Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Review: Smarter Faster Better by Charles Duhigg

Recently I read about Charles Duhigg’s latest book Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of BeingProductive In Life And Business on another blog, and it prompted me to pick up a copy and give it a read. A few years ago, I read Duhigg’s first book The Power of Habit, and I found his writing, his examples, and his prescribed tools for developing and curtailing habits to be highly insightful. As I picked up this latest book, I had high expectations, and I was not disappointed.

The book is comprised of eight chapters and each has examples of a technique properly applied along with what a lack of a given technique can produce (sort of a negative reinforcement of why the techniques are good). At the end of the book, Duhigg also included an appendix which is an abbreviated outline and a “How To” for applying the skills listed in the book. 

The appendix is particularly enlightening because the author discloses that simply knowing the techniques does not necessarily mean they will be applied. His case in point was that although he knew the techniques, he had a hard time applying them to the deadline of writing the book. That statement reminds me of a favorite saying of mine from C. S. Lewis. Lewis states that much of the time we do not need to learn something new as much as we need to be reminded of what we already know. Most of the time when I read books like Duhigg’s I find myself noddingly saying “Of course!” or “That makes sense,” and then slowly moving toward adoption of skills.

Each chapter had great examples and skills that I want to apply to my life, and I have been slowly inserting different skills into my routines. One example of this is a technique for absorbing information. Think for a moment about how large the volume of information is we digest daily. How do we retain it? How do we keep it from flowing “in one ear and out the other?” One of the best ways to turn a large volume of information into something we can do something with is to spend time processing it. For example writing this review right now is helping me process the contents of the book. Telling someone about something we have read or learned is another way to get it to stick. As tedious as it might seem when presented with a large amount of information, slowly chewing through it can help us make it more real and applicable.

In addition to the chapter foci, the book also provides traps of mis-applying (or not applying) each technique. I don’t want to give away every part of the book, but I do want to recommend it wholeheartedly. Have you ever struggled with any of the following? (Motivation, Focus, Goal Setting, Decision Making) If so, then this book has some great tools that, if properly applied can help you be Faster, Stronger,Better. Give it a read, and if you do, I look forward to seeing the transformation taking place as you begin to apply Charles Duhigg’s tips.