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Publisher's Summary

A groundbreaking exploration of how finding one's way later in life can be an advantage to long-term achievement and happiness.

“What Yogi Berra observed about a baseball game - it ain't over till it's over - is true about life, and [Late Bloomers] is the ultimate proof of this.... It’s a keeper.” (Forbes)

We live in a society where kids and parents are obsessed with early achievement, from getting perfect scores on SATs to getting into Ivy League colleges to landing an amazing job at Google or Facebook - or even better, creating a start-up with the potential to be the next Google, Facebook or Uber. We see coders and entrepreneurs becoming millionaires or billionaires before age 30 and feel we are failing if we are not one of them.

Late bloomers, on the other hand, are undervalued - in popular culture, by educators and employers, and even unwittingly by parents. Yet the fact is a lot of us - most of us - do not explode out of the gates in life. We have to discover our passions, talents, and gifts. That was true for author Rich Karlgaard, who had a mediocre academic career at Stanford (which he got into by a fluke) and after graduating, worked as a dishwasher and night watchman before finally finding the inner motivation and drive that ultimately led him to start up a high-tech magazine in Silicon Valley and eventually to become the publisher of Forbes magazine.

There is a scientific explanation for why so many of us bloom later in life. The executive function of our brains doesn't mature until age 25 - and later for some. In fact, our brain's capabilities peak at different ages. We actually enjoy multiple periods of blooming in our lives. Moreover, late bloomers enjoy hidden strengths because they take their time to discover their way in life - strengths coveted by many employers and partners - including curiosity, insight, compassion, resilience, and wisdom. 

Based on several years of research, personal experience, and interviews with neuroscientists, psychologists, and countless people at different stages of their careers, Late Bloomers reveals how and when we achieve our full potential.

Praise for Late Bloomers

“The underlying message that we should ‘consider a kinder clock for human development’ is a compelling one.” (Financial Times)

Late Bloomers spoke to me deeply as a parent of two millennials and as a coach to many new college grads (the children of my friends and associates). It’s a bracing tonic for the anxiety they are swimming through, with a facts-based approach to help us all calm down.” (Robin Wolaner, founder of Parenting magazine) 

©2019 Rich Karlgaard (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“I’m tempted to say this book was long overdue, but the truth is that it couldn’t come at a better time. Rich Karlgaard makes a commanding case against the wunderkind ideal, in favor of recognizing that late bloomers often prove to be the most radiant. If you’ve ever known someone who was overlooked or underestimated - or been that someone - you’ll immediately appreciate the importance of this message. Reading it is an utter delight.” (Adam Grant, New York Times best-selling author of Originals and Give and Take)

“Despite Aesop’s warnings, our society still admires the hare more than the tortoise. We deify those who burst out of life’s starting blocks and disdain those who take time to find their pace. But that’s a colossal mistake, says Rich Karlgaard in his powerful new book. Drawing on a deep reservoir of science, Karlgaard shows that many of us - perhaps most of us - peak well after our wunderkind years as we acquire the wisdom, resilience, and equanimity necessary for genuine achievement. Deftly written and deeply researched, Late Bloomers will change the conversation about success in America.” (Daniel H. Pink, author of When and Drive

"Late Bloomers spoke to me deeply as a parent of two millennials and as a coach to many new college grads (the children of my friends and associates). It's a bracing tonic for the anxiety they are swimming through, with a facts-based approach to help us all calm down." (Robin Wolaner, founder of Parenting Magazine) 

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Not self-help...but super effin’ helpful

Oh, wow. This book spoke to me on a level that no other has done to this point. The timing could not have been any better, too. My girlfriend is one of the “early bloomers” discussed in the book; scored 1580 combined on her SAT, accepted to Harvard...twice, and has done everything “the right way.” She hasn’t so much as received a traffic ticket, even. I, on the other hand, have had some experiences. I was a mediocre student with flashes of brilliance in areas I really liked and I easily dismissed subjects I didn’t care for, scored slightly above average on my SAT, graduated in the top quarter, and got into my first choice of university: the illustrious University of North Texas! Flunked our after my freshman year with a 1.75 GPA. Joined the Navy and did that for seven years...and I couldn’t even do that right: was discharged under “other than honorable” conditions. Worked in various sales jobs until I came into residential property management and I finally found something that I was both good at and enjoyed. And guess what? I messed that up, too. After becoming an “adult,” I would find myself in the pokey at least once a year for unpaid traffic tickets. I had a horrible temper. I was incredibly stubborn. I was clearly my own worst enemy. Fast forward to about three years ago and, shortly after deciding to go back to school once I found out that I was still eligible for my Montgomery GI benefits, I met my superstar girlfriend. She took interest in me but until just recently I was constantly worried that I wasn’t good enough for her due to her academic prowess and her faultless life. I believed her when she told me that my past snafus were not indicative of who I am and what I am capable of, especially considering the fact that I decided to go back to school to pursue a career in law, but because she was the “other,” her credibility wasn’t sufficient; I always felt as if her and those of her ilk were always secretly judging my every move and word, linking it back to my history of failure and surreptitiously casting me aside. All of these feelings have negatively impacted my academic performance - not as badly as the first time, but I’m not doing myself any favors by squeaking out Bs and a few As, especially considering that my top choice of law school is one where Bs as an undergrad is...well, I fear that my application will literally be laughed at upon receipt by admissions officials. I even started telling myself that becoming a lawyer isn’t for me because I’m too stupid for it. Then I heard of this book on NPR and figured it was worth listening to; I certainly felt as if I fall into the “late bloomer” category so maybe I could find some areas that relate to me and use them as sources of motivation. I didn’t expect the ENTIRE book to be relevant. I finished the audiobook in one setting and I walked away with a confidence that had been dormant for 37 years. I’m going to listen to it again and again until every single point is essentially committed to memory. This isn’t a word I use to describe many books, but this one is more than deserving of the distinction: liberating.

