When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing

When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing

Everyone knows that timing is everything. But we don't know much about timing itself. Our lives are a never-ending stream of "when" decisions: when to start a business, schedule a class, get serious about a person. Yet we make those decisions based on intuition and guesswork.Timing, it's often assumed, is an art. In When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, Pink show...

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Title:When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing
Author:Daniel H. Pink
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Edition Language:English

When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing Reviews

  • Christopher Lawson

    In WHEN: THE SCIENTIFIC SECRETS OF PERFECT TIMING, author Daniel Pink shares scientific, surprising findings that have serious consequences. Did you know, for instance, that the timing of your surgery is important? Studies show that far more mistakes are made later in the day, so be sure to get a morning appointment! Similarly, if you are in court, the disposition of the judge is a lot more lenient in the morning.

    To work the most efficiently, it's important to figure out your own cycle of effect

    In WHEN: THE SCIENTIFIC SECRETS OF PERFECT TIMING, author Daniel Pink shares scientific, surprising findings that have serious consequences. Did you know, for instance, that the timing of your surgery is important? Studies show that far more mistakes are made later in the day, so be sure to get a morning appointment! Similarly, if you are in court, the disposition of the judge is a lot more lenient in the morning.

    To work the most efficiently, it's important to figure out your own cycle of effectiveness--what the author calls "Waves of the Day." Each day, our disposition traverses three stages--a peak, a trough, and a recovery. So try to tailor your activities to match the best time for that type of task. For instance, most people do analytical tasks better in the morning, and more insightful tasks in the evening. The worst time to tackle serious problems is in the afternoon--that's the "trough" time. That period is your least effective time and "good for very little." Use that time to do trivial things like checking e-mail.

    The author provides a simple way to figure out if you are a "Lark" (early bird) or "Owl" (late riser). The cycles are different for each chronotype. Also, not all places are equally good for both types. For example, school schedules, with classes beginning early, are setup to favor the "larks," or early-risers. This is unfortunate, since many teens are at their best much later in the day.

    Here's something really scary: A study of parole judges showed a significant difference in their rulings, based on the time of day. If your hearing was scheduled in the afternoon, you had almost zero chance of winning a parole. However, if the judges took an afternoon break, their disposition drastically changed, and parole was far more likely.

    The author emphasizes the importance of "restorative breaks." These are especially important in countering the low time of the trough. Just a ten-minute break, such as a nature walk, can have an enormous impact. For school kids, taking a break is especially important. One Danish study showed that if students took a 20 minute break before a test, their scores were substantially higher.

    Restorative breaks should ideally be outside, with nature, and away from work. It's best to be moving, and with others: "Consider a short walk outside with a friend during which you discuss something other than work."

    When you start a task has a lasting effect on our attitude and our success. The author cites statistics showing the career path of graduates based on when they first started their career: "Beginnings stay with us far longer than we know; their effects linger to the end."

    So, starting anew, or a "fresh start" helps us recover from a false start. There are many ways and times to do the reset. In the section, "Eighty-Six Days in the Year when you can Make a Fresh Start" the author provides suggestions for starting anew. You can re-start on the first of the month, for example, or on an anniversary.

    I found the "Science of Endings" particularly intriguing. Research shows that we tend to remember events based on how they end. So, we can decide to change the ending to make it more positive and memorable: "If we're conscious of the power of closing moments and our ability to shape them, we can craft more memorable and meaningful endings in many realms of life. . .

    For example, if you are on vacation, plan a great close: "You'll enjoy the vacation more, both in the moment and in retrospect, if you consciously create an elevating final experience."

    The same priniciple applies at work--end your workday on a positive note. One easy trick is to take a few minutes to jot down your accomplishments for the day. This step of "recording what you've achieved can encode the entire day more positively." Ending the day with a moment of gratitude is another easy trick, and is a "powerful restorative." (Note: The author includes a surprising item of generiosity in the book itself. I hope you find it!)

