All posts by Ray Sidney-Smith

Switch - How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

Switch by Chip Heath and Dan Heath – Productivity Book Group

Productivity Book Group [ http://productivitybookgroup.org ] discussed Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard [ http://amzn.to/1P3mbA6 ] by Chip Heath and Dan Heath (authors of Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die and Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work). Enjoy the discussion!

(Sorry about the audio…for some reason the teleconference recording clipped/distorted some of the audio!)

The Amazon book description states:

Why is it so hard to make lasting changes in our companies, in our communities, and in our own lives?

The primary obstacle is a conflict that’s built into our brains, say Chip and Dan Heath, authors of the critically acclaimed bestseller Made to Stick. Psychologists have discovered that our minds are ruled by two different systems—the rational mind and the emotional mind—that compete for control. The rational mind wants a great beach body; the emotional mind wants that Oreo cookie. The rational mind wants to change something at work; the emotional mind loves the comfort of the existing routine. This tension can doom a change effort—but if it is overcome, change can come quickly.

In Switch, the Heaths show how everyday people—employees and managers, parents and nurses—have united both minds and, as a result, achieved dramatic results:

●      The lowly medical interns who managed to defeat an entrenched, decades-old medical practice that was endangering patients.

●      The home-organizing guru who developed a simple technique for overcoming the dread of housekeeping.

●      The manager who transformed a lackadaisical customer-support team into service zealots byremoving a standard tool of customer service

In a compelling, story-driven narrative, the Heaths bring together decades of counterintuitive research in psychology, sociology, and other fields to shed new light on how we can effect transformative change.Switch shows that successful changes follow a pattern, a pattern you can use to make the changes that matter to you, whether your interest is in changing the world or changing your waistline.

From the Hardcover edition.

Our next reading selections are:

6/25/2016 Resilience: Facing Down Rejection and Criticism on the Road to Success Mark McGuinness http://amzn.to/1NQ6Z8w
7/30/2016 Stuffocation: Why We’ve Had Enough of Stuff and Need Experience More Than Ever James Wallman http://amzn.to/1PTjBwv

PBG - Resilience - June 2016 - Mark McGuinness

PBG - Stuffocation - July 2016 - James Wallman

Show Notes:

(Please listen to understand the context of the resources provided. If we missed something, please comment on the episode and let us know! Thanks to Bonnie B. for helping out with the Show Notes!)


The callers you hear in this episode are readers just like you, and you are more than welcome to join us on the live calls to discuss productivity books too! Please visit ProductivityBookGroup.org and find out the details and the schedule for upcoming book discussion calls. If you plan to read ahead or read a little more slowly, please visit ProductivityBookGroup.org and check out the schedule on the “Upcoming Books” page.

Please feel free to visit iTunes, Stitcher or whichever podcast directory or app you prefer to access Productivity Book Group…and feel free to review us there! This helps expand our readership and bring new discussion callers into the fold. Thank you.

Finally, all podcast episodes are archived at ProductivityBookGroup.org under “Episodes” so if you missed a call and want to review it, feel free to head over and give them a listen.


Note: All registered service marks, trademarks and other copyrighted materials mentioned on the podcast are that of their respective owners. This group is not affiliated with or officially endorsed by those copyright owners.

Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning by Peter C. Brown, et al.

Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning – Productivity Book Group

Productivity Book Group [ http://productivitybookgroup.org ] discussed Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning, [ http://amzn.to/1P3lZkr ] by Peter C. Brown, et al. Enjoy the discussion!

The Amazon book description states:

To most of us, learning something “the hard way” implies wasted time and effort. Good teaching, we believe, should be creatively tailored to the different learning styles of students and should use strategies that make learning easier. Make It Stick turns fashionable ideas like these on their head. Drawing on recent discoveries in cognitive psychology and other disciplines, the authors offer concrete techniques for becoming more productive learners.

Memory plays a central role in our ability to carry out complex cognitive tasks, such as applying knowledge to problems never before encountered and drawing inferences from facts already known. New insights into how memory is encoded, consolidated, and later retrieved have led to a better understanding of how we learn. Grappling with the impediments that make learning challenging leads both to more complex mastery and better retention of what was learned.

