Late Bloomers: The Hidden Strengths of Learning and Suc… (2024)

☘Misericordia☘ ⚡ϟ⚡⛈⚡☁ ❇️❤❣

2,484 reviews19.1k followers

February 3, 2020

- Reverse ageism is bad for life, health and pretty much everything (and not just yours!) just like its regular counterpart.
- Tests have hijacked our world.
- Success has been redefined into something defined by 'raw synaptic speed'.

What gifts and passions might we possess that haven’t yet been discovered but that could give us wings to fly? (c)
It’s not our fault that we failed to earn straight A’s, make perfect College Board scores, and get into our first choice of college. Or that we were distracted by life at age twenty-one and missed our first on ramp to an enchanted career that matched perfectly our talents and passions. It’s not our fault that we failed to earn millions of dollars by twenty-two and billions by thirty—thus getting ourselves on the cover of Forbes—or to end malaria, solve tensions in the Middle East, advise a president, or win our third Academy Award by thirty-five.
It’s not our fault, and we’re not a failure in any sense just because our star didn’t glow white hot from the start. (c)
In the months after Joanne hit economic bottom and went on welfare to feed her daughter, she let her imagination drift to her childhood fantasies. It was an act of escapism that society said was irresponsible. But oddly enough, it took her closer to her gift. (c)
I learned the most important part of leadership is showing up. Could have fooled me. (c)
Brittleness and fragility should not be the prizes of early academic achievement. (c)
Being seen as a potential late bloomer was once a mark of vitality, patience, and pluck. Nowadays, more and more, it is seen as a defect (there must be a reason you started slowly, after all) and a consolation prize. This is an awful trend, since it diminishes the very things that make us human—our experiences, our resilience, and our lifelong capacity to grow. (c)
Many of us see more of ourselves in Scott Kelly than in Mark Zuckerberg. We too have stories of fumbling starts, confusion, career or educational gaps, bad habits, bad luck, or lack of confidence.(c)
For the fortunate majority of us, however, some kind of intellectual or spiritual awakening happened, and we stepped onto a new, improved road. We found our way. But others become so steeped in shame or see themselves as so far removed from opportunity that they never develop their ability to bloom. And I would argue that failure to bloom during one’s lifetime is catastrophic for people—and for societies. (c)
Dr. Leonard Sax, a medical doctor and psychologist who wrote about troubled teenagers in Boys at Risk (2007) and Girls on the Edge (2010), told me:
A kid in the United States is now fourteen times more likely to be on medication for ADD compared to a kid in the U.K. A kid in the United States is forty times more likely to be diagnosed and treated for bipolar disorder compared to a kid in Germany. A kid in the United States is ninety-three times more likely to be on medications like Risperdal and Zyprexa used to control behavior compared to a kid in Italy. So in this country and really in no other country, we now use medication as a first resort for any kid who’s not getting straight A’s or not sitting still in class. No other country does this. This is a uniquely American phenomenon, and it’s quite new. (c)
Jean M. Twenge... connects the generational increases in depression to a shift from intrinsic to extrinsic goals. Intrinsic goals have to do with your own development as a person, such as becoming capable in activities of your own choosing or developing a strong sense of self. Extrinsic goals, conversely, have to do with material gains and other status measurements, like high grades and test scores, high income, and good looks. Twenge offers evidence that adolescents and young adults today are more oriented toward extrinsic goals than they were in the past. In an annual poll, college freshmen list “being well off financially” as more important than “developing a meaningful philosophy of life.” The opposite was true fifty years ago. (c)
In 2011 billionaire venture capitalist Vinod Khosla told an audience that “people over forty-five basically die in terms of new ideas.” (c)
... of the 18,335 employment claims filed in 2010 with California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing, one-fifth cited age as the reason for discrimination. This puts age discrimination claims above those for racial discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual orientation. (c)
Truth is, many factors can slow our blooming early in life, including delayed physical or neurological development, early childhood trauma, nonstandard learning styles, socioeconomic status, geographical restrictions, illness, addiction, career turbulence—even plain bad luck. (c)
And even though we’ve lately taken a step back as a society in terms of public and political tolerance, polls confirm that over recent decades, attitudes toward diversity in education and the workplace, gender equality, and same-sex marriage have shifted steadily. This growing sense of social acceptance has stretched to include personal style, unusual interests, and radical identity politics. We now can have tattoos and multiple piercings and still hold good jobs. We can bend genders and be sexually fluid, we can wear flip-flops and hoodies to work, we can collect comic books and play video games as adults—and it’s all much more culturally accepted than it was before.
And yet when it comes to early achievement and cognitive diversity, we’ve done the exact opposite. We’ve become less tolerant of those with different cognitive profiles—of those with slower rates of development or skills not recognized by the job market. (с)
In the past, success was not about becoming rich or famous, or about achieving as much as possible as early as possible. Rather, it wasabout having the opportunity to live to our fullest potential. It was about being appreciated for who we are as individuals. But that’s been corrupted by the Wunderkind Ideal and our obsession with testing, ranking, and sorting young adults; by our cultural fascination with youth, particularly youthful über-achievement; and by an increasingly algorithmic economy that rewards raw synaptic speed instead of experience and wisdom. (c)
“I always wanted to be fearless,” she says. “But that desire once took unhealthy paths. Now I’ve learned I can be fearless in a much healthier way. And I can be a leader, helping others.” (c)
Cognitive research has revealed that each of us has two types of intelligence: fluid intelligence (abbreviated as Gf) and crystallized intelligence (abbreviated as Gc). Fluid intelligence is our capacity to reason and solve novel problems, independent of knowledge from the past. It’s the ability to identify abstract patterns, use logic, and apply inductive and deductive reasoning. Gf peaks earlier in life. Crystallized intelligence, on the other hand, is the ability to use skills, knowledge, and experience. For most adults, Gc includes both occupational (job) and avocational knowledge (hobbies, music, art, popular culture, etc.). Unlike Gf, measures of Gc show rising levels of performance well into middle age and beyond. (c)
It turns out that my many hours in the Ugly magazine stacks were not wasted at all. They might have wrecked my grades, but curiosity made my career. (c)

