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When summary

Daniel H. Pink

The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing

4.5 (282 ratings)
18 mins

Brief summary

When by Daniel H. Pink is a thought-provoking book about timing, revealing how careful and strategic timing can improve decision-making, productivity and inspire creativity.

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    There is an emotional pattern to our daily lives.

    People love their daily routines. Day in and day out, we brush our teeth, have a shower, get a cup of coffee, take the dog for a walk, check the mailbox, read the news and so forth. But did you know that, in parallel to these habits, there’s another, subtler pattern to our daily lives?

    Researchers at Cornell University looked at Twitter to try and get a sense of the prevailing moods of people during a typical day. By examining 500 million tweets from over a two-year period, they saw a very clear pattern emerge:

    There’s a general feeling of positivity that peaks during the morning, drops swiftly in the afternoon and then climbs back up in the evening. This cycle happens every weekday, to pretty much everyone, regardless of race or nationality.

    Of course, Twitter isn’t the best gauge for emotional accuracy since it isn’t exactly known for its honesty. And the software the researchers used to scan for words with certain emotional significance can’t pick up on when those words are being used sarcastically; nevertheless, this same pattern has been noticed in other studies, too:

    Behavioral scientists, using what’s known as the day reconstruction method (DRM) to go hour by hour through people’s lives, found the same pattern: positivity or happiness levels peak in the morning, plummet in the afternoon and then rebound, or climb back up, and peak again in the evening.

    This daily pattern is known as the morning peak, afternoon trough and evening rebound. Likewise, negativity levels show the exact opposite: they’re on the rise in the afternoon and fall in the evening.

    What’s interesting is that this pattern has a very direct impact on the work we do. In a separate study that revealed very similar findings, three professors at American business schools analyzed over 26,000 earnings calls – conference calls between a company’s CEO and the primary investors, where they discuss how things have been going and how they expect things to go in the future. These calls often determine whether stock prices rise or fall.

    The study showed that the later in the day the calls took place, the worse the “emotional tenor” was, and, as the day went on, the more negative the calls would get. Across over 2,000 public companies, the advice was the same: conduct your earnings calls bright and early in the morning to keep them upbeat and positive.

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    What is When about?

    When (2018) combs through around 700 scientific studies to get a better understanding of how big a role timing plays in our lives. Daniel H. Pink sifts through data from the fields of economics, anthropology, social psychology and others, giving the reader a thorough look at why we make the decisions we do, and why we make them when we do.

    When Review

    When by Daniel H. Pink (2018) is a fascinating exploration of the science behind timing and how it affects our lives. Here's why we think it's a great book to read:

    • Packed with practical strategies and insights, it allows readers to optimize their performance and decision making by understanding the impact of timing.
    • Backed by extensive research and real-life examples, the book provides valuable knowledge that can be applied to various aspects of life, from work to relationships.
    • With its intriguing revelations about the influence of timing, the book promises to make readers view time in a completely new, thought-provoking light.

    Best quote from When

    You can take the chronotype questionnaire at danpink.com/MCTQ

    —Daniel H. Pink
    example alt text

    Who should read When?

    • Readers who want to improve their efficiency
    • Managers looking for tips on effective leadership
    • Recent college graduates

    About the Author

    Daniel H. Pink is the best-selling author of multiple books that have topped the New York Times book charts. A graduate of Yale Law School, he also has experience in politics, having worked as a speechwriter for Al Gore during his vice presidency. His previous books include Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us and To Sell is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others.

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    When FAQs 

    What is the main message of When?

    The main message of When is that timing is crucial in all aspects of our lives.

    How long does it take to read When?

    The reading time for When varies, but the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is When a good book? Is it worth reading?

    When is worth reading as it provides valuable insights into how we can optimize our timing for better decision-making and overall success.

    Who is the author of When?

    The author of When is Daniel H. Pink.

    What to read after When?

    If you're wondering what to read next after When, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • To Sell Is Human by Daniel H. Pink
    • Drive by Daniel Pink
    • The Power of Regret by Daniel Pink
    • The Sell by Fredrik Eklund
    • Stop Reading the News by Rolf Dobelli
    • Wait by Frank Partnoy
    • Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman
    • Dare to Lead by Brené Brown
    • Surrounded by Idiots by Thomas Erikson
    • Essentialism by Greg McKeown