Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

Great read for anyone. Best insights:

on Motivation…

“Motivation is more like a skill, akin to reading or writing, that can be learned and honed.”

“To motivate ourselves, we must feel like we are in control.”

“I hand out a number of compliments, and all of them are designed to be unexpected.”

“We praise people for doing things that are hard. That’s how they learn to believe they can do them.”

on Optimizing Teams….

“‘Psychological safety’, how do you convince people to feel safe while also encouraging them to be willing to disagree?”

Individual intelligence didn’t correlate with team performance.

It was the norms, not the people that made teams so smart.

Two behaviors that all the good teams shared.

• First, all the members of the good teams spoke in roughly the same proportion, a phenomenon the researchers referred to as “equality in distribution of conversational turn-taking.”

“As long as everyone got a chance to talk, the team did well,

• Second, the good teams tested as having “high average social sensitivity”—a fancy way of saying that the groups were skilled at intuiting how members felt based on their tone of voice, how people held themselves, and the expressions on their faces.

“Leaders should not interrupt teammates during conversations, because that will establish an interrupting norm.”

on Productivity…

Making a decision and moving on to the next question feels productive.

A high need for closure has been shown to trigger close-mindedness, authoritarian impulses, and a preference for conflict over cooperation.

Even the plants’ senior executives, the consultants found, had fallen prey to an obsession with achievable but inconsequential goals, and were focused on unimportant short-term objectives rather than more ambitious plans.

“You get into this mindset where crossing things off your to-do list becomes more important than asking yourself if you’re doing the right things

If you’re being constantly told to focus on achievable results, you’re only going to think of achievable goals. You’re not going to dream big.

If you do know how to get there—it’s not a stretch target.

We spend hours answering unimportant emails instead of writing a big, thoughtful memo—because it feels so satisfying to clean out our in-box.

on Decision Making…

The paradox of learning how to make better decisions is that it requires developing a comfort with doubt.

Losers, Howard said, are always looking for certainty at the table. Winners are comfortable admitting to themselves what they don’t know. In fact, knowing what you don’t know is a huge advantage—something that can be used against other players.

on Creativity…

Creative papers had at least one thing in common: They were usually combinations of previously known ideas mixed together in new ways.

Within biology, this has become known as the intermediate disturbance hypothesis, which holds that “local species diversity is maximized when ecological disturbance is neither too rare nor too frequent.

Second, recognize that the panic and stress you feel as you try to create isn’t a sign that everything is falling apart. Rather, it’s the condition that helps make us flexible enough to seize something new.