The End of Average Book Summary - The End of Average Book explained in key points
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The End of Average summary

Todd Rose

How to Succeed in a World that Values Sameness

4.1 (34 ratings)
16 mins

Brief summary

In 'The End of Average' by Todd Rose, we explore how the one-size-fits-all approach is a myth and how our individuality is key to success. Through research and anecdotes, we see how embracing our uniqueness leads to innovation and progress.

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    The End of Average
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    The mathematical concept of averages has its purposes, but it’s irrelevant when applied to human nature.

    Chances are you spent a good portion of your school life getting grades that placed you on a scale of “above average” or “below average.” And as this carries over into job assessments and questionnaires, it invites the question: Who is this average person and how did this system get started?

    Well, it began back in the nineteenth century, when astronomer Adolphe Quetelet first used the mathematical concept of averages to explain human traits.

    At this time, using a system of averages proved useful for measuring astronomical characteristics, like charting a planet’s movements. A number of observers would take turns keeping track of the same celestial body and afterward, the average of their measurements would be used to get an accurate calculation.

    Quetelet then applied this system to human beings. He measured thousands of people, both psychologically and physically, and averaged out the results in order to find what he considered the perfect “Average Man.”

    However, while this approach might be suitable for astronomy, it’s not necessarily appropriate for measuring people.

    For example, you might have heard the statistic of the average American family having 2.5 children. But, of course, no family actually has 2.5 children.

    In fact, the majority of human beings almost always has different characteristics than what is considered the average, which makes the whole concept irrelevant.  

    We can see this folly when it comes to human anatomy as well.

    In 1945, a competition was held in the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper. Women were asked to submit nine of their own physical dimensions; the winner would be the woman whose measurements came closest to a statue called “Norma,” created by sculptor Abram Belskie and gynaecologist Dr. Robert L. Dickinson. Using the average proportions of 15,000 women as reference, “Norma,” was sculpted to represent the ideal female figure.

    Three thousand women entered the contest, yet no one came close to hitting all nine measurements. The winner only managed to meet five of the nine averages.

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    What is The End of Average about?

    The End of Average (2016) reveals how people are measured against an abstract and misguided conception of the average human being, and how their individuality is more or less ignored. Learn about the first misapplications of averages to human nature, and how your company or school can lead the way in recognizing and embracing individuality. And reap the rewards!

    The End of Average Review

    The End of Average (2016) by Todd Rose is a thought-provoking exploration of why the concept of average is flawed and how it stifles individual potential. Here are three reasons why this book is worth reading:

    • Through compelling research and real-life examples, Rose reveals the limitations of averages and inspires readers to embrace their unique abilities and aspirations.
    • By challenging traditional notions of intelligence and ability, the book empowers readers to break free from societal expectations and forge their own paths to success.
    • With its engaging storytelling and eye-opening insights into human potential, this book is anything but boring, keeping readers captivated from beginning to end.

    Who should read The End of Average?

    • Teachers and educators
    • Employers and HR specialists
    • People who want to realize their full potential

    About the Author

    Todd Rose dropped out of high school, but eventually earned his doctorate in Human Development from the Harvard Graduate School, where he now works as the director of the Mind, Brain, and Education Program. He is also the author of the book Square Peg.

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    The End of Average FAQs 

    What is the main message of The End of Average?

    The main message of The End of Average is that there is no such thing as an average person. We are all unique individuals.

    How long does it take to read The End of Average?

    The reading time for The End of Average varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The End of Average a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The End of Average is worth reading for anyone interested in challenging the concept of average and understanding the importance of individuality.

    Who is the author of The End of Average?

    The author of The End of Average is Todd Rose.

    What to read after The End of Average?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The End of Average, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Collective Illusions by Todd Rose
    • The Beginning of Infinity by David Deutsch
    • Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell
    • Plays Well with Others by Eric Barker
    • How to Think Like a Roman Emperor by Donald Robertson
    • 7 Strategies for Wealth & Happiness by Jim Rohn
    • You are Now Less Dumb by David McRaney
    • Emotional Design by Donald A. Norman
    • The Wager by David Grann
    • Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss and Tahl Raz