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Great at Work: How Top Performers Do Less, Work Better, and Achieve More
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Great at Work: How Top Performers Do Less, Work Better, and Achieve More

3.8  ·  Rating details ·  915 Ratings  ·  115 Reviews
Wall Street Journal Business Bestseller
A Financial Times Business Book of the Month
Named by The Washington Post as One of the 11 Leadership Books to Read in 2018

From the New York Times bestselling coauthor of Great by Choice comes an authoritative, practical guide to individual performance—based on analysis from an exhaustive, groundbreaking study.

Why do some people perfor
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published January 30th 2018 by Simon Schuster (first published January 2018)
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Will Once
Jan 30, 2018 rated it it was ok
Disappointing. There is nothing wrong with the book's main thesis that we should "work less, then obsess". In other words, do fewer things but focus more on doing them well. Can't argue with that. There are six other principles including such obvious nuggets as "work smarter, not harder".

The problem is how the book justifies this point of view. Most of the book is argument by anecdote. Person X did this and it worked out ... therefore we should all do this. That's hardly a strong argument as the
John Norman
Mar 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
As business books go, this is a good one. Morten T. Hansen's Great at Work is an attempt to explain how high-performers outdo their peers and deliver higher-quality work. The essential teaching of the book is that such performers "do less, then obsess": That is, they are very good at prioritizing, focusing on the top one to three things -- then they really bear down on those things to the exclusion of everything else. There's a lot more going on, but I think almost anyone would appreciate readin ...more
Christopher Lawson
Jan 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Do Less Fluff

In GREAT AT WORK, Professor Morten Hansen reveals the results of his extensive research study, which began in 2011, and examined the activity of 5,000 workers. The author was trying to figure out exactly which factors contributed to one being an especially superior worker. The researchers whittled down the factors to just seven "Smart Practices." These seven factors, as a whole explained about 2/3 of what makes someone really effective.

The biggest factor leading to superior performa
Feb 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
If you attend 45% less meetings, you will be 74% more effective. There's all sorts of "real numbers" and stats like this in the book and I call BS. What does it even mean to be great at work? I think there are a lot of great tips in here that are pretty obvious--my personal favorites are do less and then obsess and don't follow your passion. But the book sells itself as scientifically rigorous when it's just a nice self-help that is fairly obvious. I would actually recommend Essentialism, which ...more
Paul Fulcher
Nov 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
Morten T. Hansen 2018 book Great at Work: How Top Performers Do Less, Work Better, and Achieve More reminded me in many respects of Angela Duckworth's Grit and Carol Dweck's Mindset, both of which he references, although the title is more directly self-explanatory and the focus is very much on the world of work.

He develops seven rules (and yes he admits - 'it always seems to be 7 doesn't it') for high performers, based on a detailed study of 5000 people. There are the usual anecdotes in the boo
Oct 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Really useful tips. This book both reassured me that the majority of my work habits are fundamentally good and helped me identify ways to improve my work life (and sanity!). Recommended.
Feb 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biz
Hansen undertook a 5 year study to find out what makes top performance at work. He's also worked with Jim Collins on his follow up to Good to Great, so Hansen has credibility.

While he frames his 7 keys to performing better as a challenge to the conventional wisdom, the ideas have been around. But those ideas have not been wrapped up together and do not have the credibility of Hansen's study.

The first and most important key - work less, then obsess. Hansen gives the example of the 91 year old t
Carsten Hansen
This book asks some important questions, why do some people perform better than others with comparable skills, why do some deliver higher quality work and use less time.? These important questions and it makes for an interesting book with a number of surprising and interesting findings. Overall, I found a lot of the conclusions could be used directly to improve my work output, both in terms of quality and speed and also how I can improve upon my habits outside of work.
The only detractor for me
Lars-Helge Netland
Sep 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Lettlest og velskrevet bok om hva som kjennetegner de som presterer best på arbeidsplassen. Boken tar for seg syv prinsipper/teknikker som alle kan innarbeide for å forbedre egne jobbprestasjoner. Observasjonene er godt forankret i ca. 5000 spørreundersøkelser og intervjuer på tvers av mange bransjer og selskaper.

