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My book review this week is on Daniel Pink’s new bookWhen: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing. The premise of Pink’s book is that our bodies natural performance rhythm can have a profound impact on outcomes. For most people, there is a natural slump in the afternoon.

The book is not just about the time of day. Pink looks at beginnings, endings, and middles too. Some takeaways from this highly researched book include:

  • For most people, critical work, particularly math-oriented work, and resulting decisions should be done in the morning. (p. 19)
  • And for those people, creative work, such as writing and art, are better done in the afternoon. (p. 25)
  • Naps of about 15 – 20 minutes – and preceded by caffeine are highly effective at helping people achieve the better outcomes that the morning provides. (p. 67-68)  Call them a nappuccino.
  • Project teams should consider a “premortem.” Hold a meeting. Fast forward the discussion to the project closure. Assume it was a dismal failure, and ask why. (p. 107)
  • Take advantage of times that offer you the opportunity of a fresh start. He lists out 86 days in the year that he calls temporal landmarks. (p. 109)
  • The messy middle can offer either a “slump” or a “jump” OR an “Uh Oh” or “Oh No” moment. To optimize your results, consider the level of team commitment to the goal. When is is high, focus on the remaining work. When it is low, focus on your achievements. Create small wins. (p. 128 – 140)
  • “Endings of all kinds — of experiences, projects, semesters, negotiations, stages of life — shape our behavior in four predictable ways. They help us energize. They help us encode. They help us edit. And they help us elevate.” (p. 146)


Date: 2/7/2018