The one sentence summary

Long hours, excessive workloads and functioning with a lack of sleep should be marks of stupidity, not badges of honour.

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  • This book is a direct attack on the chaos, anxiety and stress that hamper billions of workers every day. The answer to better productivity isn’t more hours – it’s less waste and fewer things that induce distraction and persistent stress. It’s time to stop celebrating ‘crazy’ and start celebrating ‘calm’.
  • Things that don’t work include 80-hour weeks, packed schedules, endless meetings, an overflowing inbox, unrealistic deadlines, Sunday afternoon emails, being stuck at the office, having no time to think, and throwing all-nighters.
  • You can still operate a perfectly successful business in 8-hour days, 40-hour weeks, with plenty of time to yourself, comfortably paced days, no weekend work, no rushing, realistic deadlines, no knee-jerk reactions, a great night’s sleep, ample autonomy, and the ability to work from anywhere.
  • There are two primary reasons why ‘crazy’ has become ‘the new normal’:
  1. The workday is being sliced into tiny, fleeting work moments by an onslaught of physical and visual distractions.
  2. An unhealthy obsession with growth at any cost sets towering, unrealistic expectations that stress people out.
  • The authors are advocates of calm, which means protecting people’s time and attention, working 40 hours a week, reasonable expectations, ample time off, and meetings as a last resort.
  • The business world is obsessed with fighting and winning. It’s a zero-sum world in which they conquer market share rather than earn it, capture customers rather than serve them. They target customers, pick their battles and make a
  • “Comparison is the death of joy.” Mark Twain. In other words, be content with what you achieve and be a pacifist, not a belligerent Napoleon. This is related to the obsession with comparing best practice. In many instances, there is no evidence to suggest that the so-called ‘best practice’ being offered will suit your company’s circumstances, so it might even be worst practice.


  • When people focus on productivity, they end up focusing on being busy, filling every moment with something more to do. Instead, they should believe in effectiveness: how little can we do? How much can we cut out? Instead of adding to-dos, add to-don’ts.
  • When someone makes a proposal, don’t provide a knee-jerk first impression. Considered feedback, delivered after some decent reflection time, is far preferable.
  • JOMO is the joy of missing out.
  • Go for commitment, not consensus. You’ll never get everyone to agree on everything, and someone has to make a decision, so disagree and commit. If you are outvoted, step back and support those who have outvoted you.
  • “There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.” Peter Drucker
  • You need to be able to say no. No is easier to do, yes is easier to say. No is specific, yes is general. No is calm but hard, yes is easy but a flurry.
  • Being calm is in the black, being crazy is in the red.


  • Not much. This is a clarion call for companies to work more sensibly.