Michael Perkins

Author5 books428 followers

May 24, 2020

In the midst of the college bribery scandal, Rich Karlgaard’s book could not be more timely. The sense of desperation and angst that compel parents to resort to such tactics underscores the absurd quest to get their kids into the “right” school. It’s make or break and all the pressure is on the kids. The author documents the toll: not only unhappiness, but depression and sometimes suicide.

I need to promptly add, however, that the book has a broader appeal, the flipside of the pressure prodigy story: an opportunity for many of us to reflect on our paths as late bloomers. The author uses his own story as an example. History is full of great people who did not fit the conventional school mould or do well on narrowly construed IQ tests. They were seen as failures.

Winston Churchill is a good example. He was never good at math and was bored to death at the boarding school his inattentive parents shipped him to. In his memoir, “My Early Life,” he writes: “where my reason or imagination were not engaged, I could not or would not learn.”

I have sometimes pondered how contrarians such as Churchill, Picasso, or Beethoven might have been given Ritalin and had their genius destroyed for the sake of conforming to the prescribed schooling program.

The author Hermann Hesse is a stunning example of such a struggle.

He was highly repressed as a child by his hard-line parents. (Both his parents and grandparents were missionaries). They saw their son as obstreperous and thus to be brought to heel.

His father wrote:

"Hermann, who was considered almost a model of good behavior in the boys’ house is sometimes hardly to be borne. Though it would be very humiliating for us[!], I am earnestly considering whether we should not place him in an institution or another household. We are too nervous and weak for him, and the whole household [is] too undisciplined and irregular. He seems to be gifted for everything: he observes the moon and the clouds, extemporizes for long periods on the harmonium, draws wonderful pictures with pencil or pen, can sing quite well when he wants to, and is never at a loss for a rhyme."

The parents instilled tremendous guilt into their son for not conforming, a guilt which he never entirely escaped, but because of his free spirit and inability to go along with program, he went on to author many novels, such as Demian and Siddhartha, that are popular to this day.

The author has done prodigious research to powerfully underscore the scientific basis of his book. These items say volumes…

On Late Blooming....

•The executive function of our brains, which enables us to see ahead and plan effectively, doesn’t mature until age 25 or later. This isn’t tied to IQ, potential, or innate talent.

•The ability to evaluate complex patterns, including other people’s emotional states, doesn’t full blossom until we are in our 40s or 50s. Crystallized intelligence—accumulated facts and knowledge—doesn’t peak until we are in our late 60s or early 70s.

•Peak innovation age is in our late 40s, and the average age of U.S. patent applicants is 47.

•The average age of discovery leading to a Nobel Prize is 39.

•The average age of entrepreneurship is 47, and there are twice as many entrepreneurs over 50 as there are under 25.

On the potential effects of early achievement pressure on children and teens....

•The tutoring and test prep industry generates more than $1 billion annually.

•Rates of depression and anxiety among teenagers have jumped by 70% in the past 25 years.

•70% of kids quit sports by age 13, many of them because “it’s not fun anymore.”

Sports scholarships.....

•Only 2% of high-school athletes will receive college scholarships in their sport, according to the National Collegiate Athletic Association. That includes awards well short of the “full ride” many parents covet.

