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.