Jeg kommer lett til å ta i bruk en del av disse teknikkene for å forbedre mine leveranser på jobb.
Mar 17, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great at Work by Morten Hansen is a book about improving your performance in the workplace. Hansen distills workplace performance into seven elements which, based on his research, have the largest impact on your productivity at work. These are divided into two groups: elements related to how you personally work and elements related to how you work with others. A recurring theme among the elements is focus, narrowing the scope of what you do to target the most important activities of your work. H ...more
Cody Ray
May 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Nice overview of an academic study across 5000+ employees. The author presents a framework for increasing your own performance in the workplace with 7 rules to put into practice.

My main concern is that it could've gotten the entire message across much more concisely. But still well worth the read.
Danielle Annett
Apr 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Well researched! Great fundamental tips to integrate into your life. I would highly recommend this to anyone looking to increase their performance habits. A great way to see how to be at your best in both home life and work life.
Feb 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow, there is a lot in this book. Though I read it through once, I can tell I'm going to need to come back to chapters after I've tackled some of the recommendations. In fact, that's a recommendation of the book -- start with one thing, and give it 15 minutes of the day, with careful measurement of your progress and feedback. I also really like the "do less, then obsess" theme suggesting that we need to work smarter, not more, or harder. The book is also full of great examples.
Tyler Weir
Apr 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If you’ve read Grit(Duckworth) and Mindset(Dweck) I think you’ll appreciate this book.

I loved it.
Jacquelyn Merryfield
Aug 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really liked this. Took away a few things I want to implement in my own work.
Feb 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: business
Good solid research and discussion of the difference between activity (necessary and not even close to sufficient for success) and accomplishment (ideally with the least activity possible) -while Hansen doesn't frame the argument that way, it's a terrific contribution to the growing literature that says the most successful people - as Warren Buffet says - "say no to almost everything." That lets them, as Hansen says, "do less. Then obsess" over what you do do.

Other nuggets:
Focus on creating val
The Harry L. Davis Center for Leadership
You’ve heard it before: Work smarter, not harder. Morten Hansen’s latest book, Great at Work, brings new meaning to that hackneyed idea with a set of seven work-smart practices that apply in a wide range of industries and functions. Hansen and his team undertook a comprehensive study of individual performance at work, and tested their theories in a survey of 5,000 managers and employees—from ER nurses to CEOs. They share seven practices that anyone can partake in to become great at work.

This bo
Imaculate Mosha
Jul 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: self-help
Morten shows how individual and organisational productivity can be enhanced by several pillars including:
-Disciplined collaboration
-Passion and Purpose
-Do less and stress
-Fight and unite
-Work life balance.

Backed by research it tears down the old approach of working longer. I found the book eye-opening and almost applicable to all knowledge workers.

Jessy Tania
Jul 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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May 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Many people assume that a company’s top performers are often those who are working all-possible hours, working their metaphorical tail off and achieving a lot in the process. The reality can be different, and often those who have achieved ‘greatness’ at work are working less, but better. This book shows you how this can be achieved.

The core of this book and its message is built on extensive research and observation of over 5,000 managers and front-line employees, conducted over five years. You m
1. To work smart means to maximize the value of your work by selecting a few activities and applying intense targeted effort. “Follow your passion” can be dangerous advice.