•But in a 2019 survey on the cost of youth sports by TD Ameritrade, 40% of parents said they felt confident their child would get an athletic scholarship. They also said they were willing to cut back on spending, go into credit-card debt or delay retirement to fund their child’s sport.

(See my review of Outliers for more on this. Link below)


This book offers essential, sane perspective for readers whose children are approaching the college application period.

And for those of us, like myself, who are beyond the college process, it is an enjoyable and inspirational read on our own experiences as late bloomers and what we might yet achieve.


author quotes....

"Because I’m a late bloomer, I’ve always looked at the world through a late bloomer lens. In early 2015, I wrote my Forbes “Innovation Rules” column on late bloomers as the greatest undervalued resources in business. I mentioned F. Scott Fitzgerald’s wrong-headed line about Americans having no second acts. It was sadly true for Fitzgerald, who achieved fame at 25 and died at 44. But it was not true for Frank McCourt, who published his first book, Angela’s Ashes at 63 and who won the Pulitzer Prize at 66, or Daniel J. Brown, who published his breakthrough book, The Boys in The Boat, at 62"

Comment on STEM majors: "Any rules-based job is at risk from AI." To put it more colloquially, being replaced by a robot, including number-crunching and coding desk jobs in science, math and finance.


My "Outliers" review.....


Some reviewers have flagged the author's calling Elizabeth Holmes a burnt-out case, when in fact she's a criminal who should go to jail. Correct. The book Bad Blood tells the whole story. I had a front row seat and wrote one of the most popular reviews of the book here....



759 reviews236 followers

April 20, 2019

Late Bloomers is a book for the rest of us—for all of the people who didn’t (or haven’t) peaked in their 20s or 30s. Author Rich Karlgaard gives example after example of notable figures (investors, actors, business men and women, sports coaches, athletes, politicians, and the list goes on) who didn’t hit their stride until their 40s or later. And since I include myself in this group, I have to say that I have really enjoyed and felt uplifted by the book.

Karlgaard starts off with a history of how we measure success, how we’ve become obsessed with early bloomers, and with the standardized tests (like SAT scores) that “discover” and then exalt them to superhero-like status. While he acknowledges that tests have their place and can tell us who is off to a strong start, he argues that they are still just a glimpse into a person’s development at one given point in time. We don’t peak at age 18. Or at least most of us don’t. The brain isn’t even fully formed until age 25, and some people simply need more time to mature and develop, to “click” into place. Siiiigh, how reassuring.

Karlgaard also talks about strengths specific to late bloomers. Late bloomers may not be as focused as some early achievers initially, but they still tend to be way more curious throughout their lives, which helps them remain creative and productive over the years.

Late bloomers also tend to be more compassionate and resilient, since they experience so many ups and downs. And in the long run, their varied life experiences help them develop greater insight and wisdom.

Karlgaard also discusses the importance of:

*** Embracing a different timeline of success if you’re a late bloomer
*** Finding a good workplace where you can be accepted and allowed to “bloom”
*** Knowing when and how to quit
*** Using self-doubt (combined with strong self-compassion) as a way to grow
*** And, most of all, the importance of hanging in there—because late bloomers will have their time, too

This isn’t a book to zip right through. There is a lot of good information in here, and though Karlgaard is a very accessible writer, the delivery is a bit dense. Still, I’m so glad I put in the time to read this one. I found it tremendously helpful and am still thinking about some of his points days later. Highly recommended for all the late bloomers out there! 😉

Many thanks to Amazon Vine, Rich Karlgaard, and Currency for the ARC!

See more of my reviews at!

    arc wellness

Jeff Lewonczyk

583 reviews6 followers

July 11, 2019

So yes, I guess I consider myself a late bloomer, otherwise I wouldn't have sought out this book after reading about it. Though I was fairly focused and hard-working (creatively speaking) during my earlier years, I've long felt like my potential was largely untapped, and, though I'm comfortable enough now, I have a burning sense - call it hope - that my greatest accomplishments are still ahead of me. Trouble is, it's feeling very hard to get there.

Fortunately, this book is full of persuasive debunking of our culture's current cult of youth, and practical encouragement for those of us who feel like we're still playing catch-up. The tips and strategies are realistic and attainable, and all of the backing is well-sourced through various psychological studies. There's hope for me yet!

Normally I'd give this four stars, but I think it contains a glaring absence: Karlgaard gives short shrift to the socio-economic realities of changing gears or starting over later in life. The book seems to be aimed squarely at upper middle-class individuals with a reliable income and decent savings. While he certainly mentions economic disparity, health issues, raising a family, etc., in passing, he gives these material challenges short shrift in his focus on the psychological attributes that position late bloomers for success. What if you have persistence, self-compassion and the other important qualities he cites, but the deck is just stacked against you financially, racially, etc.? The book would have been even stronger with more information on those challenges.


