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Two Awesome Hours: Science-Based Strategies to Harness Your Best Time and Get Your Most Important Work Done

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  593 ratings  ·  77 reviews
Feeling overwhelmed with work and life demands? Rushing, multitasking, or relying on fancy devices and apps won't help. The answer is to create the conditions for two awesome hours of peak productivity per day.

Drawing on cutting-edge neuroscience, Josh Davis, director of research at the NeuroLeadership Institute explains clearly that our brains and bodies operate according
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published May 5th 2015 by HarperOne (first published April 7th 2015)
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Average rating 3.63  · 
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 ·  593 ratings  ·  77 reviews

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Jeremy Lyon
Jan 10, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This is one of a genre of self-help books steeped in a culture of doing more, faster, better. It's dedication to the relentless optimization of every minute in the unexamined pursuit of commerce triggers my latent inner anarchist and predisposes me to dislike it.

But I'm glad I successfully suppressed my instinct to set the book on fire. Because despite the fact that it employs all the hackneyed tropes you've seen before in books of this kind, it's key insight is a bit of finger in the eye to its
Anne White
Sep 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Charlotte Mason educators need to read this book. There are many simiarities to Mason's writings on atmosphere and on the body-mind connections in education. ...more
Aug 04, 2015 rated it liked it
I picked up this book at the suggestion of a colleague. I begrudgingly gave it 3 stars. Here's why: Josh Davis is on to something in the first 1/2 of the book when he encourages you, dear gentle reader, to be intentional about your to-do list. He coaches you on the gazillion different seconds you have throughout your day to make better choices about what gets done vs. not instead of just reacting and ping ponging your way, unfettered and un-purposeful-- through the day. Great advice. For this re ...more
Mar 19, 2016 rated it liked it
Nothing revolutionary but Josh Davis from the NeuroLeadership Institute has caused me to do something that tons of other self-help books haven't and that is to make a conscious change.

The first 69 pages made a strong enough impression that I've now posted a note so I am always reminded of the principles of decision points:

" *Savor each decision point.
*Plan your decision points in advance.
*Don't start a new task without consciously deciding it's the right one."

Good stuff!
Alex Devero
Aug 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: work
You can harness at least two awesome hours of effectiveness every day by following five simple strategies: recognize your decision points; manage your mental energy; stop fighting distractions; leverage your mind–body connection; and make your workspace work for you. This way, you’ll provide yourself with the psychological and biological conditions you need for top performance.
Jun 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Pretty good book with solid ideas for improving productivity.
Wendi Lau
Apr 15, 2019 rated it liked it
If concentration and decision-making are limited resources, then planning the ideal, productive workday is like managing an intellectual budget (argh, budgeting is my kryptonite!). This is the treasure in Josh Davis' general book.

This is a good case for taking mass transit or ride-sharing in order to leave more brain juice for the workday. Daily commuters squander brainpower driving themselves to and from work. Driving in traffic is mentally exhausting and leaves workers much less capable o
Sep 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
The concept of this book is simple. The author advises you to be stop being bothered about being productive for 10-12 hours every day but narrow down your focus to have two awesome productive hours of effective work.

A big disclaimer here, the author recommendation will large be applicable for white-collared workers. It does not have a universal appeal among working people. However, there are enough gems of information in the book for everyone to follow in their day to day life.

Basically, the au
Nopadol Rompho
Nov 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Five strategies presented in this book seem to be simple but they are quite powerful. We only need two awesome hours to be at most productive time and then we can get a lot of important things done. Strongly recommended.
Jan 23, 2021 rated it it was ok
This took me more than two hours to get through (counting stops and starts) and for me it was not, alas, “awesome”.

Back to the wonders and joys of literary fiction I go ....
Jan 17, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2021
A book with many familiar concepts that were mentioned a lot in other productive books. Not learned much.
Mar 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: productivity
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Some good ideas here about time management -- it's not as proscriptive as other books in this genre (you know, the ones that say "only check your email once a week"). Instead it describes how our understanding of human attention and effectiveness is changing, and how the principles of some research studies can be applied to our work life.

