When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing

When by Daniel Pink

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 shows that timing is really a science.

Drawing on a rich trove of research from psychology, biology, and economics, Pink reveals how best to live, work, and succeed. How can we use the hidden patterns of the day to build the ideal schedule? Why do certain breaks dramatically improve student test scores? How can we turn a stumbling beginning into a fresh start? Why should we avoid going to the hospital in the afternoon? Why is singing in time with other people as good for you as exercise? And what is the ideal time to quit a job, switch careers, or get married?

Author: Daniel Pink | Publisher: Riverhead Books

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Rating: 4/5

“Afternoons are the Bermuda Triangles of our days. Across many domains, the trough represents a danger zone for productivity, ethics, and health.” 

Anyone who reads a fair amount of nonfiction will tell you: Too many nonfiction books say pretty much nothing new. Refreshingly, When is not one of those books. I read it as part of my subscription to the Next Big Idea Club. It taught me new things about myself and about the world and gave me real-life takeaways that I can implement. I only wish that it had been longer!

My favorite section was the one on chronotypes — aka whether you’re an early bird, a night owl, or something in between. Pink makes the case for figuring out exactly how your body prefers to work naturally and catering to it. I’m most certainly an early bird (I’m writing this at 6:30am), and I’ve already started to make changes for productivity, like blocking off the mornings of my work calendar and moving recurring meetings to the afternoon so that I can take advantage of my most productive time.

The “nappuccino” is also really interesting. Pink advocates for drinking a cup of coffee and then taking a science-approved 25-minute afternoon nap. Apparently it takes about 25-30 minutes for coffee to hit your system, so by the time you wake up, you’ll be double refreshed. What a cool idea.

This book isn’t very long, but it’s definitely worth your time.

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