394 reviews7 followers

January 2, 2020

My breaking point was when the author used "in lieu of" where he should have used "in light of"...I just had to stop at that point.
My first red flag was that he said that the SAT is the Scholastic Aptitude Test, which it is not. It once was, but now "SAT" actually doesn't stand for anything. This point would have played in the author's favor, but he misses it. Doing so reveals his superficial understanding of the topic of standardized testing (and he spends a LONG time on this topic). He then proceeds to conflate IQ and SAT testing, which are certainly not the same thing at all!
I was also bothered by his broad generalizations and his lack of adding any new insights or commentary to his topic. Plus, he wants to pass some blame to society/culture for the whole Theranos/Elizabeth Holmes debacle. Um, no. I read Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup; that lady is simply insane.
Anyway, I got about 1/3 of the way through (about) and had to stop. Maybe it got better, but I couldn't get past the above, in which the author lost his credibility and my interest.


382 reviews118 followers

March 16, 2021

ความเครียด กดดัน ซึมเศร้า ไม่เห็นคุณค่าของตัวเองเกิดจากความคาดหวังและคาดคั้นตัวเองมากเกินไป อายุตั้งเท่านี้... คนอื่นเค้าไปถึงไหนๆ กันแล้ว...

Late Bloomer เป็นหนังสือของคนสำเร็จช้า เขียนเพื่อคนสำเร็จช้า ให้กำลังใจและให้ข้อมูลในด้านที่สื่อกระแสหลักไม่นำเสนอ

เป็นหนังสือที่คนอายุเกิน 30 ควรอ่าน (แต่จริงๆ 25 ขึ้นไปก็อ่านได้แล้วล่ะ)​ เพราะข้อมูลในเล่มย้ำเตือนเราว่า ไม่ว่าโลกภายนอก���ะเรียกร้องเร่งให้เรารีบประสบความสำเร็จแค่ไหน คนที่จะดึงศักยภาพในตัวเราออกมาใช้ได้ ก็มีเพียงตัวเราเท่านั้น

อยากให้คะแนนเล่มนี้สูงกว่านี้นะ เพราะต้นเล่มจนถึง 2/3 ส่งพลังแรงมาก เสียดายที่แผ่วช่วง 1/3 สุดท้าย แต่ถึงอย่างไรก็ต้องชมคนเขียนว่าทำการบ้านมาดี งานวิจัยอัดแน่น

และเพราะคนเขียนทำงานสายนิตยสารมาตลอด วิธีเขียนเลยอ่านง่าย สบายๆ ถึงจะยกเรื่องการเมือง ระบบประสาท วิวัฒนาการทางการบริหารธุรกิจ มาเล่า ก็ไม่ได้รู้สึกว่ายากเกินไป

อ่านตั้งแต่ต้นจนจบ รู้สึกได้ถึงความห่วงใยของคนเขียนที่มีต่อผู้คนในยุคปัจจุบัน รวมถึงคนรุ่นหลัง เพราะความจริงแล้ว คนส่วนใหญ่เป็นคนประสบความสำเร็จช้า ไม่ใช่อายุน้อยร้อยล้าน ถึงภาพในสื่อกระแสหลักและโซเชียลมีเดียจะชวนให้เข้าใจเป็นอื่นก็ตาม

    2020-favorites non-fiction


945 reviews39 followers

April 15, 2020

>>Read by Fred Sanders
app 9.5 hrs

"blooming has no deadline"

"Blooming is the result of acknowledging our past and pursuing our destiny to an optimistic personal narrative, real or not, that encourages and inspires."
Rich Karlgaard, Late Bloomers: The Power of Patience in a World Obsessed with Early Achievement

I was wavering between 4 and 5 stars ... but this book has so many wonderful nuggets.
Karlsgaard pull together facts, notes, studies from various faculties and along the way explores subjects like: the philosophy of learning and work, the benefits of life-long learning, the difference between fate and destiny, the fallacies encompassed in academia and the business world.
Just a fascinating book which I have been recommending to all my friends this weekend.

    favorites my-5stars nf-philosophy-politics-other


528 reviews

January 4, 2020

Modern society is obsessed with overachieving wunderkind which wastes the potential and productivity of many people who don’t meet this lofty threshold. This is the premise of “Late Bloomers” which examines those who come into their potential later in life.