I've already tried some of the suggestions in the book, such as being aware of shifts in attention and decisions making, and also being more conscious about how
Dawn Trlak-Donahue
Aug 08, 2015 rated it it was ok
I read this for my work literary circle. Not much new here- basically the same idea of working on most important first- combined with the idea that you need to pick the right block of time to work on the most important so that you are at your best. Easier said than done with competing priorities.
Mar 06, 2017 added it
Shelves: non-fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 26, 2021 rated it liked it
This book contained a number of useful and interesting bits of advice. Some of the more intriguing material was related to the short-term biological effects of exercise and things humans typically consume by mouth (e.g. caffeine, sugar, fats and proteins, et cetera), a subject rarely addressed in any books I've seen. Another very useful and interesting topic is that of maintaining focus, and the tendency of attention to wander. The book addresses how our intuitions about these things tend to be ...more
Apr 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Two Awesome Hours is not an ordinary book on time management. Its premise is that the human brain is not designed to exert itself 100% of the time throughout an eight hour day. The brain is like a muscle. It can only do so much work, and it requires a bit of rest in between periods of intense activity. Two hours is an arbitrary length of time that the author feels is realistically achievable for peak performance in any given day. This length of time is variable; it depends on the individual and ...more
Zourkas Lavrentiades
Despite the fact that I was a little bit excited reading this book, I honestly didn't find earth shattering ideas or thought provoking concepts.

Personally I believe nothing new was contributed to the self-help domain from this book that I already was not aware of. However "Two Awesome Hours" is an great start for entry level fellow humans who are curious about time and energy management.

I will keep one outstanding observation though that the author shares with us regarding human performance.

Jan 11, 2020 rated it it was ok
Ok, first I would like to say you’re welcome. I read this book so you don’t have to. This book has been on my TBR for over a year. I figured this was a way to start the year “right”. No more procrastinating!

The title explains it all. I am not sure what I was thinking when I bought this book. Maybe it was on sale. I go crazy at used bookstores. I am not sure what was going on in my life at the time of this purchase. I'm currently judging the old me.

The book recommends giving into brief distractio
Apr 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Quick and easy read that provided me with some practical tips on getting to what's most important. I have already implemented decision points which allows me to choose what to do next once a task is complete rather than just automatically going to the next shiny thing! I discovered that our brains are wired to do most of what we do automatically. No more autopilot for me. I have found that I feel better about what I am completing and that I'm getting to focus on what's important to me not what's ...more
Apr 24, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
These books are increasingly harder for me to rate, as I'm coming into them from a heavily researched vantage point. It's rare that a productivity approach or strategy is new to me at this point.

There's some Fairly Obvious Stuff in here, but it did give me a few things to consider. Namely, be mindful of not stacking mentally exhausting tasks back-to-back and to be more strategic about how to arrange your tasks in a way that leaves you less drained and better able to get through what you have pl
Jan 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The book's overarching advice is to be more aware of our mental and physical states and leverage them for better productivity. More specifically, the author elaborates on 5 key to-dos: recognize your decision points; manage your mental energy; stop fighting distractions; leverage your mind–body connection; and make your workspace work for you. However, I get the feeling that the entire book could have been slimmed down into a feature-length article without losing much substance. That being said, ...more
S. Peter
Jan 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Find the best time to do your best work

The author provides a lot of useful information about how to get the most out of your day by narrowing down your day to what will become your greatest productivity hours. He teaches us that to do more, it's best to focus your energy on what will become your most productive times. It's a simple process but requires discipline and a willingness to work on it. Definitely worth the read.
Sep 26, 2017 rated it liked it
The chapter on decision points will actually be helpful and has stuff I haven't heard about before, and is totes worth the current price of $2 for the Kindle version of this book.

tl;dr when you've finished a task and are deciding what to do next, take extra long and decide on the right thing to do next, don't just automatically switch to something dumb/easy and waste hours on it.
Dalila Uncovers
Dec 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Useful, Brief, to the Point

The author offered some very accessible tools that just about anyone can use at their desk or in their workspace. He encourages the task-oriented person to be realistically, biologically and mentally effective by working with and not against our neurology. Worth every penny. Just read it again, on a Sunday morning whim, to refresh.
Apr 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was amazing! It helps with multiple different problems including will power and time management. Loved this book and recommend for people who have issues with sugar addiction. IN FACT this book helped me curve a sugar addition that I have struggled with extremly for 15 years. For that alone this book goes above 5 stars
Jan 22, 2020 rated it it was ok
The author's suggestions come from a very specific perspective, and the book is a short read so only that specific perspective is provided. The tips and strategies are a good reminder that office workers have common struggles. So, the book largely offers the reader an opportunity to be more mindful of behaviors and surroundings rather than life-changing secrets. ...more
Alexandria Blaelock
Quick but powerful read about working effectively (rather than efficiently) and managing mental fatigue. The five strategies presented form a holistic whole of life approach, taking into account eating and exercising, scheduling, letting your mind wander, sorting out your workspace, and most importantly, choosing what to do next.
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