The End Of Average Book Summary By Todd Rose

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The End of Average (2016) by Todd Rose offers readers an eye-opening look at how people are judged and measured against an outdated, arbitrary concept of what it means to be average.

From how averages used to be misapplied to different fields ranging from psychology and education to industry and engineering, this book reveals the true cost of undermining individual strengths.

Todd Rose's book also provides strategies on how companies, organizations, educational institutes, and individuals can capitalize on recognizing the unique differences in each person.

Discover new ways to foster collaboration amongst different personalities by activating untapped potentials and eliminating bias against anyone who isn't average.

Read The End of Average today to see firsthand how embracing everyone's individuality can lead to greater rewards for everyone!

The End Of Average Book

Book Name: The End of Average (How to Succeed in a World that Values Sameness)

Author(s): Todd Rose

Rating: 4.1/5

Reading Time: 16 Minutes

Categories: Psychology

Author Bio

Todd Rose is an impressive figure in the field of Human Development.

His educational journey began when he dropped out of high school, but eventually earned his doctorate in Human Development from Harvard Graduate School.

Currently, he serves as the director of the Mind, Brain and Education Program at Harvard and has also made a significant contribution to society through his book Square Peg.

He has also authored the book The End of Average which looks at how individuals are unique and can no longer be considered as part of a standardized group - something that goes contrary to traditional thinking about education.

The Fallacy Of Evaluating People By Average Measures: The Pitfalls Of ‘Averagarianism’


It’s time to break free from the idea of evaluating people based on averages.

We’ve become so accustomed to hearing phrases such as “on average, humans will have 4.7 partners over the course of their lives” that we often don’t even stop to question the value of such statements.

But it’s important to remember that measuring people with averages ignores what makes us human: our individuality.

In this book, you’ll learn how the concept of average measurements was brought into the realm of human behavior – and why it fails to accurately describe human characteristics.

You’ll also discover where and why educational institutions, companies and we as individuals are missing out on a valuable opportunity for development if we continue to adhere to what has been called “averagarianism.”

You’ll explore topics like how measuring celestial bodies differ from measuring human traits, why no US Air Force pilot fit into the aircraft’s cockpits in 1950s, why companies don’t need résumés to evaluate their applicants – as well as other interesting aspects about why we should finally put an end to evaluating people through averages.

The Inaccuracy Of Averages: Why “Average Man” Or “Norma” Don’T Exist

The mathematical concept of averages has its purposes, but it’s simply not suitable when applied to human beings.

Astronomer Adolphe Quetelet first used this method to measure astronomical characteristics, and it was successful.

However, when Quetelet used the same system to measure people, he found that the majority of individuals had different characteristics than those considered average.

This folly can be seen when considering the 1945 contest held in the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper.

Women were asked to submit nine dimensions that were measured against a statue called “Norma” created to represent an ideal female figure based on 15,000 women’s measurements.

Despite 3,000 women entering the competition, no one got close to hitting all nine averages — with the winner only managing five out of nine measurements.

This emphasizes how irrelevant these calculations are for humans as everyone is ultimately different from average when measuring certain attributes.

The Variety Of Human Characteristics Demands A Range Of Measurements Beyond Simple Averages

When discussing body size, there is no single word or measurement that can accurately describe an individual.

Our bodies are vast and varied, so trying to use one word, such as “big” for example, hardly does justice.

When you consider all the traits that make up a person’s body – head size, neck length, chest size, shoulders width and weight – it becomes clear that averages don’t apply when talking about human anatomy.

This lack of a uniform set of measurements proves how different people can be from each other in terms of their body shape and size.

In 1950, the US Air Force found this out firsthand when they measured the dimensions of 4,000 pilots but no single pilot fit the average dimensions of their first standard airplane cockpit!

As research showed with neck, thigh and wrist measurements being reflected on only 3.5% of those tested- using even 140 values still couldn’t guarantee a good fit.

Fortunately cockpit design has become adjustable thanks to modern technology and wedding gowns nowadays are adjusted to suit each bride’s specific measurements; but in general it just shows how hard it is to pinpoint an average concerning human anatomy!