Through numerous examples the author explains our culture’s current obsession with young, high achievers. From tech billionaires to sports stars to Instagram influencers, we have places a premium on those who are accepted into the best schools, get the best jobs, achieve the highest standardized test scores. These accolades are often parlayed into fame and notoriety, thus reinforcing the worship of younger and younger superstars in every industry. In this book the author breaks down the tests used to evaluate young achievers, the dangers of achieving at such a young age, and what to do if you’re not one of these early risers, a late bloomer.

Standardized tests and IQ tests are a hoax which only a slightly better record a predicting the future than any other divination technique. Sure, these tests might show the intellectual potential of an individual, but it was never meant to be used to determined a person’s destiny. These tests are a snapshot, a moment in time, and they measure only very specific facets of a person. But our culture has increased its value on achieving high marks on tests, spawning an industry around it. People spend thousands of dollars, hours of studying, and have even cheated and lied to get these top scores. They do this to pursue a course of study at a top university, to secure a high paying job, thus insuring stability.

This worship of young achievers has a price. Many of these people don’t know how to deal with adversity, failure, and cannot find balance in their lives. Not only does this culture potentially hurt these young people, but it ignores the large percent of people who are not on this route. Most people are not on the Harvard Business School train but still have much to over. With age and a focus on a range of studies and experiences, people can gain wisdom and insight that a twenty year old could.

So much of this book made sense to me. We’ve seen people like Elizabeth Holmes hurt many people at the expense of achieving something so young. We’ve seen Lori Laughlin and Felicity Huffman get arrested for allegedly helping their children cheat to get into elite schools.

I, too, feel like a late bloomer. I didn’t get stellar standardized test scores. I didn’t go to an elite university. But I have done well for myself so far. I was most interested in what one does as a late bloomer. Being a late bloomer poses many challenges since many don’t have mastery experiences, access to mentors, and other opportunities. Shame may prevent the development of self-efficacy. The final chapters of the book detail how a late bloomer can bloom, and what may be holding the late bloomer back.

I really liked this book. I thought the examples, anecdotes, and stories were interesting and illustrative. The author makes a rational case that we need late bloomers and universities, recruiters, and organizations are missing out by not taking advantage of this talent. At the end, Karlgaard really drives home the point of what happens if we have generations of individuals who are not allowed to fulfill their potential because they are not a member of an elite group, and the resentment it can foster.

This book couldn’t have come at a better time for me and I highly recommend it to managers, recruiters, and people in power. In addition, anyone who felt like it took them longer to get started than normal will enjoy the empowering message of this book. ★★★★★ • Audiobook • Nonfiction • Listened on the Scribd app. ◾︎


107 reviews2 followers

September 9, 2019

This book had an interesting premise and it started out well, but unfortunately it quickly sidetracked into various other circ*mstances we're dealing with as a society today with the author trying to tie it all in to the late bloomer premise. I think there was a good book here but it gets lost in trying to tie all these other things in. If the author had just focused on the late bloomers and fleshed it out with more stories of people who bloomed later in life, like many of us, it would have been much better. A bit of a disappointment overall.

Jenna Cady

1 review

January 2, 2020

I was excited by the concept of this book, only to find out it was written by a hyper-wealthy white man. Karlgaard considers "success" to be becoming a part of the 1%, and that those who not yet famous and wealthy to be "late bloomers." There's an entire chapter dedicated to anecdotes of people who dropped out of college to become millionaires. If you actually identify at all with the concept of being a late bloomer, this one's not for you.


27 reviews13 followers

September 10, 2019

Problem with this book is that it goes off of a loosey-goosey definition of 'Late Bloomer'. He seems to define it in terms of material success, and many examples were of people in the right time in the right place with the right idea. They didn't 'bloom'.


134 reviews15 followers

June 19, 2019

Late Bloomers was a game changer for me. I read it just after I finished reading Normal Sucks (by Jonathan Mooney) which discusses normalcy with regards to learning ability and why we should reconsider our ideas of "normal." Karlgaard does essentially the same thing in Late Bloomers, but he focuses on early achievement. He takes us through the relatively short history of the race to do more, sooner and explains the potentially negative effects with regards to the workplace, the early achievers and the late bloomers. Essentially, he makes the same arguments most 20 to 30-year olds have been making for years, but because Karlgaard is more influential, perhaps people will start believing us.

In addition to talking about early achievement itself, Karlgaard gives numerous examples of late bloomers and talks about their strengths. He argues that the extra time late bloomers take to "get on the right track" makes them more resilient and provides them with a different skill set than people who achieved (the standard idea of) success before the age 3o. For the late bloomers who are not yet convinced of their worth, Karlgaard provides some strategies for building confidence and marketing one's skills.

