4.5 stars 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!