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Power of Uniqueness, The Paperback – February 1, 2002
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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From the Back Cover
"You can be anything you want to be."
Don’t let that lie rob you of your energy and purpose in life!
You may function adequately at a job, even forge an impressive career--but unless what you do is lit by an inner fire, you’re just getting by. Because the truth is, you were created with an indelible, highly personal pattern of innate giftedness and motivation. Arthur Miller calls it your Motivated Abilities Pattern, or MAP, and it’s nothing you learned. It’s something you were born with, the thing that makes you tick and determines your successes and failures.
In this revolutionary book, Miller invites you to explore concepts far different from anything you’ve ever read in a career development guide. Drawing on nearly 40 years’ experience analyzing the achievements of over 50,000 people, Miller uncovers a discovery about human nature that can literally change your life. If you feel frustrated and unmotivated by your present occupation--if you’ve spent months and even years wondering what to do with your life--this book can steer you in new directions that pack incredible returns.
About the Author
Arthur F. Miller Jr. is the founder of People Management International, Ltd. An author , a speaker and presenter at numerous national and regional conferences and workshops, he has served as the director of personnel at the University of Chicago’s Argonne facility and as director of industrial relations for Raytheon. He lives in Washington, Connecticut.
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The central idea of the book is that each of us can only unlock our life purpose by uncovering our unique God-ordained design. The authors tackle the question of "nature" vs. "nurture" and settle the debate decisively in favour of the former. Hence, the book debunks the myth of "becoming", the notion prevalent in our society today that we can be anything we want to be if only we try hard enough. No, the authors insist, we cannot; and even if we try, we invariably fall back upon our inborn abilities to shape what we are doing. In fact, a person's pattern of giftedness apparently remains fundamentally the same throughout life. Not everyone will agree with this. But the book makes a convincing case for it from a Christian perspective.
The book frames a person's pattern of giftedness as one's Motivated Abilities Pattern (MAP), i.e. what one likes to do and is able to do well. Both elements of passion and competence are equally necessary in discerning one's God-endowed design. Much of the book is devoted to helping the reader map out (pardon the pun) his/her very own MAP. The appendices even contain a step-by-step guide for this purpose. For instance, the reader is invited to compile a list of his/her most important achievement activities all the way from childhood, and then to identify, methodically, common patterns across these achievements. The various dimensions (and there are many!) of the MAP, such as motivated abilities, motivating subject matter, motivating circumstances etc. are also explained in detail, and each are further divided into categories (e.g. how I learn, evaluate, take action etc.) and sub-categories (e.g. reading, analysing, performing etc.) By following through with the book's method, one ends up with a detailed and unique personal stamp that is invaluable for clarifying one's innate pattern of giftedness.
On the whole, I found this an enlightening read on the importance of recognising our God-given inborn pattern, and a great practical help for vocational discernment. While the book will certainly benefit anyone, I believe it will be especially helpful for people at vocational crossroads, young adults soon to be confronted with vocational choices, or parents who wish to bring the best out of their children.
He begins by asking the reader to reconsider the conventional way of evaluating people - looking at where they were educated, for how long, and what related experience they have - and invites us instead to evaluate them by looking at what a person likes to do and do well. By employing both case studies and lists of examples of various gifted patterns, he then invites the reader to rediscover their own giftedness, or motivational pattern. The author argues that by examining how a person does things and why they do them, individuals can "unlock [their] essence." Finally, Miller concludes with a plea to reorient life and society in light of these truths. In addition to encouraging the individual to pursue the life and career for which they are most suited, he suggests substantial changes on the institutional level - in work, education and religion - to rebuild a society that better enables life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all.
The Power of Uniqueness is provocative and informative. Aside from giving an informed view of how he believes a person's environment shapes giftedness, Miller's book succeeds both in delivering a refined method of evaluating giftedness and in empowering the reader to see themselves and others as individuals who have something unique to give. Miller's book truly engaged me to reconsider my preconceived notions of personal evaluation, rediscover what has been given to me, and reorient my own life and work accordingly.