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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.

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

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My first book in Audible and I got hooked

This is the first book I purchased from Audible. I started “reading” on Thursday and finished it on Saturday. It’s rare that I am able to finish a book in 3 days but I got hooked because of the content and the narration quality. I am not good at listening but I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to focus and concentrate on this book. In those three days, I was able to repeat several chapters that I needed to review, considering I was reading during work breaks and commute. I just found the format of a narrated book very convenient. I am convinced about the idea of average being broken. I like how Todd Rose presented the theoretical foundations that support the principles he presented. I like the examples because they gave me a clear handle on implementing the principles in real life. I highly recommend this book to all who want to recognize and develop the talents of others and their own.

AUDIBLE 20 REVIEW SWEEPSTAKES ENTRY

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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.

7 people found this helpful

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Good intentions, terrible execution

Todd Rose has a chip on his shoulder. It shows clearly in this book. Even if he gradually eases off on the pedal during this book, (it becomes a tad more nuanced towards the end) it is clear that he has found an enemy in 'average' (or, what he thinks 'average' is), and what he refers to as 'averagerians'. The problem is that he tries to take all the situations he dislikes in a variety of fields (health care, military, education, industry) and tries to find a way to pin the problems on the 'average' mindset. After a promising first chapter, it becomes unsustainable very quickly. Let me give an example; Todd Rose says that the recruitment policy in corporate business is flawed, because employers are looking to find talent that is performing better than average on tests. But 'average' has nothing to do with this behaviour! Employers are looking to find the best talent, period. The 'average' part can be completely omitted, but Rose shoves it in anyway, making it apparent that he does what he can to pin everything on this concept. He is much better off when he momentarily talks about the flaws in one-dimentional assessment systems, or the jaggedness principle, but alas, he turns it into a lynch rally against 'averageness'. I have spent quite some time debunking Taylorism and the likes, much like Rose is attempting to do in this book. But even I can see Rose is trying to steer the fire in the wrong direction. Rose proposes that we go for a system that is more based on individuality than on scores from standardised tests. All is well with that, but very few suggestions on 'how' to do such a thing. A few hand-wavy examples is all he offers. Like my review title says, Rose may have good intentions, but this book is a shot in the dark. I would say skip it, and go look elsewhere.

2 people found this helpful

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Yes! Yes! Yes!

Todd Rose eloquently explains how the world came to embrace the factory model and why it no longer meets the needs of humanity. I have listened to this book twice on my commute to work (I currently teach physics in a public high school) and every day I listen I think to myself where were you in 1997 when I graduated with is business degree and wanted to change the business model only to be reminded that a woman was supposed to look nice, fetch coffee, and not disrupt the status quo. This is a must read.

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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.

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A MUST READ!

Would you listen to The End of Average again? Why?

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!

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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. :-)

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Helpful

There was a bit of redundancy in this lecture, but overall packed with great information.

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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!

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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

1 person found this helpful

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  • Darlene Peters
  • 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

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mr. P. Duffield
  • 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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  • Steve Biddick
  • 08-20-19

An absolute solid-gold must-read.

Whether you're an educational or an epidemiologist, this is a call to arms to address the hidden, Victorian-era bad math plaguing every level of social policy. Concise of means, direct and data-as well as anecdotally-driven, this is a book which leads me scratching my head over the common errors I make in decision making as well as leaving the glow of a few surprising self-congratulatory pats on the back for stuff I previously thought incongruous - well it turns out I was right all along! Don't think twice...

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  • G. Rimmer
  • 02-15-18

It's not rocket science

This book shines a light on what seems intuitively right; that we're all individuals with our own strengths and weaknesses and that we're all completely different. Makes sense. But what it also does, is demonstrate that we mostly ignore these facts in the way that we organise everything in society. Resulting in a complete disregard for our 'jaggedness', our difference, our uniqueness. We miss out on hidden talents and it stops us from fully contributing and achieving our potential. Loved this book and the application of it's ideas in the education sector could be revolutionary for a lot of our kids.

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  • @TeacherToolkit
  • 02-01-18

Incredible

I absolutely loved this book. It simply affirmed and put into words, not only what I’ve felt as a teacher and school leader of 24 years, but what I also was a by-product of as a child. Rose puts forward some clear alternatives for every education institution, but I fear we are light years away from its implementation, simply because schools lack the funding to teach creatively and those who lead schools, jump hoops by external watchdogs in order to pay the mortgage. The American dream? Let’s make it everyone’s dream.

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  • John
  • 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.