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 "average person," judged according to how closely we resemble the average--or how far we exceed it. The assumption that average-based yardsticks like academic GPAs, personality tests, and annual performance reviews reveal something meaningful about our ability is so ingrained in our consciousness that we never question it. But this assumption, argues Harvard scientist Todd Rose, is spectacularly wrong.
In The End of Average, Rose, the director of the Mind, Brain, and Education program at Harvard University, uses the new science of the individual to reveal the remarkable fact that no one is average. Not your neighbors, not your co-workers, not your kids, and not you. This isn’t hollow sloganeering or ivory tower esoterica—it’s a frank mathematical fact with enormous practical consequences for your chances for success. Our schools and businesses are all designed to evaluate and promote talent based upon the mythical notion of the average person, a one-size-fits-all model that ignores the true nature of our individuality. But in The End of Average, Rose finally provides the tools to break free.
Weaving science, history, and his own experiences as a high school dropout, Rose offers a powerful alternative to the average--three key principles derived from the science of the individual: The jaggedness principle (talent is never one-dimensional), the context principle (personality traits do not exist), and the pathways principle (we all walk the road less traveled). These "principles of individuality" unveil our true uniqueness, long obscured by an educational system and workplace that relentlessly judges our value by weighing us against the average.
An empowering manifesto in the ranks of Drive, Quiet, Mindset, and The Power of Habit—Dr. Rose's book will enable you to reach your full potential by leveraging what is truly distinctive about you.
“Todd Rose has achieved a rare feat: he is both provocative and right. He overturns our fundamental assumptions about talent, and offers an empowering way to rethink the world. With exciting stories, fresh data, and bold ideas, this book is far better than average.” —Adam Grant, Wharton professor and New York Times bestselling author of Give and Take and Originals
“Fascinating, engaging, and practical. Todd Rose dispels the myth that our success can be divined by a simple number or average, whether a grade, a score in a standardized test, or a ranking at work. The End of Average will help everyone—and I mean everyone—live up to their potential.” —Amy Cuddy, professor at Harvard Business School, and author of Presence
“Consistently mind-blowing!” —Dan Heath, co-author of the New York Times bestsellers Made to Stick, Switch, and Decisive
“Todd Rose shows that everything we think we know about ‘average’ performance is wrong. In fact, our one-dimensional understanding of achievement—our search for the average score, average grade, average talent—has seriously underestimated human potential. This book is readable, enlightening, and way above average.” —Daniel H. Pink, New York Times bestselling author of To Sell Is Human and Drive
“Todd Rose’s thought-provoking book challenges the explanatory power of the everyday term ‘average,’ opening our minds to new ways of conceptualizing human variation and human potentials.” —Howard Gardner, author of Truth, Beauty, and Goodness Reframed
“In the midst of a war for talent, we miss huge opportunities to find it. This stunning book shows how almost all the measures we use reduce complicated individuals to one-dimensional beings. As a result, we overlook how talent, context, and disposition fold together to create individual uniqueness. I couldn’t put this book down.” —John Seely Brown, independent co-chair of Deloitte’s Center for the Edge and coauthor of The Social Life of Information, The Power of Pull and The New Culture of Learning
“A must read for anyone who serves or creates solutions for other human beings. It serves not only as a guide for how to rethink our systems but in many ways is the best self-help book I've ever read.” —Jim Shelton, Chief Impact Officer, 2U, Inc., and former United States Deputy Secretary of Education
“The future belongs to enterprises that learn how to value individual employees and individual students, and Dr. Rose's eye-opening account of the fascinating new science of the individual shows a practical path to the adoption of individuality.” —Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari, Inc., and author of Finding the Next Steve Jobs
One of nine leadership books to watch for in 2016. —The Washington Post
One of seven books to read in January 2016. —Fast Company's Co.Create
Selected for Amazon.com's 'Best Business & Leadership Books' in January 2016.
"Readers will be moved to examine their own averagerian prejudices, most so ingrained as to be almost invisible, all worthy of review." —New York Times