The Misconception Of Averages: How Believing In The “Average” Can Limit Our Ability To Learn And Grow

Learn And Grow

When it comes to learning and acquiring knowledge, there’s no such thing as an “average” path or an “above average” intelligence.

That’s because character traits have little to do with how we learn.

Benjamin Bloom conducted experiments in the 1980s which showed that slow and fast learners were both able to acquire and retain knowledge about any given subject—whether it was philosophy or molecular biology—equally.

Another common misconception is that there is only one “right way” to do things, including learning, however psychologist Kurt Fischer proved this wrong when he tested different methods by which children can learn to read.

According to his research, 30 percent of children followed a different path than the “standard” one, but all their skills still developed normally.

Therefore, any deviation from what is considered the “average” should not be thought of as abnormal.

The End of Average book challenges our preconceived notions on learning and gaining skills and knowledge; promoting individuality as the key factor in achieving success.

The Value Of Examining Individual Character Traits Beyond Résumés And Degrees

Our character traits are fluid and constantly changing based on our environment, meaning they are not fixed in one way or another.

That’s why it’s important for modern companies to create flexible working environments that take into account each employee’s unique traits.

Google and Microsoft have already spent millions of dollars studying people’s individual character traits to work out the ideal workplace setting that suits all members equally.

People who differ in their areas of expertise can be put together as a team and complement each other, with extroverts pitching ideas while the introverts handle research.

Furthermore, companies should pay attention to any individuals who show potential skills that may differ from what they were hired for.

As an example, a worker at the tomato processing company Morning Star was noticed tinkering around with machinery; because of this skill he was then given an expert mechanic role which wasn’t listed on his résumé!

By focusing more on traits outside of standard requirements like a degree or grades, workplaces can encourage employees’ individuality – something which can really prove beneficial in the long run.

Companies Need To Be Specific And Look Beyond Grades And Degrees To Find The Right Hire

Companies should look for something more than just an average applicant if they want to succeed.

Instead of relying on grades and college degrees, it’s important to search for individuals with a unique combination of skills that meet the specific requirements of the position.

This is something that Zoho Corporation in India did when they started Zoho University – they select people from impoverished areas who then study and learn specific skills that uniquely qualify them as model applicants come graduation.

IGN Media Company has also taken measures beyond just hiring those with standard qualifications.

Rather than basing applicant decisions off of résumés, it implemented a “no-résumé” rule for applications.

This gives each individual candidate the chance to show their passions and demonstrate their skill sets, rather than only aiming at those with a general knowledge base.

Additionally, IGN balanced out its unconventional approach by introducing a six-week trial period where applicants become paid employees and prove themselves valid candidates before being hired on full-time.

All these steps set them up to find the perfect employees for their positions; ultimately going beyond grades and degrees to seek out those individuals with true potential in specific tasks.

Empowering Individualism And Rejecting Averagarianism Is The Way Of The Future


It’s clear that we need to move away from outdated models based on averages, including our education programs.Take the example of Kim N Campbell, a female fighter pilot who broke gender and size boundaries to fly for the US military in 2003.

If the traditional ‘average’ height requirement had still stood, she wouldn’t have been able to participate in that mission – but luckily they had already gotten rid of such stipulations.

To further promote individualism and extraordinary achievements, educational institutions should focus more on offering specific skill-based credentials rather than degree programs with broadly-designed topics.

This would give students greater flexibility and freedom to create their own unique paths for their education.

For example, certifications in design, animation, mobile applications and software programming could be combined for an overall credential in mobile game software development.

By using targeted credentials instead of 24 unrelated topics as found in some college degrees, job seekers can save time and money while still finding qualified employment.

This is a great way to step away from ‘averagarianism’, allowing us all to reach our full potential.

Wrap Up

The End of Average by Todd Rose offers a compelling argument for why we should stop believing in the premise that there is one ideal, “average” human nature and instead start embracing our individuality.

We must invest time in figuring out what makes us different from those around us and find ways to maximize our potential based on these unique characteristics.

Only then can we truly reach our full potential and make the most of our individual strengths.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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