Thursday, December 07, 2023

Hidden Potential by Adam Grant

Hidden Potential by Adam Grant is an interesting book subtitled The Science of Achieving Greater Things and split into three sections, with three chapters in each:

Skills of Character - getting better at through character skills

Chapter 1: Creatures of Discomfort - embrace awkwardness and do things, don't be afraid of being embarrassed 

Chapter 2: Human Sponges - rather than asking for feedback, it's better to ask for advice on how to improve at something, asking what you can do better elicits more specific suggestions and input that can help you

Chapter 3: The Imperfectionists - it's not a perfect world, it's ok to make mistakes, or deal with things as they are and appreciate flaws, judge on your best moments, not your worst, ask multiple you trust people to score the work you do

Structures for Motivation - get the scaffolding to help you when you need it

Chapter 4: Transforming the Daily Grind - make practice fun, enjoy the time you spend on things, play at things, make a game out of drills

Chapter 5: Getting Unstuck - try different things, be willing to start over or go backwards in an effort, take a detour and spend time on something else to get unstuck or reach a goal

Chapter 6: Defying Gravity - work together to accomplish something, the tutor effect... be a teacher of something at the same time you're a student, encouraging others helps us find our own motivation, making progress can be about simply bouncing back and not quitting

Systems of Opportunity - open doors for people underrated or overlooked

Chapter 7: Every Child Gets Ahead - Finland's educational system has created a culture of opportunity that assumes everyone can excel, just some might need more personalized support

Chapter 8: Mining for Gold - the 2010 rescue of 33 men from a Chilean mine, with ideas of how to keep them alive and then get them to safety sourced from a wide spectrum of people, the best leaders have prosocial skills and are often the best listeners

Chapter 9: Diamonds in the Rough - astronaut Jose Hernandez and his path to getting accepted by NASA into the program, setting up people for success in interviews by helping them be comfortable and talk about their interests and passions

It's an excellent read and Grant in the epilogue tells about interviewing for admission to Harvard, getting in and then once there, turning down the remedial writing course that he was pointed to and getting an A in the regular course, which led to his interest in psychology and writing. Grant closes the book with "success is more than reaching our goals - it's living our values. There's no higher value than aspiring to be better tomorrow than we are today. There's no greater accomplishment than unleashing our hidden potential."