Book Review: When

Daniel Pink pushes us to consider WHEN over WHAT as we face our daily decision making responsibilities.  In his book, ‘When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing,” we first learn about the hidden pattern of our daily lives.  The pattern is so prevalent with the early spike, the big drop, and the subsequent recovery, that we see how it impacts big business decision making.  We shouldn’t ignore how this peak-trough-rebound or rebound-trough-peak impacts our own analytic and insight problem solving as well.

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Pink guides us to consider BEGINNINGS and how to be successful by starting right, starting again, and starting together.  Whether or not you should go first and the 86 days that are especially effective for making a fresh start are based more on timing than anything else.

The U-shaped curve, indicative of a MIDPOINT slump, can be leveraged into a spark through awareness, awakening, and an imagination of being slightly behind.  The metacognitive strategies abound as Pink supports interim goal setting, reflection, and taking a page from It’s a Wonderful Life.

ENDINGS help us energize, encode, edit, and elevate.  We kick harder at the finish line, rate experiences, narrow the crowd we call friends, and celebrate happy endings.  9-enders are a phenomenon that are practically predictable in their behaviors.  They skew the numbers of first time marathon runners, checking the 26.2 off their bucket list before they hit 30 (or 40, or 50, …).

My takeaways from this book are summed up in the sketchnotes below.  I will certainly use the lessons learned from When as I now consider restorative breaks, tackling the midpoint, and analytic vs insight problem solving.

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A Framework for Vision-Driven Instruction and Leadership includes a compilation of Instructional and Leadership Practice Considerations, aligned to each of the vision premises under the six articles of the Visioning document.  Three such considerations are:

Do students have access to flexible spaces and times for learning?

How and when do I vary the types of assessment that measure profound learning?

How and when do I utilize pre- and post-assessments to design challenging, meaningful lessons?

We must give ourselves permission to consider the WHEN in our daily practice so we can move toward transformative practices such as flexible learning experiences and assessments for our students.


I encourage you to read this book, reflect on the hidden patterns of your daily routine and begin to consider WHEN as you lead others to be successful.

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