    So all in all, I found WHEN to be a fascinating, fun read. The author is a witty writer, who brings a lot of humor to the subject. His experience as a speech-writer is evident in the quality of the writing. I enjoyed reading about the various studies that illustrated peak times and low times. The statistics showing the correlation of medical mistakes to the time of day was especially alarming. Perhaps the most alarming research was the study showing how parole board judges were stricter later in the day. If I ever have to appear before a parole board, I'm definitely asking the judges to first take a restorative break.

  • Daniel

    I am a fan of Pink. In this book he talks about timing.

    1. Most people do well in analytical tasks and have better mood in the morning, worse in the afternoon, and slightly better in the evening. That is, except the night owls.

    2. Breaks are powerful and improve performance. A power nap of 20 minutes is good; it is even better if one drinks coffee just before the nap so that when one wakes up the coffee perks one up.

    3. Beginnings are important. Students who start later for school do better. Gra

    I am a fan of Pink. In this book he talks about timing.

    1. Most people do well in analytical tasks and have better mood in the morning, worse in the afternoon, and slightly better in the evening. That is, except the night owls.

    2. Breaks are powerful and improve performance. A power nap of 20 minutes is good; it is even better if one drinks coffee just before the nap so that when one wakes up the coffee perks one up.

    3. Beginnings are important. Students who start later for school do better. Graduates who start in a lousy economy earn less throughout their lives. So some sort of debt forgiveness should be given to them.

    4. Midpoint can be bad or good. People’s happiness dip during midlife. In competitions, the team that is 1 score behind win more.

    5. Endings will always be remembered.

    6. Working in synchrony with others makes us happy.

    7. People who speak languages with poor tenses ( Chinese, German, Finnish) prepare for retirement more, practice safer sex etc.

    There are other tidbits of timing: divorce peaks in March and August, 2 months after the holidays. Marry between 25 and 32 is best. Switch jobs every 3-5 years.

    Interesting and to the point, I learn much from this book.

  • L.A. Starks

    Pink has written a gem of a how-to book that cites and summarizes a huge amount of research on how to get things accomplished more efficiently, despite basic biological/organizational challenges like afternoon lulls and beginning-of-project chaos.

    Readers will close the book with several ideas about how to make better, happier use of each day's hours. Don't miss the last section on the joys of synchronicity, from crew to choral singing to the tradition in India of lunch delivery.

    Highly recommend

    Pink has written a gem of a how-to book that cites and summarizes a huge amount of research on how to get things accomplished more efficiently, despite basic biological/organizational challenges like afternoon lulls and beginning-of-project chaos.

    Readers will close the book with several ideas about how to make better, happier use of each day's hours. Don't miss the last section on the joys of synchronicity, from crew to choral singing to the tradition in India of lunch delivery.

    Highly recommended.

  • Marianne

    4.5★s

    When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing is the fourth book by bestselling American author, Daniel H. Pink. If we’re making an important life decision, what we decide obviously requires careful consideration. But what about when we decide? Could the time of day that we make a decision be significant? Could the time of day affect how well we learn or do our work? Does it really matter when we have that first cup of coffee? According to Dan Pink, it definitely does.

    In this intriguing bo

    4.5★s

    When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing is the fourth book by bestselling American author, Daniel H. Pink. If we’re making an important life decision, what we decide obviously requires careful consideration. But what about when we decide? Could the time of day that we make a decision be significant? Could the time of day affect how well we learn or do our work? Does it really matter when we have that first cup of coffee? According to Dan Pink, it definitely does.

    In this intriguing book, Pink examines the importance of good and bad timing. He begins by explaining how our individual chronotype (easily established) determines both our mood and our ability to perform at any given time of the day: how it affects our professional and our ethical judgements, as well as our physical function.

    But he doesn’t just pontificate on the best time to do something for future success and happiness. He acknowledges that not everyone can control their work environment or the financial climate as they enter the job market. Pink also gives practical suggestions for dealing with less than ideal conditions, as well as hints and tips to improve everyday life.

