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The Surprising Science of Meetings: How You Can Lead Your Team to Peak Performance
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The Surprising Science of Meetings: How You Can Lead Your Team to Peak Performance

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  531 ratings  ·  71 reviews
A recent estimate suggests that employees endure a staggering 55 million meetings a day in the United States. This tremendous time investment yields only modest returns. No organization made up of human beings is immune from the all-too-common meeting gripes: those that fail to engage, those
that inadvertently encourage participants to tune out, and those that blatantly dis
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published January 2nd 2019 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 2018)
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Average rating 3.68  · 
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Jun 30, 2019 rated it liked it
My takeaways:
1. Schedule not-one-hour meetings. 48 minutes or a 15 minute huddle are good alternatives to the 1 hr meeting. People are less likely to be late to a shorter meeting and have more time to get to their next task.
2. Assign participants to different topics covered on the agenda and give them enough heads up to prepare. Don’t reuse the same agenda — topics should be customized every meeting. The book provides a nice agenda template.
3. The more complicated the meeting task is, the few
Steve Wiggins
Oct 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
I’m reluctantly in the corporate world. A qualified academic, I began my career in the higher education classroom with nary a thought of a “fall back.” When one became necessary I entered the business sector again, this time as an “over-qualified” editor. I read Steven G. Rogelberg’s The Surprising Science of Meetings as a kind of learning exercise (strictly off the clock, you understand). I found it amazing that you could be an academic specializing in meetings. For my doctorate I had to learn ...more
Sara G
It was not very surprising.
Iman Shabani
This was informative enough, and gave me some pointers to go on with.

I can't say the whole book feels that way, but if you are someone who needs to attend/lead meetings, it's definitely a useful read.
Dec 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
I’m in a ton of meetings during the work day and I often say “when am I supposed to actually do my work?”. This books provides evidence-based solutions for meeting leaders. Looking forward to working with my team to improve meetings.
Kevin Kelloway
Jan 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book should be required reading for every manager or for everyone who has to hold meetings at work. Drawing on an extensive body of research Steve Rogelberg has written an eminently practical guide for improving meetings in organizations. The book is replete with practical advice, tools and tips. Its an easy read (I read it on a 1.5 hour flight) but is a book that I will return to in the future.
Cristine Braddy
May 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Nice quick overview on leading meetings more effectively. I took home quite a few ideas from this one.
Jun 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is the greatest book on meetings! If you're buying one book on meetings, this should be the one. Considering buying multiple copies and requiring my direct reports to read! ...more
Kat Riethmuller
Apr 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nf-summaries
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Matt Stevens
Sep 01, 2021 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed it. I'm going to use several of the techniques and am purchasing a copy for our corporate leadership library to reference. I am glad that I've had much of this training prior.
Also, at times the writer is shockingly funny. Not shocking like nasty, but hilarious with a dry sort of wit. That was also enjoyable. Because its a pretty dry topic.
Doug Roberts
Dec 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Helpful and actionable. I could have wished for more nerdy science but that may be only because I haven't dug through the ridiculously extensive bibliography. ...more
Apr 21, 2021 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
I figured now is a good time to begin my prepping for the workforce phase of books, so be prepared for workplace/personal finance/adulting type books starting to enter my reviews.

This is my first goodreads dnf though. I got 8% in (finished the first chapter), and the author had already repeated the same fact three times. It's written like a high school essay, and I can't imagine finishing it even though it's under 200 pages. Hard pass unless you're in for a laugh because something about the auth
Inka Partanen
Jan 27, 2020 rated it it was ok
I have attended thousands of meetings and still I thought this book with it’s scientific approach could offer me something new or at least some food for thought. It did not.

It is, however, a comprehensive list of techniques and methods for better meetings so if you need ideas or haven’t ”seen it all”, have a look. For more expreienced meeting-goers I just recommend to keep learning from others and from your mistakes, this book probably won’t do much more.
Dec 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Meetings are so often a waste of time. This was such an enjoyable read with many practical strategies on how to make your meetings more efficient and productive.
Sharon Summerfield
Aug 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book should be a must read for anyone who attends, plans and facilitates meetings. Great suggestions captured in a succinct way. I like how the author had a summary at the end of each chapter and included charts and tools to use to improve meetings. We know meetings are here to stay in our professional and personal lives. I enjoyed the idea from Andy Grove, former CEO of Intel, referring to loss of time to stealing office equipment.

This thought from the book, represented for me how we can h
Feb 11, 2020 rated it liked it
There are a lot of meetings in my life, and I've taken a lot of professional development about meeting development and facilitation so if there's a refresher or a new perspective, I'd like to be on top of it. This book rehashed much of what I already knew but if your group has meetings that are less than productive, this might be good for you.

