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Smarter Better Faster Book Review

By: Jasmine Scott, Doug Warner & Amanda Murray

Do you struggle with procrastination? Is it hard for you to set and achieve your goals? Have a hard time defining your personal process?  Charles Duhigg’s Smarter Better Faster is a must-read for anyone looking to improve their process within their personal, and/or professional life.    

Through a patchwork of POV vignettes, Duhigg gives you an intimate look into case studies to demonstrate the book’s core concepts.

Most leadership books share these case studies from 1,000 feet above, but Duhigg drops you right into it.  You’re pulled to the edge of your seat wanting to see how each situation plays out.  From poker hands to wars, to emergency airplane landings.  We only wish we could have stayed in these stories longer, as Duhigg often quickly shifts gears into the next story before you’re ready to be done with the one you’re living in.  

Duhigg masterfully connects the dots with the book’s Appendix.  Typically an afterthought, he uses the appendix to show how he uses the book’s concepts in his life, specifically on how they helped him write this book.  It’s explained so precisely and clearly that these concepts demonstrated at a larger scale with real stakes become actual ways of improving your personal process and productivity.

Our team’s top takeaways:

Jaz: I found this book to be very informative. The chapter I found the most helpful was on Teams, and how employers holding space for their employees to be seen and heard leaves a positive impact on their overall well-being and work performance. I believe that holding space for psychological safety is an imperative process for any team that strives for success.

Doug: For me, the chapter on decision-making and probabilistic thinking really hit home.  It sucks to be wrong about something which can make it easy to shy away from making tough calls.  The best leaders, however, become masters at making decisions by simply considering the probabilities and updating them often by gathering new information and reassessing.  Doing so allows them to stand by their decisions with confidence which, by extension, gives those who work with their confidence as well.  This is all told through the lens of a professional poker player, Annie Duke. It’s a fun story that puts the concept in a fun and easy-to-digest context. 

Amanda: I especially enjoyed the Innovation chapter.  I appreciated the point that creative breakthroughs can keep you from seeing alternatives because you get stuck on that great idea and don’t want to think about alternatives. It’s important to take a step back and always be open to criticism, new ideas, and challenging opinionseven if you don’t think you need them.

Check out what others are saying about this book on Amazon

We wish there were more: Mental Models and Probabilistic Thinking.  These concepts really excite us and get our wheels spinning and we were the most disappointed when the chapters ended.

Overall Grade:  A+.  We could not more highly recommend this read, regardless of your level of experience or interest in leadership books.  If you’ve read a thousand, this is reaffirming and refreshing.  If you’re a novice, this is a great introduction to many of the concepts you see repeated in most leadership and personal development books.

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February 14, 2022

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