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Bibliography about Adam Grant’s self-help book ‘Hidden Potential’


There are many books out there that claim to unlock the keys to improved “performance.”

You have a clear self-help book like “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey and “The 4-Hour Workweek” by Tim Ferriss. Books like Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers” or Angela Duckworth’s “Courage: The Power of Passion and Perseverance” look at social science research and give us measurements like Gladwell’s “10,000 hour rule” or Duckworth’s “Courage Scale”. It gives things that provide. potential for success. There seems to be an inexhaustible desire for knowledge and advice when it comes to becoming better at whatever we are.

I normally avoid these books because, in my opinion, they take something extremely complex – the variability of human motivation, behavior and individual circumstances – and try to reduce them to something oversimplified, like if you just practice for 10,000 hours you will achieve success. mastery of what you practice.

But I recently heard a podcast interview with organizational psychologist and bestselling author Adam Grant about his new book, “Hidden Potential: The Science of Achieving Greater Things.” In many ways, I see Grant’s book as an antidote to Duckworth’s “Courage”; This book has been used – in many cases against Duckworth’s clear warnings – as a cudgel to blame people who struggle for their own struggles because they lack that ineffable quality known as “courage.” .”

As someone who is known to be inherently lazy when it comes to certain activities (homework, chores, etc.), but who also reads almost the entire “World Book Encyclopedia” for fun and manages to make his interests satisfying and sustainable in my career, I have always been ” I have always thought that being fit is more important to perseverance and success than courage.

While Grant’s book still explores the types of individual mindsets that pave the way to successful development (most importantly becoming a sponge for the knowledge and experience that others have to impart), the bulk of the book explores the conditions that allow people to have the best possible. chance of success.

For example, Grant explores “motivational structures,” examining how important it is to make the practice thoroughly enjoyable by making it fresh and original, rather than endlessly repeating the same actions. It also highlights the necessity of experiencing productive failure, where the attempt is valued more than the outcome, to motivate subsequent attempts.

In his chapters on “opportunity systems,” he notes that our schools, workplaces, and processes for identifying and nurturing “talent” are woefully incompatible with the goals we claim to be. His work on schooling is particularly important and suggests that the practices of standardization and competition that undergird our American system need to be fundamentally rethought; It’s a position I sympathize with, as as a writing teacher I’ve witnessed firsthand the harms of such things.

Despite dozens of pages of background sources drawn from academic research and Grant’s own original interviews, the book is relentlessly breezy, covering topics such as how Steph Curry became a basketball prodigy, what makes Finnish schools so successful, and what football in Chile is like. It is full of narrative examples. miners were rescued.

Grant occasionally commits what I consider to be a few misdeeds when it comes to smoothing out some of the complexities of his main points, but compared to how I read most books in this genre, I’m banging my head on the desk. an oversimplification, “Hidden Potential” is pretty subtle.

I hope this is a book that penetrates the classes of people who make the rules the rest of us follow. For the rest of us, it would be nice to have to confirm your suspicions even though you know what’s being asked of you doesn’t make sense.

John Warner is the author of “Why They Can’t Write: Killing the Five-Paragraph Essay and Other Requirements.”

Twitter @biblioracle

Book recommendations from Biblioracle

John Warner tells you what you should read, based on the last five books you’ve read.

1. “Leave the World Behind” By Ruman Alam

2. “Everything I Don’t Remember” By Jonas Hassen Khemiri

3. “Circle” By Madeline Miller

4. “Five Tuesdays in Winter” By Lily King

5. “The Wager: A Story of Shipwreck, Mutiny and Murder” By David Grann

—Marie J., Wilmette

I think Donna Tartt’s “The Goldfinch” will be a perennial seller for the foreseeable future, and in that case, it’s a good bet for Marie.

1. “Walk in the Forest” by Bill Bryson

2. “Chemistry Lessons” By Bonnie Garmus

3. “Tom Lake” By Ann Patchett

4. “Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty” By Patrick Radden Keefe

5. “The President is Missing” by James Patterson and Bill Clinton

—Christine S., Downers Grove

A deeply felt family story for Christine that allows us to get closer to these characters: “Morningside Heights” by Joshua Henkin.

1. “The Future is Women! 25 Classic Science Fiction Stories Written by Women, From Pulp Pioneers to Ursula K. Le Guin Edited by: Lisa Yaszek

2. “Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom” by David W. Blight

3. “A Little Bit of Lafayette in the United States” By Sarah Vowell

4. “The Waste Land and Other Poems” by TS Eliot

5. “The Wright Brothers” By David McCullough

—Arturo M., Mount Prospect

Abolitionist John Brown has been a frequent source for interesting novelizations, including James McBride’s “The Good Lord Bird,” but for Arturo, I’ll return to one more book that I think has been sadly overlooked: Bruce Olds’ His book “Raising Holy Hell”.

Get a reading from Bibliocle

Send a list of the last five books you read and your hometown to: biblioracle@gmail.com.


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