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When--The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing
Cover of When--The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing
When--The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing
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The instant New York Times Bestseller
#1 Wall Street Journal Business Bestseller
Instant Washington Post Bestseller
"Brims with a surprising amount of insight and practical advice." —The Wall Street Journal
Daniel H. Pink, the #1 bestselling author of Drive and To Sell Is Human, unlocks the scientific secrets to good timing to help you flourish at work, at school, and at home.

Everyone knows that timing is everything. But we don't know much about timing itself. Our lives are a never-ending stream of "when" decisions: when to start a business, schedule a class, get serious about a person. Yet we make those decisions based on intuition and guesswork.
Timing, it's often assumed, is an art. In When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, Pink shows that timing is really a science.
Drawing on a rich trove of research from psychology, biology, and economics, Pink reveals how best to live, work, and succeed. How can we use the hidden patterns of the day to build the ideal schedule? Why do certain breaks dramatically improve student test scores? How can we turn a stumbling beginning into a fresh start? 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? And what is the ideal time to quit a job, switch careers, or get married?
In When, Pink distills cutting-edge research and data on timing and synthesizes them into a fascinating, readable narrative packed with irresistible stories and practical takeaways that give readers compelling insights into how we can live richer, more engaged lives.
The instant New York Times Bestseller
#1 Wall Street Journal Business Bestseller
Instant Washington Post Bestseller
"Brims with a surprising amount of insight and practical advice." —The Wall Street Journal
Daniel H. Pink, the #1 bestselling author of Drive and To Sell Is Human, unlocks the scientific secrets to good timing to help you flourish at work, at school, and at home.

Everyone knows that timing is everything. But we don't know much about timing itself. Our lives are a never-ending stream of "when" decisions: when to start a business, schedule a class, get serious about a person. Yet we make those decisions based on intuition and guesswork.
Timing, it's often assumed, is an art. In When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, Pink shows that timing is really a science.
Drawing on a rich trove of research from psychology, biology, and economics, Pink reveals how best to live, work, and succeed. How can we use the hidden patterns of the day to build the ideal schedule? Why do certain breaks dramatically improve student test scores? How can we turn a stumbling beginning into a fresh start? 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? And what is the ideal time to quit a job, switch careers, or get married?
In When, Pink distills cutting-edge research and data on timing and synthesizes them into a fascinating, readable narrative packed with irresistible stories and practical takeaways that give readers compelling insights into how we can live richer, more engaged lives.
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  • From the book

    1.

    The Hidden Pattern of Everyday Life

    What men daily do, not knowing what they do!

    —William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing

    If you want to measure the world's emotional state, to find a mood ring large enough to encircle the globe, you could do worse than Twitter. Nearly one billion human beings have accounts, and they post roughly 6,000 tweets every second. The sheer volume of these minimessages—what people say and how they say it—has produced an ocean of data that social scientists can swim through to understand human behavior.

    A few years ago, two Cornell University sociologists, Michael Macy and Scott Golder, studied more than 500 million tweets that 2.4 million users in eighty-four countries posted over a two-year ­period. They hoped to use this trove to measure people's emotions—in particular, how "positive affect" (emotions such as enthusiasm, confidence, and alertness) and "negative affect" (emotions such as anger, lethargy, and guilt) varied over time. The researchers didn't read those half a billion tweets one by one, of course. Instead, they fed the posts into a powerful and widely used computerized text-­analysis program called LIWC (Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count) that evaluated each word for the emotion it conveyed.

    What Macy and Golder found, and published in the eminent journal Science, was a remarkably consistent pattern across people's waking hours. Positive affect—language revealing that tweeters felt active, engaged, and hopeful—generally rose in the morning, plummeted in the afternoon, and climbed back up again in the early evening. Whether a tweeter was North American or Asian, Muslim or atheist, black or white or brown, didn't matter. "The temporal affective pattern is similarly shaped across disparate cultures and geographic locations," they write. Nor did it matter whether people were tweeting on a Monday or a Thursday. Each weekday was basically the same. Weekend results differed slightly. Positive affect was generally a bit higher on Saturdays and Sundays—and the morning peak began about two hours later than on weekdays—but the overall shape stayed the same. Whether measured in a large, diverse country like the United States or a smaller, more homogenous country like the United Arab Emirates, the daily pattern remained weirdly similar.