I liked this book because it made me feel *seen.* Although I suppose I could be considered an early achiever in some respects (I went to a top-tier school, I speak three languages fluently and I've studied and worked in a number of countries), I felt myself burning out in high school, and my performance has been steadily declining ever since. I graduated two years ago and although I have a rough plan of what I'd like to achieve, I constantly feel like I'm not making huge career gains at as fast a pace as my peers. I have to constantly remind myself that everyone achieves their own form of success in their own time, and this book helped me remember that.

This book is an excellent read on its own, but as I said before, I highly recommend you read it in addition to Normal Sucks



658 reviews89 followers

May 12, 2020

We worship early bloomers, called prodigies. We think an early bloomer is slated for a lifetime of success. We noticed Einstein, Bill Gates and Zuckerberg who made it big in their twenties. Anxious parents now make sure small children go to the right Nursery, so that they can score 800 for their SATS and go to the right schools all the way to Ivy League colleges. Children are more anxious, depressed and suicidal; early bloomers tend not to be able handle any setbacks in life.

But there is another way. JK Rowling and others bloom late. More successful entrepreneurs are middle aged. As we age we lose some mental ability (fluid intelligence) but gain others ( wisdom).

Karlgaard had mediocre grades in high school but managed to enter Stanford by fluke. However, not all Stanford graduates earn millions; he went to become a editorial assistant and then quit, then became a night watchman. That was when he finally took charge of his life, ultimately becoming the publisher of Forbes, public speaker, pilot, and best selling author.

6 Strengths of late bloomers:
1. Curiosity: not suppressed by wanting to make perfect score
2. Compassion: knowing not everyone are prodigies, understand failures happen
3. Resilience/Grit: grit increases with age
4. Equanimity/Calmness
5. Insight: connections between diverse fields
6. Wisfom

Late bloomers need to go to the right ‘pot’, often by moving elsewhere. Quit the dead end job. Use self-doubt to think more carefully; self-efficacy to identify goals and reach them step by step; talk to oneself as a third person to judge performance objectively; frame mistakes as opportunities to learn.

An outstanding contrarian book!


Author4 books8 followers

January 12, 2019

Rich is an excellent storyteller. With everyone focusing so heavily on how much we should accomplish by a certain age, it is refreshing to hear stories about some very successful people who did it a little later in life. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and highly recommend it.

Scott Wozniak

Author5 books88 followers

July 20, 2019

This book makes an important point: that in many areas of life, early achievement is not correlated to actual adult achievement at all. But he takes WAY too long to make this point. Every idea or example is painfully over-explained. So I'm splitting the middle and giving it 3 out of 5.


Author1 book8 followers

July 30, 2019

Starts off by telling the story of J.K. Rowling and some other dude who only made their billions late in life... I can’t read these types of business books; my BS alarm is just too loud.

Sorry, I just couldn’t finish this.

Cassie | Lost In Tomes

359 reviews49 followers

June 9, 2020

2.5 Stars
This was alright. Made me feel more ok with where I am at in life which is good.

It has great information in it however I'd prefer a "Readers Digest" or TedTalk version of it since there's a lot of "fluff" that slow it down and make it hard to read. Sections 2 and 3 are all just facts about ways the world is setting the expectation for us all to be Early Achievers and then all the ways we feel down when we don't meet that expectation. Some people might eat that kind of data up but for me.... well I think I summed it up both chapters pretty well with one sentence. I did really enjoy the stories of famous Late Bloomers and most of everything after Section 4 where he starts to give suggestions for coping and bringing about change. I think I would have enjoyed this better if it had more of that.

Favorite things I took from this:
- Quit spending time on things that aren't serving you
- Taking time to grow into who you're meant to be is normal
- Talking to yourself in the 3rd person is good for your health
- Nothing changes without resistance
- It's wise to "Repot Yourself" into an environment you can bloom in

Recommend for fans of:
- The Energy Bus



1,630 reviews535 followers

December 27, 2020

Mostly harmless recycling of tropes from other books. A lot of it is not really about late bloomers, but just rants on other topics. General point that we have something other than a true meritocracy is valid.


283 reviews594 followers


September 15, 2021

DNFed after 30%.
The title is catchy, but the writing style is so 1970s. Could not continue any longer.

Anyhow the message is worth remembering. There is no linear timeline for blooming..

Alexander Fitzgerald

Author9 books46 followers

November 7, 2019

I am giving this book to every single one of my Millennial friends.

Being a Millennial in high school was odd back in 2006. Every kid I went to school with was sharing with me their plans to take over the world. They all were convinced they were going to become the next great entrepreneur or Nobel prize winner. I couldn't blame them. The teachers seemed onboard with these assertions, and hell, they were the adults. They knew what they were talking about, right? I thought I had to be the dumbest person on the block when everyone else was so capable.