Many common study habits and practice routines turn out to be counterproductive. Underlining and highlighting, rereading, cramming, and single-minded repetition of new skills create the illusion of mastery, but gains fade quickly. More complex and durable learning come from self-testing, introducing certain difficulties in practice, waiting to re-study new material until a little forgetting has set in, and interleaving the practice of one skill or topic with another. Speaking most urgently to students, teachers, trainers, and athletes, Make It Stick will appeal to all those interested in the challenge of lifelong learning and self-improvement.

About the Authors

Peter C. Brown is a writer and novelist in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Henry L. Roediger III is James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor of Psychology at Washington University in St. Louis.

Mark A. McDaniel is Professor of Psychology and Director of the Center for Integrative Research on Cognition, Learning, and Education (CIRCLE) at Washington University in St. Louis.

Our next reading selections are:

PBG - Switch - May 2016 - Chip and Dan Heath

5/28/2016 Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath, Dan Heath

PBG - Resilience - June 2016 - Mark McGuinness
6/25/2016 Resilience: Facing Down Rejection and Criticism on the Road to Success by Mark McGuinness

PBG - Stuffocation - July 2016 - James Wallman

7/30/2016 Stuffocation: Why We’ve Had Enough of Stuff and Need Experience More Than Ever by James Wallman

Show Notes:

(Please listen to understand the context of the resources provided. If we missed something, please comment on the episode and let us know!)

Education concepts:

  • Common Core
  • Montessori schools
  • PBL = Project Based Learning

Media/Books:

[Thanks to Bonnie Bouman for the Show Notes for this episode!]


The callers you hear in this episode are readers just like you, and you are more than welcome to join us on the live calls to discuss productivity books too! Please visit ProductivityBookGroup.org and find out the details and the schedule for upcoming book discussion calls. If you plan to read ahead or read a little more slowly, please visit ProductivityBookGroup.org and check out the schedule on the “Upcoming Books” page.

Please feel free to visit iTunes, Stitcher or whichever podcast directory or app you prefer to access Productivity Book Group…and feel free to review us there! This helps expand our readership and bring new discussion callers into the fold. Thank you.

Finally, all podcast episodes are archived at ProductivityBookGroup.org under “Episodes” so if you missed a call and want to review it, feel free to head over and give them a listen.


Note: All registered service marks, trademarks and other copyrighted materials mentioned on the podcast are that of their respective owners. This group is not affiliated with or officially endorsed by those copyright owners.

Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin

Better Than Before – Productivity Book Group

Productivity Book Group [ http://productivitybookgroup.org ] discussed Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives [ http://amzn.to/1OQLjKy ] by Gretchen Rubin. Enjoy the discussion!

The Amazon book description states:

The author of the blockbuster New York Times bestsellers, The Happiness Project and Happier at Home, tackles the critical question: How do we change? 

Gretchen Rubin’s answer: through habits. Habits are the invisible architecture of everyday life. It takes work to make a habit, but once that habit is set, we can harness the energy of habits to build happier, stronger, more productive lives.

So if habits are a key to change, then what we really need to know is: How do we change our habits?

Better than Before answers that question. It presents a practical, concrete framework to allow readers to understand their habits—and to change them for good. Infused with Rubin’s compelling voice, rigorous research, and easy humor, and packed with vivid stories of lives transformed, Better than Beforeexplains the (sometimes counter-intuitive) core principles of habit formation.

Along the way, Rubin uses herself as guinea pig, tests her theories on family and friends, and answers readers’ most pressing questions—oddly, questions that other writers and researchers tend to ignore:
• Why do I find it tough to create a habit for something I love to do?
• Sometimes I can change a habit overnight, and sometimes I can’t change a habit, no matter how hard I try. Why?
• How quickly can I change a habit?
• What can I do to make sure I stick to a new habit?
• How can I help someone else change a habit?
• Why can I keep habits that benefit others, but can’t make habits that are just for me?

