When: Perspectives Beyond Library World

If you are a library school student, what is one substance you never have enough of? Time.  Whether you work full-time, part-time, or not at all while you pursue your MLIS, you will have a myriad of responsibilities and demands.  No book, tip, or idea will magically give you extra time, but the suggestions in Daniel Pink’s When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing can help you make the most of the precious hours you have.

When is divided into three overarching sections: The Day; Beginnings, Endings, and In-Between; Synching and Thinking. These sections and the chapters within help a time-crunched reader hop around to the most relevant concern.  Struggle with getting a project started? Head to Chapter 3 on “Beginnings.” Want some tips for dealing with that dreaded group project? Read Chapter 6 entitled “Synching Fast and Slow: The Secrets of Group Timing” ASAP. No matter the question, there is likely a chapter with an answer for you (even a “Further Reading” section!).  

Accompanying each fact- and anecdote-filled chapter is almost a book-within-a-book with additional chapters that author Pink calls a “Time Hacker’s Handbook.”  This Handbook offers useful tips and tricks to supplement the research set forth in the main chapters. These practical suggestions give the reader ways to experiment with these interesting ideas.  For example, in the accompaniment to Chapter 5 on “Endings,” Pink suggests concrete ideas for how to have a better end to your workday, school year or semester, vacation, and a purchase.

When is a book to read and relish and then to return to in different seasons of life.  Because of the variety of suggestions it offers, you’ll pick up a new idea on any re-read. Pink’s real-world examples apply directly to anyone’s everyday life in many different scenarios. When isn’t a one-size-fits-all prescription for a perfectly scheduled day.  Instead, it shows the reader the research on timing and draws conclusions that can be put in to practice.

Pink has mastered the art of a click-bait-esque title within his Time Hacker’s Handbook (THH) as a way of making the task seem a little more exciting. For example, you’ll find:

  • Four Tips for a Better Morning (THH Chapter 1)
  • How To Take a Perfect Nap (THH Chapter 2)
  • Four Tips for Making a Fast Start in a New Job (THH Chapter 3)
  • Five Ways to Combat a Midlife Slump (THH Chapter 4)
  • When To Quit a Job: A Guide (THH Chapter 5)
  • Four Techniques for Promoting Belonging In Your Group (THH Chapter 6)

Give When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing a try (in your spare time). You’ll be glad you did.


Work Cited 

Pink, Daniel. 2018. When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing. New York: Riverhead Books.

Sarah Davis is a Bilingual Youth Librarian at a public library in Oklahoma and an MLIS student at the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa.

This post is part of an occasional series discussing how non-library-specific books and materials are relevant to library school students. To read others in this series, check out the tag Reviews.

Categories: Reviews, Uncategorized

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