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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

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  2,066 ratings  ·  211 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
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published January 30th 2018 by Simon Schuster (first published January 2018)
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Average rating 3.79  · 
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 ·  2,066 ratings  ·  211 reviews

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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
Mar 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed-by-me
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 ...more
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
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
☘Misericordia☘ ~ The Serendipity Aegis ~  ⚡ϟ⚡ϟ⚡⛈ ✺❂❤❣
A surprisingly sane account by a BCG alumnus and an academic on how to get work to be healthier and more productive.

Basically: the 'work not 12 hrs a day but using your head', principle. Supplied with sane storytelling, nice academic research bells and whistles, large statistical pool and a nice self-review of methods used (incl. their up and downsides).

Very clear writing. Rational line of thinking. Good text structuring. Well thought-out considerations. Lots of good logic (which is rarer than
Paul Fulcher
Nov 08, 2018 rated it 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
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
Tony Balfour
Jan 18, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: work
A few gems buried amongst the plethora of slice of life examples that were all too easy to skip by page 50. Like almost all "business" books this one would have been a better long essay than a book.

If you want to get the gems and avoid the silt - jump to the concise summaries at the end of each chapter, and if they excite you, go back and skim that chapter. You'll get 80% of the books value by just reading the summaries. And they are worth it.
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.
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
Apr 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is brilliant! Concrete, understandable, data-backed, and applicable behaviors for me to be more successful in work and life! I greatly look forward to exploring these ideas with colleagues and friends.

The author makes it very accessible with phrases like “passion and purpose” aka p-squared.

I didn’t read much of the final section where the author unpacks their research and statistical methods, but it gives me confidence in the material and is sorry missed from most self-help books.
Jorge DeFlon
It is an easy-to-follow, coherent and informative book on how you can excel at work in this digital age regardless of your industry.

It presents seven clear principles that the data shows that if you follow them, it is very likely that you will become one of the best employee and / or manager of your organization.

highly recommended

Es un libro fácil de seguir, coherente e informativo sobre cómo puede ser excelente en el trabajo en esta era digital. independientemente de
Nathan Brant
Jan 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was a good read. On page 198 the definition of burn-out made me sit up and shake my head. I thoroughly enjoyed the re-worked twin ideas of passion and purpose. In particular, the notion that there are many different kinds of professional passion (achievement, creative, people, learning, and competence). Finally, I personally could benefit from the practice of "do less and then obsess.". Enjoy!
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. ...more
Dec 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Work smarter, not harder/longer. Easy right? Why would we want to work dumb? This book addresses those questions and provides a framework on how exactly to "work smart"

The seven practices of work smart are:
(1) Work scope practice—Select a tiny set of priorities and make huge efforts in those chosen areas
(2) Targeting—Focus on creating value, not just reaching preset goals
(3) Quality learning—Eschew mindless repetition in favor of better skills practice
(4) Inner motivation—Seek roles that match
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.
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.
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
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.

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
Oct 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recommend
The book is logically structured around the 7 practices to be great at work:

Mastering Your Work
* Put a lot of effort into a few important priorities.
* Create value not just reach goals (for example, the report was done on time but does anyone read it).
* Develop useful skills (don't become complacent in routine tasks).
* Seek roles that match your purpose (what are you contributing to the world) and your passion (how much you enjoy what you're doing).

Mastering Work With Others
* Gain support from
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.

Nick Jordan
Sep 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
I would think that this would be the exact leadership book for me: research-based by an expert in the field. Instead, like so many books of the past several years, it is a blog post or an article fluffed into a book. Grab the book from the library shelf, read the Epilogue, apply what you want from that, and skip the rest.
Sep 01, 2018 rated it did not like it
Had to read this for work. Extremely gendered and lacking good advice for women in the workplace. Not a single novel concept explored, and so superficial a nail etching glass digs deeper. Would give zero stars if possible.
Jul 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Nothing new in the book. Read in the store in an hour or less. The message is "Do less, Prioritize and Focus". Honestly, it doesn't worth to buy it. I would better recommend to go for "How to be a Productivity Ninja 2019".
Jun 22, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: gave-up
Just read the first chapter and you will get the gist.
Nov 15, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction
Gives a catchy, rhyming name to basic common sense and supports it with an anecdote.
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