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: Reading Machiavelli

Updated 19 September 2018
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What We Are Reading Today: Reading Machiavelli

Author: John P. McCormick

To what extent was Machiavelli a “Machiavellian”? Was he an amoral adviser of tyranny or a stalwart partisan of liberty? A neutral technician of power politics or a devout Italian patriot? A reviver of pagan virtue or initiator of modern nihilism? Reading Machiavelli answers these questions through original interpretations of Niccolò Machiavelli’s three major political works— The Prince, Discourses, and Florentine Histories— and demonstrates that a radically democratic populism seeded the Florentine’s scandalous writings. John McCormick challenges the misguided understandings of Machiavelli set forth by prominent thinkers, including Jean-Jacques Rousseau and representatives of the Straussian and Cambridge schools.
McCormick emphasizes the fundamental, often unacknowledged elements of a vibrant Machiavellian politics: The utility of vigorous class conflict between elites and common citizens for virtuous democratic republics, the necessity of political and economic equality for genuine civic liberty, and the indispensability of religious tropes for the exercise of effective popular judgment.
Interrogating the established reception of Machiavelli’s work by such readers as Rousseau, Leo Strauss, Quentin Skinner, and J.G.A. Pocock, McCormick exposes what was effectively an elite conspiracy to suppress the Florentine’s contentious, egalitarian politics. In recovering the too-long-concealed quality of Machiavelli’s populism, this book acts as a Machiavellian critique of Machiavelli scholarship.
Advancing fresh renderings of works by Machiavelli while demonstrating how they have been misread previously, Reading Machiavelli presents a new outlook for how politics should be conceptualized and practiced.