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Decoding Greatness

How the Best in the World Reverse Engineer Success

Read by Ron Friedman

NATIONAL BESTSELLER

For readers of Atomic Habits, Deep Work, and Peak comes a game-changing approach to mastering new skills and succeeding faster.

For generations, we’ve been taught there are two ways to succeed—either from talent or practice. In Decoding Greatness, award-winning social psychologist Ron Friedman illuminates a powerful third path—one that has quietly launched icons in a wide range of fields, from artists, writers, and chefs, to athletes, inventors, and entrepreneurs: reverse engineering.

To reverse engineer is to look beyond what is evident on the surface and find a hidden structure. It’s the ability to taste an intoxicating dish and deduce its recipe, to listen to a beautiful song and discern its chord progression, to watch a horror film and grasp its narrative arc.

Using eye-opening examples of top performers—from Agatha Christie to Andy Warhol, Barack Obama to Serena Williams—and groundbreaking research on pattern recognition, skill acquisition, and creative genius, Friedman reveals the staggering power of reverse engineering and teaches you how to harness this vital skill for yourself.

You’ll learn how to take apart models you admire, pinpoint precisely what makes them work, and apply that knowledge to develop novel ideas, methods, and products that are uniquely your own. Along the way, you’ll meet the culinary detective who exposes top-secret recipes, the burglar who can visit a bank and recreate its blueprints, and the celebrated artist who reverse engineered his way to the top of his profession without any formal education.

You don’t have to be a genius to achieve greatness, but you do need a method for getting there. Bursting with unforgettable stories and actionable strategies, Decoding Greatness is an indispensable guide to learning from the best, improving your skills, and sparking breakthrough ideas.

Avi Pryntz-Nadworny

Ron Friedman is an award-winning psychologist who has served on the faculty of the several prestigious colleges in the United States and has consulted for political leaders, nonprofits, and many of the world’s most recognized brands. Popular accounts of his research have appeared in major newspapers, including TheNew York Times, TheWashington Post, The Boston Globe, the Globe and Mail, The Guardian, as well as magazines such as Harvard Business Review and Psychology Today

Ron is the founder of ignite80, a learning and development company that translates research in neuroscience, human physiology and behavioral economics into practical strategies that help working professionals become healthier, happier and more productive. His first book, The Best Place to Work, was selected as an Inc. Magazine Best Business Book of the Year.

Avi Pryntz-Nadworny

Ron Friedman is an award-winning psychologist who has served on the faculty of the several prestigious colleges in the United States and has consulted for political leaders, nonprofits, and many of the world’s most recognized brands. Popular accounts of his research have appeared in major newspapers, including TheNew York Times, TheWashington Post, The Boston Globe, the Globe and Mail, The Guardian, as well as magazines such as Harvard Business Review and Psychology Today

Ron is the founder of ignite80, a learning and development company that translates research in neuroscience, human physiology and behavioral economics into practical strategies that help working professionals become healthier, happier and more productive. His first book, The Best Place to Work, was selected as an Inc. Magazine Best Business Book of the Year.

"Author/narrator Ron Friedman draws from music, cuisine, writing, sports, politics, art, and business to decode success stories and draw signifcant lessons from them. Listeners are provided with actionable tools to apply to their own circumstances, including a pdf with outlines of steps referred to in the audiobook. Friedman's fast-paced, enthusiastic narration will keep listeners totally engaged throughout this treasure trove of "aha moments." Listeners might conclude that in writing and performing this outstanding audiobook, Friedman demonstrates the very tools he recommends."

– AudioFile Magazine