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Publisher's Summary

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.
©2015 L. Todd Rose (P)2015 HarperCollins Publishers
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Customer Reviews

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By Tim Welch on 03-10-16

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.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful


By La Mar Sheppard on 01-23-17

Started as an interesting title...

Turned out to be one of the best books I've read in the last year. Highly recommend this book.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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By Anonymous User on 09-28-17

Excellent listen

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it has positively impacted my world view and will inform my delivery style as a teacher

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful


By Mr. P. Duffield on 09-02-16

Compelling and Eye-Opening but Hyperbolic

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".

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By John on 01-24-17

Thought Provoking

It's as simple and as complex as my headline. Todd Rose has distilled one of the most important social underpinnings that has misguided our social and educational institutions into a succinct dimension - the average.what it means to each and every one of us will be different so I won't suppose how important it may be to you who read this review,what I can say Is it gave me insight into what I had thought about the world and how I shall interact with it in the future.
This is indeed a book for the ages.

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