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Land by Adam Grant

Review: 4 / 5

Hidden Potential by Adam Grant was a nice, quick weekend read. Grant tells great, engaging stories and I’ve enjoyed his previous books so I knew what I was getting into.

Some parts that stood out:

Learning styles are a myth, focus more on the type of learning you are aiming for. Reading for critical thinking, listening for understanding emotions, and doing for remembering information.

Discomfort is good, sticking in your comfort zone will hold you back. The anecdotes on this about language learning hit home on this as someone who spent ~6 years studying Spanish and never gaining fluency. Turns out I probably should have been been having conversations in Spanish instead of being worried about sounding dumb.

Discomfort seems to be a theme in a lot of business and self-improvement books right now. The Comfort Crisis and The Confident Mind are recent reads more focused on it.

The Tutor Effect is a good name for the idea that the best way to learn something is by teaching it. Not new information — everything article I write is really just a very elaborate way of learning something future me will probably want to know but now I can use a catch name for that idea when I encourage other people to try it.

Later in the book, discussions on education, teams, leadership, and hiring didn’t grab me as much. I did enjoy reading about efforts to instill a love of reading in children, and the focus on reading as the fundamental skill that underpins learning. In my professional life, a constant theme has been that the most thoughtful, creative, productive folks I’ve worked with have loved to read. Maybe not a coincidence.

In a section on introverts vs. extraverts there was useful insight into research that shows the best leader for a team depends on the makeup of the team — teams of reactive folks waiting for guidance are best led by extroverts who can lead by force of will. Proactive teams fare best when led by an introvert who come across as more receptive to input from the group.

That distinction makes sense intuitively, but I haven’t seen much consideration for this in my professional life, other than figuring out through trial and error the types of people that I do best leading. Now I know a little better why some of the people I’ve struggled to be a good leader for might not have been the right fit.

Overall the book felt a little unfocused: I’m not sure all of it was really about “the science of achieving great things” but still not a bad way to spend a rainy Saturday.


Title: Land
Author: Adam Grant
Published: 2023
ISBN: 9780593653142
Buy it from your local bookstore