    Pink supports his points with data and simple, clear graphs. The depth of his research is apparent in every paragraph, and supported by his extremely comprehensive (26-page) notes section detailing references for each chapter. As well as six suggestions for further reading, Pink includes an 8-page index. But the most useful thing about this book is his Time Hacker’s Handbook: salient points from each section are condensed into summaries full of hints and tips and practical exercises that appear after each of the first six chapters.

    Pink explains in detail: why having a coffee before a power nap makes sense; why combining a lunch break with an education session at 1pm (as some teaching hospitals do with their Grand Rounds) is counterproductive (ditto 8am lectures for University students); when the worst time to be a hospital patient is, and why; and the reason some people have the so-called “mid-life crisis”.

    He looks at the effects of starting one’s career during a depressed jobs-market; why a mid-point (in a project, in a career, in a life) can cause a slump or a spark; how to overcome a bad start; when to quit your job; when to get married; when to exercise; the importance of breaks; and much, much more. Illustrating his points are choirs and rowing teams and basketballers and dubbawalas delivering tiffin tins and Hanukkah candles and the captain of the Lusitania.

    Pink’s fourth book should be compulsory reading for bosses, educators, and schedulers, for policymakers, company executives, and performers, but there is plenty in this fascinating book that the average person will find applicable to their lives. This is a quick read that rewards time spent with some excellent insights. Recommended!

  • Brandice

    I really liked

    by Daniel Pink. The book was interesting. I was into it from the get-go but the last chapter was probably my favorite - thinking in terms of tenses.

    The book discusses the factor of time, in many facets of life: The impact of one decision and the timing in which you arrived at that decision. It discusses (among other things) the hidden pattern of every day life, beginnings, midpoints, and ends, synching and belonging, and thinking in

    I really liked

    by Daniel Pink. The book was interesting. I was into it from the get-go but the last chapter was probably my favorite - thinking in terms of tenses.

    The book discusses the factor of time, in many facets of life: The impact of one decision and the timing in which you arrived at that decision. It discusses (among other things) the hidden pattern of every day life, beginnings, midpoints, and ends, synching and belonging, and thinking in tenses. There are also interesting studies to support the points made - for example, it’s better to have surgery in the morning than the afternoon (studies show significantly less mistakes are made in the morning). There’s something to be learned for everyone here.

    Daniel Pink is, and has been, for many years, my favorite non-fiction author. He does a great job describing social studies and uncovering results and tips that can help people be better - at work and in life. His books are comprehendible but more importantly, really interesting - at least they always have been to me. He’s speaking at a local event about

    that I look forward to attending soon!

  • 7jane

    (since my paperback version is not here, I use the hardcover one.)

    music: Robert Palmer - "Housework" (like the little twist to the story in this song)

    This book is a good one to have when trying to improve one's life, at work and at home. When-decision times come in so many ways: changing jobs, starting a project, running a marathon, when to exercise... it's importantly to do things not in a haphazard way, especially with important decisions.

    This book is good when you want to build an ideal sched

    (since my paperback version is not here, I use the hardcover one.)

    music: Robert Palmer - "Housework" (like the little twist to the story in this song)

    This book is a good one to have when trying to improve one's life, at work and at home. When-decision times come in so many ways: changing jobs, starting a project, running a marathon, when to exercise... it's importantly to do things not in a haphazard way, especially with important decisions.

    This book is good when you want to build an ideal schedule, have a fresh start, or see time as a friend, not an enemy. Each chapter has a "time hacker handbook" in the end, where you can learn the best bits of the chapter, and use them in your life. You might want to keep a bookmark in this Place to be able to see what things are mentioned in the text and which are just in the main text. At the end are some suggestions for further reading (just books).

    Plenty of studies are included (examples: Twitter's emotion moods during the day, hospital handwashing, student gym attendace, state of well-being in zoo apes, age of first-time marathon runners, and an interesting study of the dabbawalas of Mumbai, how they work every day).

