Smarter Faster Better Summary: Unlocking Productivity Secrets

Smarter Faster Better Summary
  • Book Name: Smarter Faster Better
  • Author Name: Charles Duhigg
  • Publisher: Random House
  • Published Date: March 8, 2016
  • ISBN: 978-0812983593
  • Format: Paperback, Hardcover, eBook, Audiobook
  • Pages: 400
  • Language: English
  • Genre: Non-fiction, Psychology, Productivity
  • Subjects: Productivity, Motivation, Goal Setting, Decision Making, Innovation

Book Summary: Smarter Faster Better by Charles Duhigg

“Discover the science-backed strategies for achieving peak performance and unlocking your true potential in ‘Smarter Faster Better’ by Charles Duhigg. This captivating book offers a blueprint for maximizing productivity, motivation, and creativity in both personal and professional pursuits.”

“Smarter Faster Better” delves into the science of productivity and success, exploring how individuals and organizations can become more effective and efficient. Charles Duhigg presents eight key concepts that lead to enhanced performance, including motivation, goal-setting, focus, innovation, and team dynamics.

The central concept revolves around the principles of becoming smarter, faster, and better by understanding and applying specific habits and practices. Charles Duhigg demonstrates how the smallest changes in thinking and behavior can lead to significant improvements in personal and professional endeavors.

The book explores themes of productivity, goal-setting, decision-making, innovation, and the power of habit. Duhigg shares compelling stories and scientific insights, illustrating how the human mind can be harnessed to achieve remarkable results and make better choices.

Charles Duhigg’s writing style is engaging, informative, and thought-provoking. He combines fascinating anecdotes, rigorous research, and practical applications to provide readers with actionable strategies for improving performance and achieving excellence.

Elevate your performance and tap into your full potential with “Smarter Faster Better” by Charles Duhigg. This book will empower you to cultivate the habits and mindset of high achievers, enabling you to work smarter, accomplish more, and embrace a more fulfilling and successful life.

Plot Summary of “Smarter Faster Better” by Charles Duhigg

Chronological Overview of Major Events:

  • Introduction:
    • “Smarter Faster Better” introduces the concept of productivity and performance improvement through the lens of eight key productivity concepts.
    • Charles Duhigg explains the importance of being intentional and strategic in decision-making to achieve success.
  • Motivation and Setting Goals:
    • Duhigg explores the science of motivation and goal-setting.
    • He highlights the significance of setting stretch goals and connecting them to meaningful purposes to increase motivation and performance.
  • Teams and Psychological Safety:
    • The book delves into the dynamics of effective teams and how psychological safety, trust, and communication contribute to improved team performance.
    • Duhigg presents real-life examples of successful team dynamics.
  • Focus and Managing Attention:
    • Duhigg discusses the importance of managing attention and cognitive resources effectively to maintain focus and productivity.
    • He introduces strategies to enhance concentration and avoid distractions.
  • Goal Setting and Stretching:
    • The book explores the science of goal setting and how the concept of “stretching” goals can lead to improved performance and innovation.
    • Duhigg provides examples of individuals and organizations that have achieved breakthroughs through ambitious goal-setting.
  • Innovation and Creativity:
    • Duhigg delves into the process of fostering innovation and creativity.
    • He presents strategies for generating creative ideas and insights, both individually and within teams.
  • Decision-Making and Probabilistic Thinking:
    • The book discusses decision-making processes and the benefits of adopting probabilistic thinking.
    • Duhigg explores how using probabilities can lead to more informed and effective decision-making.
  • Absorbing Data and Making Data-Driven Decisions:
    • Duhigg addresses the challenges of dealing with vast amounts of data in the digital age.
    • He provides insights into how individuals and organizations can absorb and analyze data to make data-driven decisions.
  • Continuous Improvement and Learning:
    • The book concludes by emphasizing the importance of continuous improvement and lifelong learning.
    • Duhigg encourages readers to apply the concepts learned in the book to lead more productive and fulfilling lives.

