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About Rich Karlgaard
Learn more in Rich's latest book, The Soft Edge: Where Great Companies Find Lasting Success.
Join the conversation @RichKarlgaard, and take advantage of new tools and assessments to start taking full advantage of your organization's soft edge at www.RichKarlgaard.com.
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“What Yogi Berra observed about a baseball game—it ain't over till it's over—is true about life, and [Late Bloomers] is the ultimate proof of this. . . . It’s a keeper.”—Forbes
We live in a society where kids and parents are obsessed with early achievement, from getting perfect scores on SATs to getting into Ivy League colleges to landing an amazing job at Google or Facebook—or even better, creating a start-up with the potential to be the next Google, Facebook or Uber. We see coders and entrepreneurs become millionaires or billionaires before age thirty, and feel we are failing if we are not one of them.
Late bloomers, on the other hand, are under-valued—in popular culture, by educators and employers, and even unwittingly by parents. Yet the fact is, a lot of us—most of us—do not explode out of the gates in life. We have to discover our passions and talents and gifts. That was true for author Rich Karlgaard, who had a mediocre academic career at Stanford (which he got into by a fluke) and, after graduating, worked as a dishwasher and night watchman before finding the inner motivation and drive that ultimately led him to start up a high-tech magazine in Silicon Valley, and eventually to become the publisher of Forbes magazine.
There is a scientific explanation for why so many of us bloom later in life. The executive function of our brains doesn’t mature until age twenty-five, and later for some. In fact, our brain’s capabilities peak at different ages. We actually experience multiple periods of blooming in our lives. Moreover, late bloomers enjoy hidden strengths because they take their time to discover their way in life—strengths coveted by many employers and partners—including curiosity, insight, compassion, resilience, and wisdom.
Based on years of research, personal experience, interviews with neuroscientists, psychologists, and countless people at different stages of their careers, Late Bloomers reveals how and when we achieve our full potential.
Praise for Late Bloomers
“The underlying message that we should ‘consider a kinder clock for human development’ is a compelling one.”—Financial Times
“Late Bloomers spoke to me deeply as a parent of two millennials and as a coach to many new college grads (the children of my friends and associates). It’s a bracing tonic for the anxiety they are swimming through, with a facts-based approach to help us all calm down.”—Robin Wolaner, founder of Parenting magazine
What Does it Take to Get Ahead Now—And Stay There?
High performance has always required shrewd strategy and superb execution. These factors remain critical, especially given today’s unprecedented business climate. But Rich Karlgaard—Forbes publisher, entrepreneur, investor, and board director—takes a surprising turn and argues that there is now a third element that’s required for competitive advantage. It fosters innovation, it accelerates strategy and execution, and it cannot be copied or bought. It is found in a perhaps surprising place—your company’s values.
Karlgaard examined a variety of enduring companies and found that they have one thing in common; all have leveraged their deepest values alongside strategy and execution, allowing them to fuel growth as well as weather hard times. Karlgaard shares these stories and identifies the five key variables that make up every organization’s “soft edge”:
- Trust: Northwestern Mutual has built a $25 million dollar revenue juggernaut on trust, the foundation of lasting success. Learn how to create an environment that engenders trust and propels high performance.
- Smarts: In most technical fields your formal education quickly becomes out of date. How do you keep up? Learn how the Mayo Clinic, Stanford University women’s basketball team, and others stay on top by relentlessly pursuing an advantage through smarts.
- Teamwork: Since collaboration and innovation are a must in the global economy, effective teamwork is vital. Learn how global giant FedEx stays focused and how nimble Nest Labs relies on lean teams with cognitive diversity.
- Taste: Clever product design and integration are proxies for intelligence because they make customers feel smart. But taste goes further into deep emotional engagement. Specialized Bicycles calls it “the elusive spot between data truth and human truth.” How can you consistently make products or services that trigger these emotional touch points?
- Story: Companies that achieve lasting success have an enduring and emotionally appealing story. What’s your company’s story? How do you tell it your way? Gain the ability to create a powerful narrative in a world where outsiders often exercise the louder voice.
“Karlgaard flies in with a companion concept to David Brooks’s On Paradise Drive” -- Tom Wolfe
“While counterintuitive to those on the conventional fast-track, Life 2.0 offers great promise to those who are open to personal innovation” -- Clayton Christensen, Professor, Harvard Business School
“This fascinating treatise will make you think deeply, and may just give you the impetus to uproot” -- Tom Peters
“An original and exhilarating look at options many Americans don’t realize are now open to them.” -- James Fallows, national correspondent, The Atlantic Monthly
“Not only will it widen the horizons of your life, it could also renew your health and wealth.” -- George Gilder
Have You Found the Where of Your Happiness?
One of the intriguing things about the United States is the idea of the second chance, that when you feel stuck there is always a frontier you can cross to reinvent yourself. In Life 2.0, Rich Karlgaard used his own personal and professional midlife crises to look at the state of the American dream—the belief in continuous personal upward mobility—and where it stands in the twenty-first century.
At the ripe old age of forty-five, Karlgaard fell in love with flying and mastered the art of lifting up and bringing down a “2,500-pound aluminum box kite”—a four-seat single-engine airplane. As the publisher of Forbes he felt that he was doing too much armchair theorizing and didn’t really understand how Americans were responding to the changes that had started taking place so swiftly over the past few years.
So he put together his new flying skills and reportorial mission and flew around America to places like Green Bay, Wisconsin; Bozeman, Montana; Fargo, North Dakota; Des Moines, Iowa; and Lake Placid, New York, to gain some insight into how ordinary Americans are untangling the knotty problems of constant stress, crushing expense, and bewildering hassle that often characterize life in the nation’s urban centers.
He discovered their simple solution: they moved. What Karlgaard found on the road are fascinating and inspiring stories about people— those with a nose for entrepreneurship, a faith in technology, and the willingness to take a chance—who are finding the new American dream in places as far from New York City and Silicon Valley as you can imagine. Some of those people include:
• A burned-out insurance exec who fled his overworked East Coast life and settled in tranquil (yet dynamic) Des Moines
• A tool broker who traded his brick-and-mortar business in sunny California for a life in the Pennsylvania hills, where he relaunched his business on the Internet
• A road-warrior democracy specialist who conducts her worldly affairs from the low-key outpost of Bismarck, North Dakota
• A self-made millionaire who paid for his financial success with his first marriage and who did things differently the second time around by moving to smaller cities and focusing on family as well as work
Adroitly combining analysis of the economic and social trends challenging middle-class people with perceptive advice on how to escape the rat race of the coasts, Karlgaard explores the eye-opening possibilities of that huge tract of land often carelessly dubbed “flyover country.” Filled with stories of personal reinvention and triumph, Life 2.