How I Work

Daniel Pink on coming up with great titles for projects, how he structures his working days, and why he doesn't believe in willpower.

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Episode notes

My guest today is Dan Pink. Dan is the author of six bestselling books, including Drive, A Whole New Mind, and his latest book "When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing", which has spent four months on the New York Times bestseller list. You might also be familiar with Dan through his TED talk about the surprising science of motivation, which has been viewed over 20 million times.

I am a big Dan Pink fan so I was very excited to be able to chat with him. I think he has such a knack for dissecting complex science and finding a way to make it not just accessible, but memorable and impactful for his readers.

We cover a bunch of things during this chat, including:

  • How Dan works out whether an idea is great or whether it stinks
  • How the idea behind his latest book "When" came to be
  • The importance of the structure of a book, and Dan’s approach to mapping out a book’s structure
  • Dan’s process for coming up with the title for a book or project
  • How he came up with the title for Adam Grant’s bestselling book Give and Take
  • Why Dan structures his work day into three distinct sections
  • Why Dan isn’t a big believer in willpower
  • How Dan constructs his working environment to make it easy to stay off digital distractions
  • Dan’s approach to radically reducing the amount of emails he receives
  • How Dan decides what to say yes to and what to say no to
  • Dan’s approach for saying no politely
  • Dan’s process for translating a book into a keynote speech
  • Why Dan asks his wife to read his books out loud to him during the editing process

Find out more about Dan at and subscribe to his newsletter right here. And you can check out his latest book When here.

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