When I complain about accidentally buying books that are ostensibly behavioral economics books that turn out to be business books, Charles Duhigg is what I’m usually hoping for. Not everything has to be an academic marvel, and like many of his ilk, Duhigg owes a large debt to Malcolm Gladwell for getting people interested in this type of book in the first place, but he always puts out a readable, organized, and interesting read.
That said, this book was slightly less cohesive than The Power of Habit, but that’s a minor quibble. It probably would have escaped my notice too, but the content also feels very similar, beyond just being two books by the same author. The Power of Habit shows how to be successful by ingrained repetition of good habits; Smarter, Better, Faster shows how to be successful by… focusing your energy on the correct things and not being distracted by red herrings. Ok. Not the EXACT same strategy, not worlds apart either.
That being said, this book scratched an itch I’d been having for (for lack of a better explanation) this kind of book, easily digested science. The examples used are captivating and the data makes them more than just anecdotes. (And the endnotes had an answer for something I’ve idly wondered – why I have so much information about plane crashes – turns out they’re so well documented and flying is so rife with protocols and procedures that they’re perfect case studies of how something goes wrong, especially because those protocols usually change once something does to prevent its recurrence). So not life changing, but sometimes you want a grilled cheese sandwich instead of prime rib, you know?