    How the text is broken down: Pt.1: the day + breaks in it; Pt.2: beginnings + middles + ends; Pt.3: coordinatings with others + time in language and use.

    Some things that appear in the text that are interesting to me:

    - biological clock; lark, owl, & third bird-persons

    - importance of appointment time

    - the ”nappucino” (coffee and a nap)

    - recessions impact on the luck at getting work after graduation

    - ”midlife crisis” (term since 1965)

    - 9-enders (ages of 29, 39, 49…): challenges or destruction (of self, cheating etc.) starting then

    This was a good read to me. I found it very helpful – inspiring me, surprising me, making me think. Self-improvement really benefits from good timing, and this book really help you with it. There is certain plenty of ideas for everyone, wherever they are in life. I recommend this :)

  • da AL

    The author does an entertaining job of writing and reading. He does an admirable job of making one contemplate the importance of considering timing -- one's inner rhythms and those of others. Too bad it often rings of glossy pop psychology, though -- an amalgamation of sometimes iffy statistics via sweeping conclusions...

  • Peter

    I feel I have to stress that the title of this book is very misleading. This book doesn't convey any actual secrets and it also doesn't teach you much about perfecting your timing in any of the various scenarios that it covers. What it does teach you, is that there are certain trends and rhythms in many aspects of one's life, from your daily energy and focus levels to more general feelings and commonalities people experiences during a lifetime. There are also the few obligatory case studies focu

    I feel I have to stress that the title of this book is very misleading. This book doesn't convey any actual secrets and it also doesn't teach you much about perfecting your timing in any of the various scenarios that it covers. What it does teach you, is that there are certain trends and rhythms in many aspects of one's life, from your daily energy and focus levels to more general feelings and commonalities people experiences during a lifetime. There are also the few obligatory case studies focusing on business aspects and other fields such as education which means that pretty much anyone can find something relatable in this book.

    Pandering to the masses aside, it's actually a difficult book to actively dislike. Sure, there's very little here that's particularly new or mind-blowing, but the style in which it's written in is very engaging and very easy to follow. Having interesting, scientific case studies set up an idea and then following them up with concise discussions and lessons on the topic just works really well. The topics are also usually very applicable to one's own life, so you're constantly engaging with every topic and thinking of how it applies to you. I think it's fair to say that the author has got the formula for writing this type of non-fiction worked out pretty well.

    There were a few elements I didn't like though. The "practical advice" at the end of each chapter was either very obvious or very 'self-helpy'. What I mean by the latter is that the advice wasn't as practical as it sounded since it required implementing ideas that require a lot of mental effort and aren't very sustainable, much like the advice I've read in many self-help books that very few people can actually follow through on. Another smaller element I disliked was the cherry-picking of data and then using it as the basis for far-reaching theories. This is a common practice in books like this and while I suspect for many cases, the theories actually hold up, making broad generalizations sound like facts is unscientific and annoying.

    As the stars say, I liked this book. I'd even recommend it to most people simply for the exposure to some of the case studies and ideas brought up. It's a weird book though in that it's both engaging and a bit boring at the same time. The latter is probably due to some unnecessary repetition and foreknowledge of some of the ideas. The issues I had with it were mostly relatively minor though, so don't let my "average" rating put you off too much. The only warning I'd give to anyone thinking of reading this book is that you shouldn't go into it expecting to learn how to improve your timing, instead, expect to be made aware of timing related theories that are usually quite insightful.

  • Mehrsa

    It's my fault for reading this pathetic excuse for a book. It's not Pink's fault for writing a book that says nothing new at all or the publisher's fault for promoting a book that has absolutely no value whatsoever. I knew what it was when I picked it up. And yet, I am a sucker for self-help books that just regurgitate a bunch of soft science I already read in the New York Times. It's my fault. Don't make the same mistake.

    Maybe I made this terrible decision in the afternoon?

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