Key Plot Points:

  • Major Conflict: The major conflict centers around the challenge of improving productivity and performance in various aspects of life and work.
  • Turning Points:
    • The introduction of the eight key productivity concepts marks turning points, providing readers with a structured framework for personal and professional development.
    • The presentation of real-life examples and case studies of individuals and organizations applying these concepts represents turning points that inspire readers to adopt the strategies.
  • Climax: The climax occurs when readers successfully integrate the eight productivity concepts into their lives, resulting in improved performance, innovation, and fulfillment.

Subplots/Secondary Storylines:

  • The book explores various real-life examples and anecdotes that illustrate the impact of the productivity concepts, adding secondary storylines that provide practical insights into applying the principles in different situations.
  • The emphasis on teamwork, creativity, and data-driven decision-making introduces subplots that underscore the significance of collaboration, innovation, and analytical thinking in achieving success.
  • The discussion of continuous improvement and lifelong learning adds a secondary storyline that emphasizes the importance of cultivating a growth mindset and seeking constant personal and professional development.

Themes and Messages

The main themes explored in the book “Smarter Faster Better” by Charles Duhigg are:

  • Productivity and Efficiency: The book delves into the theme of productivity and explores strategies and techniques to become more efficient in various aspects of life and work.
  • Goal Setting and Motivation: “Smarter Faster Better” emphasizes the importance of setting meaningful goals and understanding the psychology of motivation to achieve success.
  • Decision Making and Innovation: The book explores decision-making processes and how individuals and organizations can foster creativity and innovation.
  • Focus and Flow: Duhigg discusses the concept of focus and flow, where individuals can achieve a state of optimal performance and deep concentration in their activities.

The underlying messages and lessons the author intends to convey in “Smarter Faster Better” include:

  • The Power of Habits: Charles Duhigg draws attention to the role of habits in shaping behaviors and productivity. He offers insights into how habits can be harnessed to improve personal and professional effectiveness.
  • Cognitive Tools for Success: The book introduces various cognitive tools and techniques that can be applied to enhance decision-making, creativity, and focus.
  • Purpose and Meaning: Duhigg conveys the significance of finding purpose and meaning in tasks and goals to increase motivation and satisfaction.
  • Continuous Improvement: “Smarter Faster Better” emphasizes the value of continuous improvement and learning as key factors for success and achievement.

How these themes and messages resonate with readers:

The themes and messages explored in “Smarter Faster Better” resonate with readers seeking practical strategies to improve their productivity and decision-making skills. Many individuals can relate to the desire for more efficient ways to achieve their goals and enhance their performance. The book’s focus on habits, motivation, and cognitive tools resonates with those looking to optimize their personal and professional development.

Relating the themes to real-world applications or contemporary issues:

The themes in “Smarter Faster Better” have practical applications in various real-world scenarios. In the professional realm, the book’s focus on productivity, decision-making, and innovation aligns with contemporary challenges faced by individuals in their careers and businesses.

In the context of personal development, the book’s emphasis on goal setting, motivation, and continuous improvement is relevant to individuals seeking to enhance their overall effectiveness and fulfillment in life.

Comparing and contrasting with other works or similar themes in literature:

“Smarter Faster Better” shares themes with other works on productivity, decision-making, and personal development, such as “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg (the same author) and “Atomic Habits” by James Clear. While these books explore similar concepts, each offers its unique insights and strategies for optimizing performance and achieving success.

“Smarter Faster Better” stands out by providing a comprehensive exploration of productivity, decision-making, and motivation from a cognitive science perspective. Charles Duhigg’s book offers a well-researched and practical approach to becoming more effective in various aspects of life, making it a valuable resource for readers seeking to improve their personal and professional performance.

