Are you above average? Is your child an A student? Is your employee an introvert or an extrovert? Every day we are measured against the yardstick of averages, judged according to how close we come to it or how far we deviate from it.
The assumption that metrics comparing us to an average-like GPAs, personality test results, and performance review ratings-reveal something meaningful about our potential is so ingrained in our consciousness that we don't even question it. That assumption, says Harvard's Todd Rose, is spectacularly-and scientifically-wrong.
In The End of Average, Rose, a rising star in the new field of the science of the individual, shows that no one is average. Not you. Not your kids. Not your employees. This isn't hollow sloganeering-it's a mathematical fact with enormous practical consequences.
But while we know people learn and develop in distinctive ways, these unique patterns of behaviors are lost in our schools and businesses, which have been designed around the mythical "average person". This average-size-fits-all model ignores our differences and fails at recognizing talent. It's time to change it.
Weaving science, history, and his personal experiences as a high school dropout, Rose offers a powerful alternative to understanding individuals through averages: the three principles of individuality. The jaggedness principle (talent is always jagged), the context principle (traits are a myth), and the pathways principle (we all walk the road less traveled) help us understand our true uniqueness - and that of others - and how to take full advantage of individuality to gain an edge in life.
Listen to this powerful manifesto in the ranks of Drive, Quiet, and Mindset - and you won't see averages or talent in the same way again.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
©2015 L. Todd Rose (P)2015 HarperCollins Publishers
Both the strength and the weakness of this book is that it weaves such a strong narrative around its central thesis: using averages to understand people is seductive and pervasive, but ultimately destructive, and it's only by truly understanding the individual that we can make progress.
The quality of the narration reflects my reservation with the book as a whole. It's excellently and confidently read, but the tone it's presented in strikes an uncomfortable balance between a popular science book and a 5-steps-to-success style self-improvement manual. I found myself flicking between being astounded by the exposé of how "averagarian" thinking pervades our lives, and wincing at the overstretching the book does to tie the wide-ranging topics it covers into a single timeline of cause and effect.
This unwavering structure certainly makes for a focused and compelling read, but also overcooks the message and leans on some ungrounded generalizations. The constant inference that runs throughout is that the book's solutions to the very real problems it investigates are THE solutions to personal well-being, financial success and social harmony. Ironically, as it introduces you to a range of genuinely fascinating and paradigm-shifting ideas, the book itself can provide you with the critical framework needed to question its own sweeping conclusions.
Hyperbolic presentation aside, the ideas contained within are presented with clarity, backed up with references to fascinating studies and real-world examples, and clearly ARE powerful tools for understanding... potentially even revolutionary ones. It's the sort of read that makes you want to stop every few paragraphs to tell someone the mind-blowingly simple idea you've just discovered, or recount the results of a startling psychological study.
I truly hope the precepts of individualism that this book presents spread. But I also hope that they're not treated as the one-range-of-sizes-fit-all solutions that they're presented as, or the future might render them as limiting as the once-compelling ideas of averagearianism that they aim to replace. It would be a shame if 100 years from now your kids are reading "The End of the Individual: How We Progress in a World That Can't See Beyond the Singular".
"A must read for school administrators"
I really think that many school administrators should read this book. Perhaps they could find ways to change the overall structure of our institutions in a way that honors the individuality of each and every student and leads to better success. I also believe that the pathways principal is an obvious part of education that honors our individuality. Competencies and credentialing are the coming age.
"Fantastic look at how our paradigms need to shift"
This is a fabulous account of how "averagist" thinking has permeated so many aspects of society. This book is a critical read for people involved in transforming social systems.
"A MUST READ!"
A colleague recommended this book, and I am so grateful he did. This is a mind changing book. I believe every parent and educator needs to read this book. We are all geniuses, but in different areas. No one is average!
"What a hole we have dug."
It is incredible what a hole society has dug for itself with averagism. And how it is still embraced by so many institutions in spite of the science to the contrary. Fortunately some organizations are brave enough to explore alternatives. There may be hope for us yet. :-)
Change your thinking to make the world a better place to live for all of us!
There was a bit of redundancy in this lecture, but overall packed with great information.
"Please let this be the end of average"
this book put into words what I've always felt that the "system" doesn't include those that think or learn differently. I've been a huge proponent of Lou Adler and performance based hiring. I'm a recruiter that sees beyond the resume and looks for true fit of an individual within an organization. Everyone has a gift to bring to this world!
"Open up to new ideas"
I have listened to the book once and find myself wanting to listen again. I've already encouraged family, friends, and co-workers to check out this book. May we seriously cons
"Informative and great narration"
Very good in providing a scientific a approach to success. Definitely reenforces what I always knew about success. Recommend if enjoyed reading Malcom Gladwell books.
"Recognizing Our Future"
Yes, absolutely! This book describes the phenomena of averages so deeply ingrained into our current culture that I hadn't really considered the consequences. In a society of average people, earning an average income, acting in the normal way, it is essential to recognize that each of us deviates from the average in such important ways that designing for the average person means designing for no one.
There are a lot of good stories sprinkled throughout the book that add to the listen-ability of the overall work. I think one of the most memorable moments for me was when I realized the argument wasn't about "the end of average" in that we'll all be exceptional, but "the end of average" in that notions of average and deviation are woefully insufficient for a meaningful future.
Fred Sanders is one of the best male audio book narrators in the business. He carries this title well!
Whether or not you buy into the argument, this book will almost certainly impact how society incorporates the notion of average into our medical, education, engineering, and design projects.
If you enjoy Daniel Pink, Simon Sinek, or Malcolm Gladwell - you'll enjoy this book!
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