The stuff I already knew: agenda purpose, the right people at the meeting, you don't always need an hour, don't have a static agenda, it's hard to connect
Ganesh Sree
Dec 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Was recommended this book by a friend. It was a very quick read. The first question that popped up into my mind was - "Is there a science to meetings?" . But as I was quickly devouring the pages, it augured upon me, most of the pains of meetings are something I have experienced as a part of corporate life. But why didn't I think of the ways to address it, especially as it seemed so apparent when the author put it. Maybe just a small matter of the author addressing it in an empirical fashion. I f ...more
Nov 11, 2021 rated it really liked it
For those of us in the corporate world who have the responsibility of communicating through meetings, this book is a solid read. Lots of practical advice on how to ensure your meetings are productive, effective, engaging and valued by attendees. I would have given this 5 stars if the audiobook included a PDF of the tools - it was inefficient to manually type (and re-listen) out the survey questions, checklists etc. which I could have simply copied or printed from a PDF. I will probably re-listen ...more
Food Is
Aug 19, 2019 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Raja Gopal
Oct 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Some people intuitively conduct meetings well. This book is a life saver for the rest of us.

The author discusses the following topics - preparation of an agenda, meeting time, number of attendees, how to start a meeting, etc. He backs them up with scientific evidence as the title suggests.

I have been conducting meetings for a few years now. I do circulate an agenda in advance. But it is generally the same for successive meetings. Only the date changes. After having read this book, I should be a
Cari Borchert
May 16, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fic
Read this as a work assignment, and honestly, was reading the "takeaways" (ie cliff notes!) at the end of the chapters about halfway through, rather than dissecting the entire chapter. To me, this was mostly common sense - basically when you're running a meeting, don't do the things you hate yourself and that everyone complains about. There is always something to learn, however, and there were a few things I will try differently and/or shake things up from time to time, but overall, I didn't fee ...more
Sep 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars. I was picking up a laboratory managerial position, and really enjoyed their recommendations and innovations for meetings, and really more broadly about team leadership. I will say, it got a bit dull throughout (I nearly stopped about 3/4 of the way through) - but perhaps that is partially my own fault, as I am more accustomed to works of fiction! ;)

I read it in Kindle form - I wonder whether a print version of the book would have been better for me for either a more piecemeal approac
Susana Pierce
Oct 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
I learned about this book through the the author’s inclusion in the Freakonomics podcast episode “How to make meetings less terrible” (Ep. 389 from 9/18/19. Easily readable with data and suggestions, it was an interesting read. My role is not the one that Dr. Rogelberg is aiming at for an audience, but I found some advice to carry into my job as a teacher (what is class, but a meeting that happens every day at the same time with an agenda, status updates, etc.?). I will try to pass this book on ...more
Jul 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Overall this was an informative book that makes you consider how you and your organization typically run meetings. There is some good advice on meeting length, attendance, treating the meeting like an event (which requires planning to go off smoothly), and new meeting tactics to try (for example, multiple facets of silence). This is a relatively short read that I’d consider worth it if you’ve not thought about how meetings are run before (and even if you have, there’s nothing wrong with some rei ...more
Jul 31, 2021 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. My friend Jess recommended this to me when I first became a manager and ran a less than productive weekly team meeting. She sent me a link to the author’s google talk, which goes over information that’s in the first half of the book. The writing and style are both fine, but I think because my team is 100% remote (even before covid), many of the suggested activities can’t be applied, such as walking meetings or providing food. There’s a very short chapter on conference calls, but I rea ...more
Nov 09, 2021 rated it really liked it
I mean . . . I haven't read TOO many books on meetings. But, I have read a couple. This is a nice little handbook to meetings according to science. Great recommendations and basic explanations behind them. Helps you get lots of ideas on how you can improve your meetings and the importance of improving them. So many meetings are the exact same format every single time, no matter the purpose, the attendees, nor the subject. Plus, if you were to calculate the hourly wage being spent for a meeting b ...more
Ogi Ogas
Jun 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
My ratings of books on Goodreads are solely a crude ranking of their utility to me, and not an evaluation of literary merit, entertainment value, social importance, humor, insightfulness, scientific accuracy, creative vigor, suspensefulness of plot, depth of characters, vitality of theme, excitement of climax, satisfaction of ending, or any other combination of dimensions of value which we are expected to boil down through some fabulous alchemy into a single digit.
Mar 20, 2021 rated it liked it
Picked up on a whim at the library, although it's been a while since I've led meetings. It's a pretty good book, concise and to the point, offering some genuinely useful tips based on recent research and--more usefully, I think--a heaping dose of common sense and an understanding of human nature. I ended up transcribing a couple pages of notes on creative techniques that I'll use whenever I'm back in the meeting game. ...more
Sep 01, 2019 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Paul Miller
Oct 02, 2019 rated it liked it
If you've never read anything about meetings, you will find this quick read full of surprises... BUT if you have, it will simply remind you of familiar territory which nets to be purposeful in IF you meet, WHEN you meet, HOW you meet....It's an experience you're orchestrating. The world doesn't need more or less meetings - just needs better ones. ...more
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