Style and Writing Techniques: “Smarter Faster Better” by Charles Duhigg

Writing Style and Tone:

Charles Duhigg’s writing style in “Smarter Faster Better” is investigative, engaging, and informative. He presents his ideas on productivity and success with a blend of storytelling and research-based insights. Duhigg’s tone is inquisitive and analytical, as he delves into the science of motivation, decision-making, and innovation. His style is characterized by its ability to connect the reader with real-life examples and case studies, making the book relatable and applicable. Duhigg’s writing style is accessible to readers from all walks of life, and his conversational tone creates an atmosphere of curiosity and possibility.

Literary Devices and Techniques:

In “Smarter Faster Better,” Charles Duhigg employs various literary techniques to illustrate his concepts and engage the reader. One of the prominent techniques is the use of narrative storytelling to bring the principles to life. Duhigg shares captivating stories of individuals and organizations that have applied the concepts he presents, making the book both informative and entertaining. These anecdotes serve as powerful examples of how productivity and success can be achieved through the application of specific strategies.

Additionally, Duhigg uses data and research to support his arguments and provide evidence for the effectiveness of certain practices. He incorporates studies and findings from various fields, such as psychology, neuroscience, and business, to bolster his claims and make the book well-rounded and evidence-based.

Enhancing the Reader’s Experience:

Charles Duhigg’s writing style enhances the reader’s experience by providing practical and evidence-based insights into productivity and success. The narrative storytelling makes the book engaging and relatable, allowing readers to connect with the material on a deeper level. Duhigg’s inquisitive tone encourages readers to question their own habits and practices, inspiring them to consider new approaches to achieving their goals.

The book’s structure, with clear sections and headings, enhances readability and facilitates navigation through the content. Duhigg’s writing style also fosters a sense of curiosity and exploration, motivating readers to explore the science and psychology behind their behaviors and actions.

Character Development through Writing Style:

As “Smarter Faster Better” is a non-fiction book, character development in the traditional sense is not applicable. However, Charles Duhigg’s writing style effectively portrays him as a knowledgeable and investigative guide. His inquisitive tone and use of real-life examples build trust with the reader, positioning him as a reliable source of information and insights. Duhigg’s writing style fosters a sense of partnership with the reader, as if he is personally invested in their pursuit of productivity and success.

Setting and Atmosphere:

The setting of “Smarter Faster Better” is the modern world of productivity, decision-making, and achievement. The atmosphere created by Duhigg’s writing style is one of possibility and growth. He instills a sense of optimism in readers, showing them that by understanding the science and psychology of productivity, they can improve their performance and achieve greater success. The writing style reflects the belief that small changes and intentional practices can lead to significant improvements in various areas of life.

In conclusion, “Smarter Faster Better” by Charles Duhigg showcases an investigative and engaging writing style that empowers readers to enhance their productivity and success. The tone is inquisitive and evidence-based, inspiring readers to question their habits and practices. Duhigg effectively uses narrative storytelling and research to illustrate his concepts and engage the reader. His writing style enhances the reader’s experience by providing practical insights and encouraging a deeper exploration of productivity and achievement. The book is set in the context of personal and professional growth, and Duhigg’s writing style fosters an atmosphere of curiosity and possibility for readers seeking to become smarter, faster, and better in their pursuits.

  • Title: “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business”
    • Author: Charles Duhigg
    • Gist: Charles Duhigg explores the science of habit formation and how habits influence our personal and professional lives. The book offers practical insights and strategies to break bad habits and build productive ones.
  • Title: “Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones”
    • Author: James Clear
    • Gist: James Clear delves into the science of habit formation and offers practical strategies to build positive habits and eliminate unproductive ones. The book emphasizes making small changes that lead to significant results.
  • Title: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change”
    • Author: Stephen R. Covey
    • Gist: Stephen Covey presents seven timeless habits that lead to personal and interpersonal effectiveness. The book emphasizes principles such as proactivity, prioritization, and synergy to achieve lasting success.
  • Title: Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World”
    • Author: Cal Newport
    • Gist: Cal Newport discusses the importance of deep work, which refers to focused, undistracted, and high-value work. The book provides strategies to minimize distractions and maximize concentration for increased productivity.
  • Title: The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play”
    • Author: Neil Fiore
    • Gist: Neil Fiore addresses procrastination and offers a strategic program to overcome it. The book helps readers develop a positive attitude toward work and find enjoyment in tasks while reducing procrastination.
  • Title: “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less”
    • Author: Greg McKeown
    • Gist: Greg McKeown presents the idea of essentialism, focusing on identifying and pursuing what truly matters in life. The book emphasizes the value of saying no to non-essential tasks and commitments to maximize productivity and fulfillment.
  • Title: “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success”
    • Author: Carol S. Dweck
    • Gist: Carol Dweck introduces the concept of a growth mindset, emphasizing the belief that abilities can be developed through effort and learning. This mindset shift can lead to greater resilience, motivation, and achievement.


