Late Bloomers Book Summary - Late Bloomers Book explained in key points
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Late Bloomers summary

Rich Karlgaard

The Power of Patience in a World Obsessed with Early Achievement

4.6 (251 ratings)
23 mins
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    Late Bloomers
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    The rise of the wunderkind set a standard of early achievement for millennials.

    Let’s begin with a story of an early bloomer – a person who matures faster than average.

    Pop-neuroscience writer Jonah Lehrer was born and raised in Los Angeles, and began his journey to success when he won a thousand-dollar prize for a NASDAQ-sponsored essay contest at the age of 15. He later attended Columbia University, where he majored in neuroscience and coauthored a paper about the genetic origins of Down Syndrome.

    But Lehrer wasn’t just a science whiz; he could also write well. By the age of 31, he’d already published three books – and had even made the New York Times best-seller list. It was the kind of success many people his age desperately wanted for themselves.

    The key message here is: The rise of the wunderkind set a standard of early achievement for millennials.

    In between hosting radio shows and appearing on TV, Lehrer began a lucrative side career as a paid speaker. Soon, he was earning up to $40,000 for an hour-long talk. Eventually, he was able to buy a million-dollar house in the Hollywood Hills.

    Lehrer’s rise from bright student to media phenomenon marked the entry of a new cultural hero: the early bloomer, also known as the wunderkind – which literally translates to “wonder child.”

    The archetypal wunderkind develops early and reaches the pinnacle of their chosen field faster than anyone else. They’re also likely to become rich and famous in the process. This is often because they have some kind of special talent – like being mathematically or technologically gifted – or because they have family connections to help them along the way.

    Wunderkinds are everywhere in our society – from actors like Margot Robbie and Adam Driver to musicians like Jacob Collier and Beyoncé. The media is also obsessed with the wunderkind ideal. For example, every major magazine has a yearly issue based on a list of early achievers, such as Forbes magazine’s “30 Under 30” list of outstanding entrepreneurs.

    The problem is, our culture’s obsession with the wunderkind ideal pushes a dangerous message: if you haven’t disrupted an industry, opened a billion-dollar company, or banked seven figures by the time you're 30, then you’ve failed. As we’ll discover in these blinks, this message is damaging to young people, all of whom develop in different ways and at different times.

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    What is Late Bloomers about?

    Late Bloomers (2019) explores why modern society is obsessed with early achievement. It explains the damaging effects a super-charged education can have on young people’s mental health, as well as how our family, our peers, and the media influence the life paths we take. Drawing on his own experiences, author Rich Karlgaard suggests that blooming later in life is not something to be ashamed of, but something to be celebrated instead.

    Best quote from Late Bloomers

    Our current obsession with early blooming is a human construct, not supported by science.

    —Rich Karlgaard
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    Who should read Late Bloomers?

    • Anyone feeling stuck in their life and career
    • Parents concerned about the pace of their children’s development
    • Graduates unsure about what to do next

    About the Author

    Rich Karlgaard is an American journalist, award-winning entrepreneur, and the publisher of Forbes magazine. He’s also the author of three books, including Life 2.0: How People Across America Are Transforming Their Lives by Finding the Where of Their Happiness, which made the Wall Street Journal best-seller list.

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