I bought this solely on the strength of the collaborators’ Nurture Shock, a book which was completely eye-opening for me, but whose shocks have diminished as the counter-intuitive truths have entered the mainstream (i.e. don’t praise children for their intelligence, praise their effort because the former is seen as intrinsic whereas they have control over the latter). Didn’t even know what this one was about when I bought it, I just wanted more of the same type of research and unexpected results. I wasn’t disappointed.
This book follows the psychology of success and likewise finds the unexpected, how having a rival motivates competitors and how testosterone impacts competition. It’s very Malcom-Gladwell-esque. For example, the testosterone component is less that men are more competitive than women as that testosterone drives them to competition regardless of the odds. There are fewer long-shot female victories than male ones not because of some competitive advantage or disadvantage, but because women tend not to enter competitions they don’t feel they have a chance of winning. Reading that was life-changing for me. I don’t consider myself afraid of failure, though I am somewhat risk-averse, but I absolutely do not like wasting my time on long shots, and it’s a relief to read that treated in a sympathetic way. Not as a failure, or a strength, but a different approach.
This is the kind of book I want more of; if every pop-science book read like this I’d be broke. I’m eagerly looking forward to whatever this team puts out.