What is “Smarter Faster Better” about?

“Smarter Faster Better” is a self-help book by Charles Duhigg that explores the science of productivity and achievement. The book delves into various principles and strategies that can make individuals more effective, efficient, and successful in their personal and professional lives.

Does “Smarter Faster Better” provide practical strategies for improving productivity?

Yes, “Smarter Faster Better” provides practical strategies for improving productivity. Charles Duhigg draws upon scientific research and real-life examples to offer actionable techniques that readers can implement to enhance their productivity and achieve their goals.

Can “Smarter Faster Better” be beneficial for professionals seeking career growth?

Yes, “Smarter Faster Better” can be highly beneficial for professionals seeking career growth. The book explores strategies that can lead to greater productivity, motivation, and success, which are essential qualities for career advancement.

Does “Smarter Faster Better” focus on personal development as well as professional success?

Yes, “Smarter Faster Better” focuses on both personal development and professional success. The principles discussed in the book can be applied to various aspects of life to improve productivity, decision-making, and overall effectiveness.

Does “Smarter Faster Better” delve into the psychology of productivity and achievement?

Yes, “Smarter Faster Better” delves into the psychology of productivity and achievement. Charles Duhigg examines the psychological factors that influence human behavior and decision-making, providing readers with a deeper understanding of their own habits and thought processes.

Can “Smarter Faster Better” be applied to improve teamwork and collaboration?

Yes, “Smarter Faster Better” can be applied to improve teamwork and collaboration. The book explores the dynamics of effective teams, including the importance of psychological safety and mutual support in fostering successful collaboration.


“Smarter Faster Better” by Charles Duhigg is an illuminating exploration of productivity and achievement. Duhigg delves into the science and psychology behind how we can become more efficient, make better decisions, and achieve our goals. The book introduces key concepts such as motivation, goal-setting, focus, and teamwork, providing practical insights to enhance productivity and personal growth.

In this book, Charles Duhigg adopts an engaging and informative writing style that seamlessly weaves together compelling real-life stories, scientific research, and practical advice. His tone is approachable and encouraging, making complex concepts accessible to readers of all backgrounds. Duhigg’s use of relatable examples and thought-provoking anecdotes leaves a lasting impact, inspiring readers to take proactive steps towards becoming smarter, faster, and better in their endeavors.

The author’s writing style enhances the book’s themes by offering concrete strategies and tools to improve productivity and make meaningful progress. Duhigg’s exploration of the power of habits and the role of motivation encourages readers to rethink their daily routines and adopt new practices that lead to increased effectiveness. “Smarter Faster Better” is not just a self-help book; it is a comprehensive guide that challenges readers to develop a growth mindset and embrace continuous improvement.

In conclusion, “Smarter Faster Better” is a transformative book that equips readers with valuable insights and actionable techniques to boost productivity and achieve success. Charles Duhigg’s engaging writing style and motivational tone make this book a must-read for anyone seeking to optimize their performance and lead a more purposeful and fulfilling life. Whether you are a professional, a student, or anyone striving for personal growth, this book will undoubtedly leave you with valuable takeaways to become a smarter, faster, and better version of yourself.

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