If you want to learn how to perform better or produce more, there’s plenty of literature on it. A lot of it is pretty repetitive. You’ve probably heard about the importance of organization and to-do lists until you’re ready to …zzzzzzzzzzz. Oh, sorry, that probably put you to sleep immediately.
Better performance and higher productivity — the stuff I write about — does require a lot of underlying structure. So, of course you keep hearing about that structure.
But there’s a great deal of more interesting ideas and information that also help you manage and improve your performance. Ideas about how the mind and brain work, what drives behavior, how socialization brings better organization and smoother transactions, just to name a few. Each of the two men I’m going to recommend to you writes and speaks about ideas like that.
First Let Me Introduce You To Daniel Pink
It’s easiest to get to know what Daniel Pink can contribute to your progress by looking first at his 2009 TED talk. I’ve embedded it below.
The TED talk is the essence of what he covers in his book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.
As he says, he was trained as a lawyer, not a psychologist, so recognize that he doesn’t research and analyze the literature the way a psychologist does. So, if you’re looking for deep self-help literature, don’t look for it in his books.
From what I’ve seen in reviews of his book, some readers may find his conclusions too simplistic. But regardless of how he simplifies, there’s a lot of usable stuff in what he says. If you’re concerned about the value of his books, read the articles on his website http://www.danpink.com/articles before investing in them. Judge for yourself. Also, take a look at some of his videos — http://www.danpink.com/video.
His greatest value is in the fact that he is a speculative thinker. As his works illustrate, you don’t have to be a psychologist to dig into research and find useful gems. You just need a creative mind.
Now May I Present Steven Pinker
Steven Pinker, unlike Daniel Pink, is a psychologist. A researcher. An academic. An extraordinary speaker. (And just as an aside, an amazing photographer.) In his current employment, he is Harvard College Professor and the Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology. He, too, is best introduced through a TED talk embedded below.
He writes and talks on how the mind works and how language and thought are related. His work has many implications for communication and socialization. If you want to understand the intricacies of social media in great depth, study his work. (No, so far he doesn’t lay it out specifically, it’s just implicit.)
He has a dozen books, 40 journal articles, 43 magazine articles and 24 newspaper articles. A visit to http://stevenpinker.com/publications will give you access to the articles. You’ll have to buy his books.
How Are These Guys Alike?
These guys are only alike in that their names have pink in them. Literally. And they both write from points of view that may shake up the way you think about work and life. Help you take a new viewpoint that shakes up the way you do things and helps you do stuff better.
They remind me of Apple’s slogan, “Think Different.”
I wrote about them in the same article because I was reading articles by or about them on the same day. I thought, “what a coincidence, Pink and Pinker.” It sounded like a great article title. So I researched each of them.