Maximize Your Potential: A book review by Bob Morris

Posted on: November 1st, 2013 by bobmorris

Maximize Your Potential: Grow Your Expertise, Take Bold Risks & Maximize YourBuild an Incredible Career
Jocelyn Glei, Editor
Amazon Publishing (2013)

Are you a prospective Free Radical? “Potential” means “you ain’t done it yet.” Darrell Royal

Jocelyn Glei edited this volume to which she and 21 others contributed their “insights on making things happen,” as did Scott Belsky, CEO of Behance, who also wrote the Foreword. This is one of the fist volumes in the 99U Box Series published by Amazon. Visit the 99U by Behance website and you will encounter this brief explanation: “For too long, the creative world has focused on idea generation at the expense of idea execution. As the legendary inventor Thomas Edison famously said, ‘Genius is 1% inspiration, and 99% perspiration.’ To truly make great ideas a reality, we must act, experiment, fail, adapt, and learn on a daily basis. 99U is Behance’s effort to provide this “missing curriculum” for making ideas happen. Through our Webby Award-winning website, popular events, and bestselling books, we share pragmatic, action-oriented insights from leading researchers and visionary creatives. At 99U, we don’t want to give you more ideas—we want to empower you to make good on the ones you’ve got.” It was Edison who also said, “Vision without execution is hallucination.”

The brief but insightful essays are divided within four sections: Creating Opportunities, Building Expertise, Cultivating Relationships, and Taking Risks. Each section also has a Q&A with a prominent knowledge leader:

o Robert Safian on Rediscovering Your Career, Constantly
o Joshua Foer on Learning to Live Outside Your Comfort Zone
o Sunny Bates on Networking in a Connection Economy
o Re-engineering the Way We Think About Mistakes

Insights on making ideas happen

These are among the dozens of explanations special interest and value to me, also listed to indicate the scope of the book’s coverage. The prefix for each is “How to…”

Cultivate craft before passion, Cal Newport (Pages 27-32)
Make your own luck, Glei (53-58)
Find your own sweet spot, Belsky (63-67)
Focus on getting better, rather then being good, Heidi Grant Halvorson (75-81)
Develop mastery through deliberate practice, Tony Schwartz (85-90)
Note: Schwartz examines the breakthrough research of Anders Ericsson and associates at Florida State University
Reprogram daily habits, Scott Young (105-110)
Build resilient relationships, Michael Bungay Stanier (141-146)
Create a killer collaborative team, David Burkus (161-166)
Lead in a world of co-creation, Mark McGuinness (171-177)
Demystify the fear factor in failure, Michael Schwalbe (187-192)
Lean into uncertainty, Jonathan Fields (215-220)
Make purposeful bets in a random world, Frans Johansson (225-231)

As I hope these subject areas suggest, the shared objective of those who contributed the material provided in this volume is to help each reader understand — insofar as unleashing and maximizing their potential are concerned — what works, what doesn’t…and why. They are determined to provide each reader with “insights on making ideas happen.”

With regard to the term Free Radical, Belsky explains: “Free Radicals want to take their careers into their own hands and put the world to work for them. Free Radicals are resilient, self-reliant, and extremely potent. You’ll find them working solo, in small teams, or within large companies. As the world changes [ever-faster and more disruptively], Free Radicals have re-imagined ‘work’ as we know it. No doubt we have lofty expectations.”

For those who aspire to become a Free Radical, here is your manifesto and operations manual.

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