    Across continents and time zones, as predictable as the ocean tides, was the same daily oscillation—a peak, a trough, and a rebound. Beneath the surface of our everyday life is a hidden pattern: crucial, unexpected, and revealing.

    Understanding this pattern—where it comes from and what it means—begins with a potted plant, a Mimosa pudica, to be exact, that perched on the windowsill of an office in eighteenth-century France. Both the office and the plant belonged to Jean-Jacques ­d'Ortous de Mairan, a prominent astronomer of his time. Early one summer evening in 1729, de Mairan sat at his desk doing what both eighteenth-century French astronomers and twenty-first-century American writers do when they have serious work to complete: He was staring out the window. As twilight approached, de Mairan ­noticed that the leaves of the plant sitting on his windowsill had closed up. Earlier in the day, when sunlight streamed through the window, the leaves were spread open. This pattern—leaves unfurled during the sunny morning and furled as darkness loomed—spurred questions. How did the plant sense its surroundings? And what would happen if that pattern of light and dark was disrupted?

    So in what would become an act of...

Reviews-
  • Library Journal

    September 1, 2017

    The No. 1 New York Times best-selling Pink (To Sell Is Human) returns to tell us how to improve our timing, e.g., when is the best time to change jobs or careers? Pink draws on research in psychology, biology, and economics to provide the answers. Booming in-house excitement.

    Copyright 2017 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    October 9, 2017
    Pink (To Sell Is Human) should change many people’s understanding of timing with this book, which provides insights from little-known scientific studies in an accessible way. He quickly piques readers’ interest by introducing seemingly inexplicable patterns: why are prisoners eligible for parole more likely to get a favorable ruling from a judicial panel earlier in the day? Why are adolescents who start school before 8 a.m. at an academic disadvantage? Why are there more complications from anesthesia in the afternoon? The explanations come from research about “the effect of the time of day” on people’s thoughts and emotions, which began over a century ago, and which is being refined further now that social media platforms provide a wealth of data that can be analyzed from a chronological perspective. An analysis of millions of tweets from around the world, for instance, revealed a pattern that crossed continents and ethnic groups: “Tweeters felt active, engaged, and hopeful” in the morning and early evening. This is just one of the many findings with practical implications that Pink lays out in the “Time Hacker’s Handbook,” short sections that follow each chapter. By the book’s end, readers will be thinking much more carefully about how they divide up their days and organize their routines.

  • Kirkus

    November 1, 2017
    If you want a raise, ask the boss in the morning--but never at 2:55 in the afternoon. The reason? Ask pop-science writer Pink (To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others, 2012, etc.), who examines what happens when in daily life.It's a truism that timing is of the utmost importance. Mining veins familiar to readers of Malcolm Gladwell and Dan Ariely, Pink delves into circadian rhythms, bimodal patterns, data clusters, and all the other stuff of popular business writing to explore, for instance, what a person's optimal time of day is for such things as collegiality, productivity, happiness, and the like. The answer is that mornings are when good things happen, while afternoons are times of flagging energy, surliness, and negativity. Perhaps surprisingly, afternoon is also the time when ethical lapses are likeliest to occur, with some variation depending on one's "chronotype." Moving on, the author analyzes problems, addresses some of the latest research surrounding them, and then offers a few simple strategies for self-improvement, some a touch soft (join a yoga class), some more pointed--for instance, if you want to be perceived as an effective manager, answer colleagues' email promptly, since "e-mail response time is the single best predictor of whether employees are satisfied with their boss." Timing, similarly, can be a simple matter or a highly elaborate one, as with the food delivery workers who fan out across Mumbai each day, guided by the careful communication of information that "allows the walas to anticipate one another's actions and move in harmony." Pink also notes points at which our culture is inefficient in its accommodation of people who move to different rhythms: night owls tend to greater intelligence and creativity than early risers, but they're forced to be "like left-handers in a right-handed world."Solid science backed by sensible action points--good airplane reading for business travelers.

    COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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