigg''s previous book The Power Of Habit and figures I would enjoy this.one as well. I read about half of it a couple of.years ago, but for some reason could not get into it. I picked it back up and re-read from the beginning in January 2020 and devoured it.... See more
I enjoyed Duhigg''s previous book The Power Of Habit and figures I would enjoy this.one as well. I read about half of it a couple of.years ago, but for some reason could not get into it. I picked it back up and re-read from the beginning in January 2020 and devoured it. It is accessible with a myriad of anecdotes to lure you in, with a broader theme uncovered through the narrative to help you become more productive. Duhigg has done your homework for you: not only has he scanned a vast amount of research and academic literature to pull out the most relevant nuggets for you, but in the book''s most compelling chapter he specifically shows you how his incorporated the principles he learned into his own daily life. Highly recommended for anyone looking to jump-start their life!
2 people found this helpful
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C. Johnson
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
great but short
Reviewed in the United States on April 20, 2018
Fascinating book! I especially loved the parts about how air crashes happen and can be avoided. It doesn''t have as much advice in it as I was hoping (there''s a small section at the end about implementing the ideas) but it was still a great read. Mr. Duhigg has a way of... See more
Fascinating book! I especially loved the parts about how air crashes happen and can be avoided. It doesn''t have as much advice in it as I was hoping (there''s a small section at the end about implementing the ideas) but it was still a great read. Mr. Duhigg has a way of making anything interesting. For example, I dislike poker and gambling in general (I''d rather spend my money on shoes... and books), but I found it fascinating to read about Texas hold ''em and how it relates to math.

The only disappointment was how short it was - the last third of the book is the appendix.
5 people found this helpful
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albatross2017
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Solid read
Reviewed in the United States on October 24, 2020
I really liked how the writer frames each chapter around one specific example or story. Often times in these types of books you have people who are trying to cram as many studies, surveys, datapoints that the reader just gets lost. But each chapter is a different story that... See more
I really liked how the writer frames each chapter around one specific example or story. Often times in these types of books you have people who are trying to cram as many studies, surveys, datapoints that the reader just gets lost. But each chapter is a different story that helps support what the author is trying to say. Great book
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charles h evans
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A surprisingly worthwhile book with actual usable advice.
Reviewed in the United States on June 18, 2016
Most books today that supposedly intend to use modern data analysis and case studies teach to something end up eating your time and obscuring anything of real value. I think this is because if they simply wrote what they found out it''d be a pamphlet and they''d have a hard... See more
Most books today that supposedly intend to use modern data analysis and case studies teach to something end up eating your time and obscuring anything of real value. I think this is because if they simply wrote what they found out it''d be a pamphlet and they''d have a hard time selling it for 30 bucks. This book still does alot of that, and still pretends that they need to tell some kind of story to engage the audience, but the value of the content once you filter out the boring "keep the reader engaged" stuff is pretty remarkable. I recommend the book and taking notes to eliminate the fluff.
8 people found this helpful
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Top reviews from other countries

CheeseFan
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Fascinating case studies but a muddled theme
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 2, 2017
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...See more
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.
21 people found this helpful
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Amazon customer
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Great Narratives
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 28, 2018
Great stories used to illustrate the pertinent points. Tying the lessons to stories actually builds upon one of the lessons in the book: retention is increased by greater engagement. People engage more with stories. Great work.
3 people found this helpful
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Orchid Master
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Seriously superb book!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 25, 2018
This is one of those books that everyone should read, like Black Box Thinking and Don''t Shoot the Dog. Easy and enjoyably addictive, I read this very fast and came away having taken quite a few notes.
One person found this helpful
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James Gough
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Excellent, eye opening
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 6, 2018
What a fabulous, eye opening book. If you are in business and haven''t read this book then you really need to.
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C D Moore
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Excellent real world examples that demonstrate the advice
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 6, 2016
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...See more
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.
10 people found this helpful
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