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Smarter Faster Better

The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business
Written by: Charles Duhigg
Narrated by: Mike Chamberlain
Length: 10 hrs and 23 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (109 ratings)
Price: CDN$ 37.05
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Publisher's Summary

New York Times best seller

From the author of The Power of Habit comes a fascinating book that explores the science of productivity, and why managing how you think is more important than what you think - with an appendix of real-world lessons to apply to your life. At the core of Smarter Faster Better are eight key productivity 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 painstakingly researched book explains that the most productive people, companies, and organizations don’t merely act differently. They view the world, and their choices, in profoundly different ways.

A young woman drops out of a PhD program and starts playing poker. By training herself to envision contradictory futures, she learns to anticipate her opponents’ missteps - and becomes one of the most successful players in the world. A group of data scientists at Google embark on a four-year study of how the best teams function, and find that how a group interacts is more important than who is in the group - a principle, it turns out, that also helps explain why Saturday Night Live became a hit. A Marine Corps general, faced with low morale among recruits, reimagines boot camp - and discovers that instilling a “bias toward action” can turn even the most directionless teenagers into self-motivating achievers.

The filmmakers behind Disney’s Frozen are nearly out of time and on the brink of catastrophe - until they shake up their team in just the right way, spurring a creative breakthrough that leads to one of the highest-grossing movies of all time. What do these people have in common? They know that productivity relies on making certain choices.

The way we frame our daily decisions; the big ambitions we embrace and the easy goals we ignore; the cultures we establish as leaders to drive innovation; the way we interact with data: These are the things that separate the merely busy from the genuinely productive. 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, deep reporting, and rich storytelling to explain how we can improve at the things we do. It’s a groundbreaking exploration of the science of productivity, one that can help anyone learn to succeed with less stress and struggle, and to get more done without sacrificing what we care about most - to become smarter, faster, and better at everything we do.

©2015 Charles Duhigg (P)2015 Random House Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Loved every minute!

So much valuable information supported by various real life scenarios. Easily kept my attention from start to finish.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great book to beat procrastination!

Very good ideas about how to be better at everything by learning the way to create our habits. Good for managers and leaders

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

interesting and an easy listen

it was easy to want to keep listening. there were fun examples and key concepts that are applicable in life

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Smart book

I really appreciated how this book focused on how to make the decisions on what to be productive at, rather than just the skills to crank out more widgets. At the beginning, he makes the distinction that being 'productive' varies depending on your situation. A weekend morning is productive when you put your phone away, do a load of laundry, have breakfast with the kids, and enjoy a walk with the dog. A Tuesday morning is productive when you work out and get everyone out the door as quickly as possible. These distinctions are important.
He also does a good job of illustrating his points with his own examples in the last chapter of the book.
I docked a point for performance, because Mike Chamberlain does an annoying thing when impersonating women's voices to go up an octave. He only did it once in this book, but in Duhigg's habit book he did it often, creating a 'nails on chalkboard' effect when I hear his voice. If you haven't listened to the habit book, or didn't feel that, you probably won't mind the performance.
An #Audible1 Review

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great book with a great ending

this book was great to listen to and kept me thinking. my only complaint is that halfway through the book kind of goes to this place that didn't really flow that well or make that much sense. but all in all great book.

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changed my mind!!!

i absolutely loved it! i know see problems and challenges in a different way... i highly recommend this book

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  • g
  • 2018-06-24

Great book enjoyed it a lot. Amazing

Great book with amazing insights on productivity at work and in life. A must read for professionals.

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    5 out of 5 stars

Filled with example stories

Besides the real and tangible focus points for achieving productivity that Duhigg points out are the many interesting and some exciting stories included as testimonials of these concepts at work. Thoroughly enjoyed the book!

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  • A. Yoshida
  • 2016-04-29

Read the last chapter first

The book provided useful information on being productive. However, it's not structured well so that the reader can easily grasp the concepts. The chapters start with long narratives sometimes leading to a point, sometimes not. It may diverge into another narrative before finally making a point. It's best to read the last chapter to get a summary of the key concepts and then start at the beginning of the book. I was disappointed with one chapter about SMART goals. That concept has been around for decades, and there are plenty of books about goal setting.

205 of 217 people found this review helpful

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  • Gerry
  • 2016-03-17

Good but could be better

This book has a lot of useful insights and examples that can improve individual and team effectiveness in many situations. It's written in the typical style that journalists use, (the Malcolm Gladwell approach) and so it's engaging, interesting, at times even riveting. Where I think it falls short is in the application department. There is a short chapter at the end where the author briefly explains how he applied what he learned writing the book to how he actually works. Mostly, the listener is left to work out the application of the principles for themselves. This would have been a much more effective book if the author had paused at the end of each chapter and taken the time to suggest how the principle covered in the chapter could be applied to individuals and teams with practical examples instead of story examples.

I think it's worth a read and full of useful material, but I feel that the author failed to complete the last lap.