29 people found this helpful

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Inspirational

Nice inspirational piece with some neuro science backup as to why it's ok and sometimes better that you haven't accomplished anything into your 30's, 40's, or even beyond. There's still time to bloom, and your experience and wisdom may make it easier and more enjoyable.

10 people found this helpful

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Solid

The second half of the book, particularly the last two chapters, had some phenomenal, uplifting content. The author put his heart into it. It’s definitely worth the read. The first chapter was a little too strong on the thesis that we’re obsessed with early achievers. His point is well researched but the best tone for the book came later. So expect gold later in the book. Thank you for this fine piece of work, Mr. Karlgaard.

2 people found this helpful

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Impressive and inspirational

This book far exceeded my expectations. I read or listen to between 15 to 20 non-fiction books a year and this one stands out as one of the best of the last decade. I liked it so much I purchased a hardcover version for my personal collection so I can lend it out to friends and relatives. A great book for anyone dreaming of realizing their full potential.

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Biased and a lot of stretching

It was pretty inspirational, but there are a lot of moments that this author stretches stories to fit into the "early bloomer" narrative. It's an interesting perspective, but it wasn't fully backed up with proof, just hunches. I would only recommend this to people who are worried about not succeeding enough early in life. But as a person who is pretty confident in himself, it's pretty useless. It does it's job though, I'd say.

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Another self help book....not bad...not special

Most self help books tend to follow a particular format. You start with a supposedly unorthodox, inspiring, contradictory success story. Then go on to make a general summary of the thesis of the book followed with deep dive into elements of the thesis. Then comes the combination of anecdotes, study, study, anecdote, general statements, epiphany (if any). This sub format then goes into pretty much all chapters. Study after study is cited to backup the supposed insight. Who has time, interest to check these suspect studies. May be they are right, may be they are flawed. I take most studies that connect the dots of human success stories with a spoon of salt. Yet, a self help book of this kind, tend to present a unique or important perspective every now and then. This particular book is focused on one thing. Do not stereotype people's abilities based on their age. or , simply do not age discriminate and undervalue them. There are good reasons to not do that as the author clearly makes the case over and over again. This should be plain and obvious, but there is always a period where one trend trumps others and apparently in silicon valley, its the bias against aged employees. Surely not in centuries old industries like law, politics, teaching, academia, oil and gas, automobile, movie industry, medical professionals, etc etc. So, you see, the discrimination or rather illusion of early bloomer primacy is not all pervasive. There are places where it did not gain foothold. Sometimes entire countries can do the opposite,i.e., discriminate against young age. So i will classify this as largely for silicon valley audience and American in nature. The second point is irrelevant from a purely american view point. The book offers a good deal of insights but they are scattered over a large volume of fluff. Especially if you are not new to self help genre , you will find it tough to keep up with the filler. if only the book was half of its size, it would be a great read. 1. The case of human measurement is overdosed with SAT. Although some points are valid, this could be said in a page or two. There are always imperfect methods of human measurement which will continued to be tested and tried, just because we have to do these kind of things to run companies, schools. I do agree the tests itself should be a slow boil, comprehensive and most importantly continually innovated. 2. The stories in kinder clock and strengths of late bloomers are interesting to some extent. However, any success story can be reduced to the your own set of key strengths. There are very few times, these stories are self evident and singularly dependent on one or other. Its a unbelievable stretch at places. 3. The strange part is the way author jumps from advising 'embracing quit' to 'not falling for self handicapping' with no clear nuance. Between cultural forces, self doubt and quitting acts, author is all over the place. It's as if, he wrote these chapters at different times dealing in an entirely contradictory mind states. There is a way to interpret that author suggests the right balance. But, that will be the most vague ,'somehow get it right, do it right' sort of shallow advise. When you suggest everything under sun, you suggested nothing. 4. Lastly, 'repotting' is the worst idea I see in this book. For all of its good insights and highlighting the important issue, this one negates the first half of the book. I understand doing something intelligently. But repotting underestimates the random luck, discourages the bolder approaches , all without any good reason. Bottom line - Good to read once. Has some good material, offers a good philosophy of looking at talent from all ages, but un-necessarily dabbles in stitching too much "evidence' for what is simply a way of looking at things.

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I needed this

This book was much needed. It bolstered my confidence and optimism. I can still bloom. I'm not a lost cause.

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Another great book

This book was suggested to me by a friend and I enjoyed reading it thoroughly as I've just turned 40. The idea of late blooming becomes a little bit more intriguing as I wonder if I am a later bloomer. Nevertheless, there are lessons here for the younger people as well or fondly referred to in this book wunderkind.

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Best book I’ve read

I finished hearing the greatest story of all time. The review said I need six more words, so I gave twelve

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Still listening but…

So far this is less about late bloomers and more about early bloomers and their falls from great heights and the systems that are pressuring young people to achieve early. I was hoping the focus here would actually be on late bloomers, but the content is interesting and the narrator is good for the subject matter.