When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing is Dan Pink’s latest book and it’s a winner. This isn’t surprising since I’ve loved the other Dan Pink books I’ve read (Drive, A Whole New Mind). When is all about the nature of timing. How important is timing in our lives?
Well, it’s really important as it turns out. Did you know that a 20-year study from an economist named Lisa Kahn found that white males who entered the job market in weak economies earned less at the beginning of their careers than those who started in strong economies? Duh, right?
But, here’s where her findings became very important (at least to the study participants). This early disadvantage didn’t fade. It had an effect on earnings for as long as 20 years!
This makes me think that my children, assuming they go to college and graduate, will be better off going back to school for a graduate degree versus enter the job market during a recession.
Here’s another important realization from the book related to testing in school. A researcher from Harvard named Francesca Gino partnered with two Danish researchers to look at four years of test results for two million Danish schoolchildren. They found that students scored higher on tests when taken in the morning versus the afternoon. Moreover, for every hour later in the day the tests were taken, scores fell further. That’s a big deal.
So, what can be done about this? Well, it was also determined that if students had a break in the afternoon to rest, have a snack, and play before a test, scores went up. Guess what schools are doing though? Stripping breaks away from students so they can “learn more”.
The book is fascinating and highly revealing. It will also tell you when to get operated on and when’s the best time to go to a parole hearing (hope you never have to use this tip).
By the way, if you have employees, note that most of them are at their lowest point during the day at 1:55. That wouldn’t be the best time to have a crucial conversation with them.
A lot of the material in the book is related to what is called chronotypes. Are you a morning person or a night person? Your chronotype determines that. I am a moderately morning person meaning that I like to get up early – but not super early – and do most of my best work in the morning hours. Want to know what type you are? Take the quiz currently suggested by Dan here.
Dan’s big point in the book is that we often on the “what” and neglect the “when”. However, when is just as important as what. Read When and discover for yourself just how important timing is in many aspects of our lives.