Review: ‘When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing’ by Daniel H. Pink

In this book, Daniel H. Pink refers to a rich source of cutting-edge research in the fields of psychology, biology and economics.
Updated 02 April 2018
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Review: ‘When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing’ by Daniel H. Pink

BEIRUT: In our fast-paced world, timing is everything. Every day of our lives, we are swamped with an endless flow of decisions we need to take: When is the best time to exercise? When is it the right time to quit a job? When should we deliver bad news? These are just a few examples of the choices we need to make on a daily basis.
In his latest book, “When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing,” Daniel H. Pink refers to a rich source of cutting-edge research in the fields of psychology, biology and economics to prove that timing is a science.
In the book, he refers to a key study led by two Cornell University sociologists who examined 500 million tweets made by 2.4 million users in 84 countries over a two-year period in order to measure people’s emotions over time. They found an astonishing consistent pattern across people’s working hours. The tweeters’ optimistic and engaging attitude generally increased in the morning, dropped in the afternoon and rose again in the early evening.
“Across continents and time zones, as predictable as the ocean tides, was the same daily oscillation, a peak, a trough and a rebound,” writes Pink. In other words, our mental faculties do not remain the same over the course of a day. We are more productive and creative in some parts of the day than others. One British survey referenced in the book showed that a typical worker reaches his most unproductive moment of the day at 2.55 p.m. Similarly, Danish schoolchildren who take their exams in the afternoon have lower marks than those who are tested in the morning.
We all follow a hidden pattern, but once we figure out when we reach a peak or feel low, we can build a schedule better suited to our capabilities. Naps, going for a walk and breaks — especially lunch breaks — are not a waste of time. Incidentally, the best time to have a cup of coffee, according to the author, is not first thing in the morning, but an hour or 90 minutes after you wake up. By then, your cortisol production has risen and the caffeine works wonders.
This fascinating book made the New York Times Bestseller list and even hit the number one spot on the Wall Street Journal Business Bestseller list.
The Wall Street Journal opined that it “brims with a surprising amount of insight and practical advice,” so if you are struggling to manage your time, it is the perfect read.
Pink has authored various books on work, management and behavioral science and is the former host of National Geographic Channel’s TV series, Crowd Control.


What We Are Reading Today: Varoufakis on how Marx predicted our present crisis

Updated 23 April 2018
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What We Are Reading Today: Varoufakis on how Marx predicted our present crisis

‘Marx predicted our present crisis and points the way out,’  writes Yanis Varoufakis in The Guardian’s Long Read Series.

Most people think communism has been consigned to the dustbin of history, but Yanis Varoufakis, former Greek finance minister, goes back to the source and examines “The Communist Manifesto,” written by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, and published in 1848.

Varoufakis said the book remains unsurpassed as a work of literature that foresaw the predatory global capitalism of the 21st century.

“Today, a similar dilemma faces young people: conform to an established order that is crumbling and incapable of reproducing itself, or oppose it, at considerable personal cost, in search of new ways of working, playing and living together?” Varoufakis wrote. “Even though communist parties have disappeared almost entirely from the political scene, the spirit of communism driving the manifesto is proving hard to silence.”

Marx and Engels forecast that a powerful minority would prove “unfit to rule” over polarized societies.

“The manifesto gives its 21st-century reader an opportunity to see through this mess and to recognize what needs to be done so that the majority can escape from discontent into new social arrangements,” Varoufakis said.