Daniel Pink’s “When” (Part 2)


With a huge earthquake interrupting the end of the school year, we did not get to discuss the second half of the book together. Pink’s ideas have been creeping into our conversations.

Reading the book as a group was powerful and it is something that we will try to do every year as a leadership team and among faculty. It is good to have a book to start conversations and get us thinking about innovation and forces us to take a fresh look at how we do things.

I just finished Part Two: Beginnings, Endings and In Between and wanted to put my thoughts down in writing before they are lost over the summer. The book has slowed down a bit, but there are still lots of interesting points.

  • Beginnings – Centers of Disease Control and Academy of Pediatrics recommend that middle school and high school not to start before 8:30 AM because adolescents need to sleep in the morning. The physical and mental effects of an early start are dramatic on the well-being and performance of teenagers.
  • U Curve of Happiness – Humans have a u-shaped curve of happiness, with a low point being between 50-53 (my current age) and then rising back up to where you were when you were a child.
  • Studies show the more spent on the wedding and engagement ring, the higher the rate of divorce. This could be that richer people can divorce and poorer people sometimes stay together for economic reasons. (my thought)
  • Find fresh starts, like start of month or week, anniversaries, etc. to spur productivity.
  • “uh-oh effect” – When teams reach the half-way point of a project, they feel a sense of urgency to get things done and the most creative portion of the process occurs then. Teams will go for a long time without anything creative and then at the midpoint, bam!, the magic happens.
  • Life is in three sections: 0-30 growing up / 30-60 – people are forging relationships that will help in the future /  from 60-90, people prune the peripheral friends and seek out only emotionally meaningful relationships and experiences; time is limited so they live in the here and now.
  • people like elevated endings, so if you have bad news and good news to deliver, give them the bad news first and good news second;
  • poignancy is a great word and emotion; it means an event or experience with a mix of sadness and happiness; this is especially true at the end of the year or graduation;



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