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Episode 45
Featuring Daniel H. Pink
Life is a never-ending series of "when" decisions. When to schedule a class? When to do something creative? Yet, we make our choices based on whims and impulses, not the biological reality of our daily rhythms. Daniel Pink explains how chronobiology allows us to hack our lives using our biological clock and the science of perfect timing.

Timing is everything, so it’s kind of surprising that most of us don’t give it any serious consideration. We think about what things we want to do. We think about who we want to do these things with. When we want to do something is generally our final consideration — if we consider it at all.

 

Take college students, for example. They must take classes in art, math, history, science, and a host of other fields. Each year, just before the semester begins, students flock to their computers and plot out the class schedules that will govern their lives for the next five months. Their top considerations are when their friends are taking classes, how they can avoid getting up early, and how they can ensure their classes are all on the same day so that they get a few extra days off.

 

This is a bit of a problem.

 

As Daniel Pink notes in his latest book When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, there is a biological reality to our daily rhythms. This means that, at certain times, we are better at problem solving. At others, we perform better when it comes to creative endeavors. It may seem counterintuitive, but we each have a biological clock that has a material impact on our lives. Put simply, the time that we choose to do something alters our performance, influences our wellbeing, and shapes our overall experience. So if we are making decisions about when to do things on an impulse or according to whatever happens to be convenient, in many ways, we are setting ourselves up for failure.

 

However, there is a solution to this problem. It’s known as “chronobiology,” and it allows us to make fact-based decisions about when we should do things. By using chronobiology — by following the natural patterns found in our biology — we can help ensure that we are at our peak performance when we attempt any given task.

 

But how can we tell what our natural cycle is? How do we know if we are making good when-based decisions? In this episode, Demetri Kofinas speaks with Pink about the science of perfect timing and why when we do something is just as important as what we doand how well we do it.

 

Producer & Host: Demetri Kofinas

Editor & Engineer: Stylianos Nicolaou

Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @hiddenforcespod

Daniel H. Pink is the author of six provocative books — including his newest, When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, which has spent three months on the New York Times bestseller list. His other books include the long-running New York Times bestseller A Whole New Mind and the #1 New York Times bestsellers Drive and To Sell is Human. His books have won multiple awards and have been translated into 37 languages. He lives in Washington, DC, with his wife and their three children.

 

Pink was host and co-executive producer of “Crowd Control,” a television series about human behavior on the National Geographic Channel. He also appears frequently on NPR’s Hidden Brain, the PBS NewsHour, and other TV and radio networks in the US and abroad.

 

He has been a contributing editor at Fast Company and Wired as well as a business columnist for The Sunday Telegraph. His articles and essays have also appeared in The New York Times, Harvard Business Review, The New Republic, Slate, and other publications. In 2007, he was a Japan Society Media fellow in Tokyo, where he studied the country’s massive comic industry.

 

For the last six years, London-based Thinkers 50 named him, alongside Michael Porter and Clayton Christensen, as one of the top 15 business thinkers in the world.

 

Pink’s TED Talk on the science of motivation is one of the 10 most-watched TED Talks of all time, with more than 19 million views. His RSA Animate video about the ideas in his book, Drive, has collected more than 14 million views.

 

He currently serves on the advisory boards of RiseSmart, Betterment Institutional, Heleo, and Hubspot.

Before venturing out on his own 20 years ago, Dan worked in several positions in politics and government, including serving from 1995 to 1997 as chief speechwriter to Vice President Al Gore.

 

He received a BA from Northwestern University, where he was a Truman Scholar and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and a JD from Yale Law School. He has also received honorary doctorates from Georgetown University, the Pratt Institute, the Ringling College of Art and Design, and Westfield State University.

Pink and his wife live in Washington, DC. They have three children — a college junior, a college freshman, and a high school freshman.

 

@DanielPink

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