Whether readers want to get more sleep, stop checking their devices, maintain a healthy weight, or finish an important project, habits make change possible. Reading just a few chapters of Better Than Before will make readers eager to start work on their own habits—even before they’ve finished the book.

Our next reading selections are:

Make It Stick - Productivity Book Group

Show Notes:

(Please listen to understand the context of the resources provided. If we missed something, please comment on the episode and let us know!)


The callers you hear in this episode are readers just like you, and you are more than welcome to join us on the live calls to discuss productivity books too! Please visit ProductivityBookGroup.org and find out the details and the schedule for upcoming book discussion calls. If you plan to read ahead or read a little more slowly, please visit ProductivityBookGroup.org and check out the schedule on the “Upcoming Books” page.

Please feel free to visit iTunes, Stitcher or whichever podcast directory or app you prefer to access Productivity Book Group…and feel free to review us there! This helps expand our readership and bring new discussion callers into the fold. Thank you.

Finally, all podcast episodes are archived at ProductivityBookGroup.org under “Episodes” so if you missed a call and want to review it, feel free to head over and give them a listen.


Note: All registered service marks, trademarks and other copyrighted materials mentioned on the podcast are that of their respective owners. This group is not affiliated with or officially endorsed by those copyright owners.

Perfect Time-Based Productivity - Francis Wade - Productivity Book Group Author Interview Series

Perfect Time-Based Productivity by Francis Wade – Productivity Book Group Author Interview Series

Productivity Book Group Author Interview Series is an opportunity to learn about new and interesting productivity books and authors. I’ll be interviewing some of the authors that we have read or will be reading here on Productivity Book Group as well as other authors. These shorter podcast interviews will be injected between our normal discussion-format episodes that are published here on Productivity Book Group.

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Francis Wade, author of Perfect Time-Based Productivity [ http://amzn.to/1R77toe ]. Francis Wade, author of two productivity books, Perfect Time-Based Productivity and Bill’s IM-Perfect Time Management Adventure, alumnus of AT&T Bell Labs, 20+ year entrepreneur, newspaper columnist, recovering triathlete, avid reader and lover of all things personal improvement.

Enjoy the interview!

The Amazon book description states:

More demands on your time – that’s just a fact of modern life. You may be doing the job of more than one person and facing an onslaught of information, only to realize that ubiquitous, 24-7 technology has only made things worse. How do you stay ahead of the expectation that you should be able to meet all your obligations, old and new? In the face of these increasing pressures, what do you need to do to maintain your peace of mind? This book is primarily written for productive professionals who have already found a way to achieve positive results.

While the book has lots of specific, practical suggestions for new behaviors, at its heart is a four step approach that preserves and builds on the advances that you, as a professional, have already made in your career:

Step 1> Evaluate your current skills against best-in-class standards, discovering strengths and improvement opportunities.

Step 2> Set realistic targets for new behaviors that meet your unique, evolving needs.

Step 3> Create a personalized plan from these new targets that allow you enough time to succeed, by taking small steps.

Step 4> Craft your own habit change support environment.

By the end of the book you will have completed these steps many times, giving you an easy way to improve any skill that’s important to your peace of mind.

Our next reading selections are:

Our next Productivity Book Group reading discussion will be on Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin. That live discussion call will take place on March 26, 2016. Full details are available at productivitybookgroup.org by clicking on “Upcoming Books.”

Better Than Before - Productivity Book Group

Show Notes:

(Please listen to understand the context of the resources provided. If we missed something, please comment on the episode and let us know!)


Please visit ProductivityBookGroup.org and find out the details and the schedule for upcoming book discussion calls; check out the schedule on the “Upcoming Books” page.

Please feel free to visit iTunes, Stitcher or whichever podcast directory or app you prefer to access Productivity Book Group…and feel free to review us there! This helps expand our readership and bring new discussion callers into the fold. Thank you.

Finally, all podcast episodes are archived at ProductivityBookGroup.org under “Episodes” so if you missed a call and want to review it, feel free to head over and give them a listen.


Note: All registered service marks, trademarks and other copyrighted materials mentioned on the podcast are that of their respective owners. This group is not affiliated with or officially endorsed by those copyright owners.