Great at Work

Great at Work

How Top Performers Do Less, Work Better, and Achieve More

Simon & Schuster, 2018 more...

Editorial Rating



  • Applicable
  • Well Structured
  • Concrete Examples


Business professor Morten T. Hansen launched a massive research project into what “working smarter” actually means. He tracked the practices and performance of 5,000 managers and employees and distilled the data into seven top-performance principles. The principles are simple – for example, winnow your tasks to the important few and focus on them intensely. Putting them into practice amid the pressures of modern business is more difficult. Hansen offers illuminating stories of people who use his principles effectively. The co-author of Great by Choice with Jim Collins, Hansen is an engaging writer who can find the drama in even dry business histories as he explicates the principles that underlie his stories. Anyone in the work world will gain focus and efficiency by reading this manual.

Working Smart

In 2011, Business professor Morten T. Hansen studied the work habits of 5,000 managers and employees to determine how and why some people excel. His team found that the top performers generally don’t work longer hours. Instead, they make each hour count by following seven “work-smart” principles. “Being great at work,” Hansen writes, “means performing in your job, infusing your work with passion and a strong sense of purpose, and living well, too.”

Principle One: “Do Less; Then Obsess”

When people strive to excel, Hansen points out, they often decide they should work more than everyone else. They load up their schedules with every available project and work long hours in hopes of accomplishing it all. Since they don’t have the time or resources to master the intricacies of all these tasks, they’re unlikely to turn in first-rate work on any of them. People who are overwhelmed need to coordinate the way their many tasks relate to each other, but instead they often end up constantly multitasking – that is, shifting their attention among activities, thus reducing their effectiveness at each task.

About the Author

Morten T. Hansen, PhD, is a management professor at the University of California, Berkeley and is on the faculty at Apple University. He also wrote Collaboration and co-authored the New York Times bestseller Great by Choice with Jim Collins.

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