2. Deliberate Collaboration – a set of practices that allows you first to assess when to collaborate and to implement the effort so that people are both willing and able to commit to it and deliver results. To be disciplined about collaboration is to say “no” to the wrong opportunities and only select those few tha
Ruby Bibi
Apr 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
-There was an excerpt of this book in the Wall Street Journal and it definitely piqued my interest. The concept of being able to do more within the limited amount of time that we have is something that is of universal interest in the business world. The author concedes that the subject has been addressed many times before, but his approach digs into the subject a little bit deeper and he seems to struck a number of points that would be beneficial to the reader.
- He breaks down the subject matter
Lucas Brandl
Oct 19, 2018 rated it liked it
There are a lot of good points and anecdotes in this book. There is certainly a problem in many industries with people working on too many things and not accomplishing a whole lot. So I like the main idea of "work less then obsess" and focus on creating quality over quantity. People often prioritize too many things. There's a weird obsession in our society with people bragging about how busy they are. Is it really cool to be busy all the time? And if you're always busy at work, is everything you ...more
Mar 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Given the demands on time, I can always appreciate solid advice when it comes to work efficiency. Being a huge proponent of GTD, and possibly obsessing over it too much, I’ve read quite wide in this genre. However, if a book is willing to give you one insight that can change things for you, then it’s worth reading.

Hansen has gone into the field to conduct a five year study about the success of people in the workplace. I appreciated the academic approach to this endeavour, which confirmed advice
Antony Mayfield
Feb 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the authors of Great by Choice, a book that was very influential in the early years of building my company, I heard Hansen talking abou this book on the FT business book podcast and thought it sounded like good brain food - and it is.

It takes an academic and evidence-based look at what makes people effective when “work harder” is a road to declining productivity and burnout. The author sets out the challenge early on:

“The phrase “work smarter, not harder” has been thrown around so much
Christian Turcu
May 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
"For the past 50 years, ninety-one-year old Jiro Ono has operated the sushi restaurant Sukiyabashi Jiro, tucked under the underpass of a subway station in Tokyo. The wooden doorway opens off to a corridor that resembles a B-class office space. You might also be disappointed by the menu; there isn’t one. Jiro serves 20 pieces of sushi to the 10 guests seated at his minute counter. No predinner cocktail, no tempura, no side dishes. Oh, and the bathroom is out in the subway corridor. Sounds like a ...more
Aug 02, 2018 rated it liked it
The author's study indicates that working 50-65hrs per week is the efficiency maximum, more hours worked after that result in inefficiency accumulating like errors in a Tetris game.

Essentially the book boils down to: FOCUS on things which you have PASSION for that can support life PURPOSE.
The degree to which we achieve this puts us in one of 4 categories of increasing performance
* accept more & coast
* do less / no stress
* do more then stress
* do less then obsess, ie do not seek lost object
This was interesting book. I've read quite a bit of productivity books but this was still helpful. A lot of books I've read mostly focused on mindset. This one focused more on practices. The most notable advice I took from it is, work less then obsess. You minimize the amount of things you work on and then obsess over the one task or topic. I've learned from work experiences that it's better to work on one item at a time vs multiple. They had a studies proving that working longer hours didn't re ...more
Jorge Reyes
Jul 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Desde hace varios años he trabajado como coach y mentor de ejecutivos y empresarios de México, los errores más comunes que encuentro son, falta de enfoque y prioridades. Muchos de estos profesionales, sobre todo en latinoamérica son presos de una cultura cuando menos curiosa, inundada en sentimentalismos, ineficacia, inseguridades y tiranismos que provocan: juntas interminables, fuga de talentos, una perdida de tiempo y de recursos impresionante, pretensiones irreales, roles y responsabilidades ...more
Mason Jones
May 28, 2018 rated it liked it
This sort of "work/productivity" type book isn't the type of reading I normally do, but I happened to get a free copy of this one and thought I'd take a look. I was pleasantly surprised. While prescriptive productivity books ("do this and this, and you'll be better!") are pretty useless, this takes a somewhat different angle. Based on an extensive 5-year study, Hansen has real-world examples on which to base suggestions. While the idea of "seven work smarter practices" smacks of the usual approa ...more
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“In 2011, I launched one of the most comprehensive research projects ever undertaken on individual performance at work.” 0 likes
“what a person should work on (job design); how the person should improve over time (learning); why a person should exert effort (motivation); and with whom a person should interact at work (relation).” 0 likes
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