The End of Average by Todd Rose

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Key Takeaways

  1. The Jaggedness Principle: This principle states that individual abilities and characteristics cannot be captured by a single score or dimension. People have multiple talents and weaknesses, which vary (or are “jagged”) across different dimensions.
  2. An individual’s behavior or performance cannot be separated from the context. The same person might perform differently in different environments or under different circumstances, challenging the notion of fixed abilities.
  3. People achieve their best outcomes through personalized paths that play to their strengths and interests. Education, healthcare and other paths need to move away from standardization and embrace customization. This includes personalized learning plans in education and more flexible, strengths-based roles in the workplace. We need to move away from the one-size-fits-all model and towards systems that are flexible and responsive to individual needs and differences.
  4. There are no fixed ladders of development. We each have our own unique web
  5. Avoid normative thinking – the belief that there is a. Normal pathway. These are nearly always based on group averages and all its flaws
  6. If then statements are helpful. If John is in this setting, then he is introverted
  7. You have to take into account both a persons traits and the situation

What I got out of it

  1. This was the first book that made ergodicity more human for me. He argues that thinking in averages is flawed since it overlooks the uniqueness of each person. Fields such as education and healthcare break down because there is no true “average” human and by focusing more on the individual, we can improve results.