171 of 182 people found this review helpful

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  • Joel
  • 2016-08-05

Long and drawn out

I really wanted to enjoy this book as the premise was initially very interesting: How to be Smarter, Faster, Better. With this genre of book, however, it's really important to cite interesting stories and examples, then provide actionable insights into how to apply the information we've just been given. This didn't end up happening until the appendix, which was the most interesting part of this book. With the exception of one or two eyebrow raising moments, most of the book dragged on. I found myself rolling my eyes after listening to what seemed like the same paragraph rephrased over and over. I know the author was trying to go for a Malcolm Gladwell type of book but it just wasn't as well written nor was the content that interesting.

The performance of the narrator was very clear, but felt that he wasn't being absorbed by the content either, resulting in dis-engaged, robotic storytelling.

40 of 42 people found this review helpful

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  • ANDRÉ
  • 2016-04-04

Worth every penny

I liked Charles Duhigg's first book, so I read this second one with enthusiasm. What called my attention is that the book is very practical and useful.
What worked for him, to write this book, works for virtually everyone.
Here are his key concepts to become more productive and work smarter, faster and better:
First: prove to yourself you are in control (when answering to e-mails, write short sentences then fill in).
Second- ask Why you are doing this (marines)- affirmations of our deeper values and goals.
Third- two kinds of aims: stretch goals (to spark big ambitions) and a smart goal - to form a concrete plan- write to do lists with overarching ambitions and subgoals (plans) and timeline- did you do in a week what you planned? If not, change plans
Fourth- maintain focus- what to expect to see (envision once a week or every day)- mental model of what to ignore or go after (a story inside his head)
Fith: decision making, when confronted with the unexpected- envision multiple futures beforehand- wiser decisions

Definitely a great book, worthy of listening to.

130 of 145 people found this review helpful

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  • Kenn T
  • 2016-09-06

No Takeaway

Lengthy stories with no clear sense of direction and no memorable takeaway. I don't feel like I have any clear sense of how to be ' better, faster, smarter.' Why did I listen all the way to the end?

34 of 38 people found this review helpful

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  • Currier
  • 2016-08-28

Just a bunch of anecdotes, very little help

Any additional comments?

This book is just a string of anecdotes about people who are smarter, faster, better, but does very little to try to extract what makes them so and help you apply it in your life. It says "x people do x thing," as summary, then moves on to another really long and boring anecdote about jet pilots or CEOS or trainers of cross-eyed dolphins (made that last one up). I'm still as dumb, slow, and mediocre as I was before I listened to this one, sadly.

47 of 53 people found this review helpful

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  • rob herold
  • 2016-03-20

The appendix pulls the 8 themes together

Enjoyed the format of dramatic stories to explain the individual themes. The appendix pulls the eight themes together into an actionable strategy.

62 of 71 people found this review helpful

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  • Bearded Barista
  • 2016-05-08

minimal secrets

the book had a few inspiring moments but for the most part it was a bit fluffy. Some of the examples just drowned on and on and were not furthering the point as much as just adding extra content to the book.
Not sure if I will read Habit now if it is anything like this.
I am pretty harsh on books like this because I have listened to and read a bunch of them. the struggle is original content. while this book had a little it just wasn't enough to really impressed me.

sorry
Justin

24 of 27 people found this review helpful

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  • Matt Stefanik, The Lifestyle Architect™
  • 2016-03-13

A disappointing follow-up to "Habits"

Was really hoping for a continuation to his book on habits but this just did not deliver for me. The stories were entertaining but at times all over the place making it difficult to actually ascertain the point. Did not take as much away from this book as I expected, hence the disappointment.

71 of 84 people found this review helpful

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  • ThatGuy
  • 2016-04-13

Duhigg's Sophomore Debut is hit! +1 Chamberlain

Wow. Simply wow. This is a book that gripped me from the first chapter all the way to the very end. Duhigg is masterful storyteller, on top of that, he is a skillful and in-depth researcher. My favorite aspect about Duhigg's books is the fact that he uses so many different scientific studies. More than some academic scholars use in their publications. He makes sure to get the whole story. Just when you think he's run of examples... Boom another one. Don't get me wrong. This is not just a book laden with stories. However, Charles has way of giving you lesson by giving you the story. Then backing up the story with scientific research, and then providing very concrete and practical steps to apply the principles in your life. This book, even more than his last book, has made me a better person. I'm going to to buy at least 2-3 physical copies. For myself to highlight and read again. And at least two to give and invest into someone's life. This book will show how to do, how to think, and think about how do, and how to do what you think. Yea.... All of that! Chamberlain's rendition of narration is another smashing hit with Duhigg. I thoroughly enjoyed this audio book.

18 of 21 people found this review helpful

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  • Utilisateur anonyme
  • 2018-09-24

Thanks

Really enjoyed this book, a great follow up to his book about habits. I enjoyed the stories very much and how they tie in nicely with the lessons the book is trying to teach.

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  • Manatee's blues
  • 2018-05-30

un chemin vers la performance

passionnant récit illustrant les outils de la prise de contrôle de sa vie
au delà des smart goals de la créativité et de la pensée positive
le processus exploratoire traverse les écueils pour tirer partie des difficultés et des erreurs et autres biais cognitifs tragiques.
à écouter absolument