Over time, however, I've seen that my Millennial friends who did everything by the book were misled. They were made to think that they would take over the world with all those self-esteem campaigns. Then, they got these expensive student loansand then found themselves in a market oversaturated with college graduates.

Sadly, I saw a bunch of my friends get depressed because they were made to have these lofty expectations. They thought by 25 or 30 they'd be set up and ready to go in life. Then, that financial security and sense of purpose failed to materialize, and they felt rudderless at sea.

At this same time, I started listening to Adam Carolla's "Take A Knee" podcast where he'd interview successful people from all walks of life. Writers, rappers, actors, producers, entrepreneurs, scientists, comedians, architects, you name it he brought them on the show.

Adam Carolla would drill down into what made them tick. Almost all of them had the same story. They kicked around in their 20s working different jobs and trying to get some kind of education. They never stopped moving around, but they weren't exactly successful until their 30s to 70s. Almost none of them had found success in their 20s.

I wondered why the hell I'd ever had the idea that people were supposed to have their life figured out in their 20s. I felt bad for my friends who were my age who were beating themselves up for not being uber-successful at 27.

Rich Karlgaard explains in this fantastic book exactly where these "early bloomer" expectations come from and why they're not beneficial. He tells you the history of IQ tests, SAT tests, and what their predictive power actually is. The research is spellbinding and does a great job of quelling young people's fears. More importantly, Karlgaard is intellectually honest. He shows how many tech entrepreneurs did have fantastic SAT scores, but then he discusses how different companies who hired based solely on those metrics actually fared.

Rich Karlgaard also goes into the neuroscience of what is happening in the brain when someone starts crossing the 25 to 30-year-old threshold. It answers the question resoundingly as to why so many successful people take off only when they cross into their 30s.

This book feels like a correction and a direct rebuke to the culture at large, and it's backed up by tons of data. I couldn't stop reading. I highly recommend this to anyone who has suffered from ageism in their later years or just Millennials who are down on themselves.

Ahmet Alattas

21 reviews16 followers

January 9, 2020

Oh, wow! This book talked about something I’ve always experienced growing up and strongly relevant to our generation, which is comparing yourself to popular and successful young talents without considering the fact there are certain things that could be extraordinary. The timing couldn’t have been any better. Sometimes it’s better that you haven’t accomplished anything into your 40s and beyond. There’s still time to bloom and your experience and wisdom will be more beautiful and enjoyable

Tuan Pham

204 reviews24 followers

November 19, 2020

Một góc nhìn rất thú vị về sự phát triển của đời người. Nếu như bạn đang stress về quá nhiều kỳ vọng phải thành công sớm thì quyển này rất phù hợp với bạn. Sẽ giúp ích cho bạn trong việc xây dựng hướng đi sắp tới.

د.أمجد الجنباز

Author3 books790 followers

November 6, 2019

الكتاب يتحدث عن أن الطبيعي في الناس هو أن ينضجوا متأخرا، وأن ينجحوا في أعمار متأخرة، وليس باكرا كما تسوق الميديا بشكل عام في الناجحين الشباب. هذا التركيز سيجعل الشخص يعتقد أن النجاح حكرا على الشباب الصغار، وأن النجاح متأخرا هو شيء يدعو للخزي.
هذا هو أهم درس في الكتاب وقد بناه على إحصاءات كثيرة. لكن الكتاب لم ينجح في الحديث عن كيفية النجاح متأخرا

The Starry Library

393 reviews33 followers

December 26, 2018

'Late Bloomers' by Rich Karlgaard is a look at what this taboo concept is really all about. Karlgaard uses many real life examples to show that late blooming is more common than what we have been led to believe. We live in a culture that places too much emphasis on early success which undermines those who need more time to blossom. The book looks at what led us to the point, specifically the societal conditioning. The following chapters examine the psychological and neuro-scientific research that reveals that late blooming is in fact normal. The standout chapter for me were the strengths and gifts that late bloomers possess and that late blooming offers. As someone in their mid-twenties who still doesn’t have their life together, this chapter made me feel better and more confident in my abilities. There were many tips included throughout this chapter on how to step into one’s potential and power. For late bloomers, being able to see their weaknesses as strengths is paramount for their self esteem.

A point I would like to make is that the so called “early-bloomers” usually come from affluent families who are able to accelerate their success. Also, I felt some of the examples of late bloomers were a little weak. Some of them were more “second career” examples, whereby someone had a successful career prior to blooming in their ideal environment. I also think that being a late bloomer doesn’t have to mean becoming a CEO at 45 or famous at 65. Everyone defines success in a different way, so there needed to be less examples around material success and more examples having to do with personal fulfillment.

Overall this is a must-read for every late bloomer who feels misunderstood and hopeless.


