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.
Early bloomers enjoy many advantages in affluent societies. But one huge disadvantage they face is that by dint of their youth and accomplishments, they give themselves credit for their success, more than the rest of us do. That’s understandable: adolescents and young adults tend to be self-centered… The problem arises when early bloomers have a setback: either they put all the blame on themselves and fall into self-condemnation and paralysis, or they blame everyone else. Late bloomers tend to be more circumspect: they are able to see their own role in the adversity they face, without succumbing to self-condemnation or blame shifting.Rich Karlgaard
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! 😉
Thank you to Currency, Rich Karlgaard, and Amazon Vine for the ARC!