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Difficult Discussions

Colin Campbell
by Colin Campbell on 11/05/18 18:00


I finished listening to The Crow Road and felt a little bit lost afterwards because it’s one of the best books I’ve ever read (and listened to) and a book I have returned to many times.

So, I then returned to the audible page on my computer to see what book I can get next with the credits that I have available.

It was only then that I realised that Daniel Pink had a new book out called ‘When’.

Daniel Pink is one of the four authors who have had the most influence on me in relation to none fiction.

Malcom Gladwell, Matthew Syed, Simon Sinek and Daniel Pink.

I didn’t know that Daniel Pink had a new book, but as soon as I did I would be buying it; I started it yesterday morning.

The other Daniel Pink books that I have read provoked a thousand blog posts and this one is already no different 30 minutes in.

One of the great beauties is that he reads it himself (always a bonus for these) and the other is that he always gives you things which you can think about and reflect upon to help to try and improve.

This book is about timing and the timing of decisions and actions. At the time of writing this blog I have only just started the book but there are already some really fascinating and revelatory points associated with the early content.

The most important aspect of the first part of the book is the question about when we should make decisions, difficult meetings or when we should use our brains for the most important functions on a day to day basis.

Pink references research from many sources which suggest there is a pattern of performance regardless of geography, culture or creed.

It seems that as a species we’re at our best in the mornings and then we dip in our ability to make decisions and apply logic around lunch time only rebounding again towards the end of the day. This seems to match or mimic other aspects of our lives (how much we hate the commute, or how stopping for lunch allows us to rebound).

Some of the most startling research relates to Chief Executives of huge multinational companies and how they report to their investors and shareholders on a quarterly basis.

Looking at 2,100 companies it became obvious that if you had your shareholder/investor meeting first thing in the morning it had a much more beneficial effect on the share price and the value of the company than it would if you had it in the afternoon (this is taking into account adjustments for all other factors).

I referenced this material back against the concepts related by Carl Newport in the book Deep Work where he would suggest that 3 hours of work between 7am and 10am is probably worth 8 hours at any other time of the day.

It might seem relevant to you or unreasonable to suggest that you can schedule difficult things at times in your day but it isn’t.

Maybe you can’t do it all the time but maybe you can see difficult patients in your work, have difficult meetings with your boss or do some really important things earlier in the day; done as often as it is feasible could make a massive difference.


Blog post number: 1639

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Colin Campbell
Written by Colin Campbell
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