52 reviews9 followers

September 5, 2019

In itself this book is relevant and well researched. The focus on early achievement has taken over the lives of children and their parents in this never ending battle to reach the top. It seems that the rat race now starts right from the time a child reaches the schooling age and continues well into adulthood. It is a sorry state of affairs.

So why didn't I read this book to its completion? Honestly I felt that the point of the book is clear enough in the first few chapters. In fact I paused after reading the first chapter itself. On browsing through the other chapters i found a repetition of the central message of the book i.e. late bloomers are not necessarily bad. Early bloomers are not necessarily perfect. It was filled with too many anecdotes for me to spend more time reading through it. I got the point of the book early on and am choosing not to complete it to its entirety.

If you're a concerned parent, you may find the book more relevant and worth completing. For the rest, I'd simply suggest finding a good summary or a TED talk or something.



3,295 reviews34 followers

December 10, 2018

I agree. Not everyone blooms early or on schedule. It's about time everyone stops labeling children. Everyone makes it on there on good time. Everybody has a life course of their own that no one else can determine for them. Life works out itself. Also, no one else can decide what someone else's future should be or what it's going to be. There is nothing worse than adults adults labeling kids as losers or hopeless in grade school. Many thanks Rich Karlgaard! I hope everyone with kids, or responsible for kids, reads your book.

I received a Kindle Arc from Netgalley in exchange for a fair review.

Marion Hill

Author8 books79 followers

July 6, 2020

4.25 Stars

Sometimes there is a book on your shelf that is waiting to be read. The book waits patiently until you have gotten other books out of the way before you are ready to read it. Late Bloomers by Rich Karlgaard is one of those books.

I bought this book shortly after it came out in April 2019. I had planned to read it as soon as I got it. But I did not. Other books demanded to be read. However, Late Bloomers waited its turn and the time to read it came a couple days ago. Glad I waited to read Late Bloomers.

Karlgaard makes a powerful argument that society has ignored that late bloomers and human development happens at its own pace than what modern society prescribes.

“Many of us want to believe there’s a road map to how our lives should unfold. The reality, however, is that there’s no single right pathway for human development—-physically, cognitively, morally, or professionally.”

That paragraph lays out the crux of Karlgaard’s argument in the book and is one that I agree with wholeheartedly. I’m a late bloomer. I did not get not my diploma after high school. I had to go to summer school to my GED to graduate from high school. Also, I did not learn how to drive until I was thirty years old (I’m 48). I tried to learn to how to drive at sixteen and I almost ran my friend’s car into a house after driving his car off the road. Reading this book made me realized that all the experiences I was supposed to have in my late teens to early twenties did not happen until much later. I will admit that I thought something was wrong with me psychologically or socially. However, Karlgaard has shown me that human development is not one size fits all. People develop at various stages of life and being a late bloomer has advantages that are not celebrated by society.

“Nearly all reasonably healthy people can bloom in different ways at different ages. To create a prosperous society of fulfilled individuals, it makes sense, therefore, to have a kinder clock of human development. Every person needs to have the chance—multiple chances, really–to follow their unique timeline of evolving brains, talents, and passions.”

Amen! Karlgaard brings home the point once again with that paragraph. Human development is not an exact science. There is art involved and as society we need to allow for those that do not develop on the treadmill of high school-college-job to grow into who they are meant to become. The path of fulfillment takes many paths, and late bloomers need the space to grow as people.

Late Bloomers is one of the most important books of 2020 for me. Finally, I found a book that resonated with me on several levels and will be a mainstay on my bookshelf.

    2020-reads owned


38 reviews

January 31, 2024

This book was not what I expected. I initially thought there would be more lengthy bios of famous late bloomers. There were brief, surprising, and encouraging bios, and so much more. The author paints a balanced picture of the consequences that result from idolizing early bloomers. The last half of the book was particularly inspiring. In addition, the chapter on quitting helped me to see some things in my own life more clearly (i.e. working for the same company for 28 years until it was sold). This book is for parents as well those of us who bloomed later in life.

Kyle Steinicke

211 reviews1 follower

March 5, 2021

(3.5 stars) I have long felt the stress of trying to be the best and was worried that I wasn’t doing everything that I should be doing. I have since become more comfortable with enjoying life and not worrying as much about being uber successful as soon as possible. I think reading this book in high school would have helped me get to that point sooner.


29 reviews

June 9, 2021

It is really not worth the time or effort to go through. Reading this book so far has been quite annoying for me due to its excessive amount of the few repetitive ideas. In short, this book can be easily summarized by its own content chapter list. One who may really benefit from reading the book might be one who lacks confidence in their own situation.

Late Bloomers: The Hidden Strengths of Learning and Suc… (2024)
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