cover image When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing

When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing

Daniel H. Pink. Riverhead, $28 (272p) ISBN 978-0-7352-1062-2

Pink (To Sell Is Human) should change many people’s understanding of timing with this book, which provides insights from little-known scientific studies in an accessible way. He quickly piques readers’ interest by introducing seemingly inexplicable patterns: why are prisoners eligible for parole more likely to get a favorable ruling from a judicial panel earlier in the day? Why are adolescents who start school before 8 a.m. at an academic disadvantage? Why are there more complications from anesthesia in the afternoon? The explanations come from research about “the effect of the time of day” on people’s thoughts and emotions, which began over a century ago, and which is being refined further now that social media platforms provide a wealth of data that can be analyzed from a chronological perspective. An analysis of millions of tweets from around the world, for instance, revealed a pattern that crossed continents and ethnic groups: “Tweeters felt active, engaged, and hopeful” in the morning and early evening. This is just one of the many findings with practical implications that Pink lays out in the “Time Hacker’s Handbook,” short sections that follow each chapter. By the book’s end, readers will be thinking much more carefully about how they divide up their days and organize their routines. (Jan.)