My wife and I recently celebrated our 10-year anniversary. We dropped our kids off at her parents' house and set off for a week-long trip to the beautiful island of Kauai. It was an amazing, much-needed vacation. I shut off all notifications on my phone and kept it in airplane mode most of the time.
One of the things I love about taking trips is the perspective they provide. If you're like me, it's easy to think that whatever work problem you're trying to solve has the tendency to become the biggest, most important issue in the world. This myopia can be limiting. I've found that taking time away from the day-to-day puts things in perspective and helps me realize how many of the challenges I worry about don't actually matter all that much.
When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Dan Pink
I believe this is the fourth book I've read from Dan Pink, which goes to show how highly I think of his work. There are a lot of "how-to" books out there, but as the title suggests, this is a "when-to" book.
Pink explores the science of timing and answers many questions including:
- How can we use the hidden patterns of the day to build the ideal schedule?
- Why do certain breaks dramatically improve student test scores?
- 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?
- What is the ideal time to quit a job, switch careers, or get married?
Regarding the last question, Pink found that people who change jobs frequently early in career end up making more money than those who don't. Why? As it turns out, the likelihood that you're going to start your career in a job that you're good at AND enjoy is relatively low. Changing jobs early in career gives you more chances to find the right match. He also shared that one of the main reasons starting your career during a recession can be so damaging is that it limits your ability to change jobs and you end up staying somewhere that's not a good fit.
I still think that Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us is my favorite of Pink's, but this one is a close second. What I love about his books is that they're just the right length. Many business books drag on, hitting the same points over and over. This book moves fast and perfectly balances research and storytelling.
Here's a 6-minute interview where Pink discusses the book's principles.
Around the Web
Our Obsession With Working Hard Is Ruining Our Productivity
It's become too common to say, "work smarter, not harder," but I thought this was a really insightful article explaining the downside of simply "working hard" without constantly asking yourself what will really move the needle. With that said it's my observation that the most successful people I know work both smart AND hard.
The Secret to Getting a New Job
Great read from Kevin Delaney, LinkedIn's Head of Learning and Development. I had the privilege of working very closely with Kevin and his commitment to continual learning was inspiring.
You’ll Never Really Feel Like You’ve ‘Made It’ (And Why That’s A Good Thing)
Ryan Holiday always delivers and the title of this piece speaks for itself.
Thanks to the many of you who provided feedback on the newsletter last month. For now, the only change I'll make is to write one book review rather than several. If you've read anything worth sharing, please let me know. And do let me know if there's anything I can do to help you.
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