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.
Rose will change the way you see culture, school, work and everyone around you. Taylorism is officially dead. With compelling stories and an engaging style, he transforms our understanding of who we are and what’s important.
In the midst of a war for talent, we miss opportunities to find it. This stunning book shows how almost all measures we use reduce complicated individuals to one-dimensional beings...[and] overlook how talent, context, and disposition fold together to create individual uniqueness. I couldn’t put this book down.
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.
Todd Rose shows that everything we think we know about ‘average’ performance is wrong. In fact, our one-dimensional understanding of achievementour search for the average score, average grade, average talenthas seriously underestimated human potential. This book is readable, enlightening, and way above average.
[S]ubversive and readable. . . . What has been called the new science of the individual.
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.
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.
Fascinating and engaging. 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 ranking at work. The End of Average will help everyoneand I mean everyonelive up to their potential.
[Rose’s] personal experiences are recounted hearteningly in his book. That alone makes it a worthwhile read for the aspiring nonconformist.
Rose (educational neuroscience, Harvard Graduate Sch. of Education; Square Peg) presents an intriguing analysis of the science of the individual and its implications for education, the workforce, and society. His analysis reveals that computing the average of something does not mean that any one individual data element included in that calculation will equal the resulting average. In other words, he explains that there is no such thing as an average kid, employee, athlete, or anything. Rose applies his mathematical analysis to numerous data calculations common in today's society, including school progress, child development, employee performance, business product specifications, mental agility, and military preparedness. His alternative that better understands individuals includes 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). Rose's focus is on finding ways of appreciating the uniqueness of each person and how to maximize the full power of individuality vs. trying to fit behavior into any mathematically calculated average expectation. This is an important contribution to the highly specialized field of statistics and probability as exemplified in Stephen M. Stigler's The History of Statistics and Statistics on the Table, and Frederic M. Lord and Melvin R. Novick's Statistical Theories of Mental Test Scores. VERDICT Rose's scholarly analysis is most relevant to university libraries supporting intelligence and personality testing, psychological and sociological research, and economics.—Dale Farris, Groves, TX
Rose (Director, Mind, Brain, and Education Program/Harvard Univ.; Square Peg: My Story and What it Means for Raising Innovators, Visionaries, and Out-of-the-Box Thinkers, 2013) rejects the faulty benchmark of average and advocates for principles of individuality in schools and businesses. The author opens with an account of U.S. Air Force pilots in the late 1940s who found that they could not retain control of the faster and more complicated jet-powered airplanes. The problem, which was costly to the Air Force in both equipment and personnel, was found to be rooted in the design of the planes' cockpits, which had been created uniformly for the "average pilot," a person who only existed in a statistical aggregate. After extensive research, when the Air Force adopted the guiding principle of individual fit—adjustable seats, foot pedals, helmet straps, and flight suits—the matter was solved, planes ceased crashing, and pilot performance skyrocketed. Springboarding from this provocative anecdote, Rose, a pioneer in the new "science of the individual," argues that while average is a useful concept when discussing groups of people, it is a useless measurement with regard to individuals and should be abandoned. From its beginnings with a Belgian astronomer in the early 19th century, Rose traces the evolution of average as a measurement as well as its pervasive infiltration into schools and the workplace in the forms of GPAs, standardized testing, performance reviews, and personality tests. He then turns his attention to the principles that underlie the emergent science of individuality to speak to the complexities belied by "averagarian" thinking. Finally, he provides a handful of examples of companies whose commitment to its employees as individuals forms the bedrock of their success, and he speaks to the shortcomings of our current higher educational system, touching lightly on alternative approaches. An intriguing view into the evolution and imperfections of our current system but lacking a clear path toward implementing the proposed principles of individuality.