Hidden Potential Book Summary - Hidden Potential Book explained in key points
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Hidden Potential summary

Adam Grant

The Science of Achieving Greater Things

4.5 (236 ratings)
16 mins
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    Hidden Potential
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    Character: The crucial ingredient

    In late-1980s Tennessee, 79 schools participated in a study to evaluate the impact of class size on learning. The study involved 11,000 students in different classrooms, ranging from kindergarten through to third grade. Around thirty years later, American economist Raj Chetty analyzed the data collected in this study to determine if any other factors influenced the children’s long-term success. What he found was astonishing.

    The now adults who were earning considerably more than their previous classmates weren’t the ones whose kindergarten teachers had focused on cognitive skills, like literacy and math. They were the kids whose teachers had encouraged non-academic skills, like being proactive, prosocial, determined, and disciplined. In the long run, kids who felt empowered to ask questions, work well with peers, tackle challenges, and stay focused became more professionally successful than those who had had higher cognitive skills at an early age.

    This is great news for everyone who wants to reach their full potential. Why? It essentially supports the idea that excellence comes down to character.

    Character is your capacity to prioritize what you care about over your instincts – or how you think, feel, and behave – especially when you’re under pressure. It allows you to overcome the unhelpful quirks of your personality – the tendency to be impulsive, for instance. In short, character isn’t who you innately are, but how you choose to conduct yourself. Better still, it’s something you can deliberately cultivate in order to boost your performance and success.

    So, how do you go about developing character?

    One of the most important habits you can adopt is to make mistakes. Yes – that’s right. Making mistakes is one of the best ways to unleash your potential.

    In many cultures, children are conditioned to believe that mistake-making is detrimental. After all, the number of mistakes you make will determine the grade on your report card. But this is a huge disservice. What’s far more valuable is getting comfortable with the discomfort and awkwardness of being underprepared with little knowledge.

    Say you want to learn a new language. The thought of stumbling your way through a conversation with limited vocabulary makes your stomach turn. So, you decide to study alone until you feel confident enough to test out your new skills in public. But realistically, you’re never going to feel ready. A much more effective strategy is to throw yourself in the deep end and realize that making a few – or even many – mistakes isn’t such a big deal.

    Embracing discomfort allows for accelerated learning and growth. Developing your character skills is the lifeboat that will carry you through the awkwardness of learning. And every success – however small – will keep you motivated on your journey to your potential.

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    What is Hidden Potential about?

    Hidden Potential (2023) challenges the notion that only those born with natural and exceptional talent can excel intellectually, artistically or athletically. Supported by groundbreaking research, it offers a framework that any individual can use to tap into their hidden potential and achieve more than they ever thought possible. 

    Hidden Potential Review

    Hidden Potential (2021) by Adam Grant uncovers the untapped abilities within each of us, showing how to unleash our hidden potential. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • With its compelling stories and insightful research, it presents a fresh perspective on unlocking our hidden talents and achieving success.
    • Practical strategies are offered to help readers tap into their untapped potential and make positive changes in their lives.
    • By challenging conventional thinking, Hidden Potential inspires readers to embrace their unique abilities and pursue their passions, making it an engaging and empowering read.

    Who should read Hidden Potential?

    • Novices wanting to master a challenging skill
    • Those who feel they’ve stagnated or plateaued
    • Leaders seeking to unlock the potential of others

    About the Author

    Adam Grant is an organizational psychologist and professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. A New York Times bestselling author, his books include Think Again, Originals, and Give and Take. His podcasts ReThinking and Work Life have millions of listeners. Grant has been named one of Fortune’s 40 Under 40. 

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    Hidden Potential FAQs 

    What is the main message of Hidden Potential?

    Unleash your hidden potential and achieve success by embracing your unique strengths and pursuing your passions.

    How long does it take to read Hidden Potential?

    The reading time for Hidden Potential varies, but it typically takes a few hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Hidden Potential a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Discover your hidden potential with Hidden Potential. The book provides valuable insights and practical strategies for personal growth.

    Who is the author of Hidden Potential?

    Adam Grant is the author of Hidden Potential.