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The Rare Find: Spotting Exceptional Talent Before Everyone Else Hardcover – October 18, 2011
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“George Anders is himself a rare find. A superb writer, he brings piercing intellect and persistent curiosity to examine the single most important leadership skill: finding and picking the right people. By turning his own talent upon this vital and elusive question, Anders has done a great service.”
—Jim Collins, author of How the Mighty Fall and Good to Great
“How do you find brilliant performers? The first step is to read this remarkable, groundbreaking, profoundly useful book—which is not so much a book as a detailed map of the newly revealed landscape of modern talent hunting. Quite simply, the best book on the subject I’ve ever read.”
—Daniel Coyle, author of The Talent Code
“George Anders combines deep reporting, vivid storytelling, and keen analysis to help unravel the mysteries of talent. Whether you’re running a large organization or managing a small team, The Rare Find is that rare book—a must-read.”
—Daniel H. Pink, author of Drive and A Whole New Mind
“George Anders finds the deep truth about choosing people right. You’ll never make these supremely important decisions the same way again.”
—Geoff Colvin, author of Talent Is Overrated
“Resilience, curiosity, and self-reliance are strengths that don’t show up in HR hiring manuals. In The Rare Find, George Anders shows that they lead to fresh ways to hunt for talent. More power to him for daring to advocate that which is not obvious.”
—Andrew S. Grove, former chairman and CEO of Intel Corporation and author of Only the Paranoid Survive
“Well researched, useful, and entertaining . . . The book not only shows how to find and hire top talent, it also provides valuable advice for anyone looking to enhance his or her own performance.”
—Steven N. Kaplan, Neubauer Family Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance, University of Chicago Booth School of Business
About the Author
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1. Widen one's view of talent;
2. Find inspirations that are hidden in plain sight; and
3. Simplify one's search for talent.
The candidate's core character is central to this quest. The nine character traits that matter the most to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) when choosing new agents are a good template to be used in this quest. These nine character traits are initiative, perseverance, compatibility, discipline, trainability, judgment, loyalty, leadership, and maturity. Mr. Anders often touches on these personality traits when he examines how the best talent recruiters from the public and private sectors proceed to find these rare "birds" that make all the difference between success and failure. Mr. Anders relates the experience of recruiters from the Green Berets, the music industry, new start-ups, multinationals, or hospitals, to name a few sectors of activity.
In summary, Mr. Anders gives some useful tips to his readers to broaden their horizon while being systematic in their search for the "Rare Find" that is too often hidden in plain sight.
The Rare Find tells stories about people and organizations and how they come together to find the right characters to help develop and further the plot. After all, everyone has a story to their career, so what better way to explore insights into hiring the right people than to use stories? This is exactly what The Rare Find does in a well-written way.
The Rare Find is not a conventional book that outlines a specific number of steps on how to find great talent. Instead, it weaves together stories that highlight ideas and real approaches. It is very practical for organizations while being inspirational for talented people looking for the right opportunities. The Rare Find serves both audiences very well.
It takes extra effort to really understand what a person may bring in terms of talent to an organization. Some approaches that come through in the stories are:
- Read resumes from the bottom up to gain insights into a person's story and character traits.
- Explore those elements that may show resiliency or determination.
- Study yourself and determine why you have been successful. Look for similar traits in others.
- Examine the capacity of a person to learn and grow.
In many ways, The Rare Find is an unconventional read. The book adheres to its own advice of being a little different in exploring how to find and hire the right people.
I suppose I should have known better. Having read Michael Lewis' "Moneyball" (which I recommend) about the use of innovative approaches in finding exceptional baseball players overlooked by most major league teams, I should have realized that the topic can be made compelling. Like Lewis, Anders has woven the real-life stories of people and organizations into his discussions of what works in finding rare talent.
For example, when the U.S. Army's elite Special Forces look for those soldiers who will become effective Green Berets, they don't simply look for the most exceptional cases of physical strength and endurance. Physical capabilities are essential, of course, but they aren't necessarily enough. It turns out that watching small teams of Special Forces candidates try to move an old, rusted trailer a few miles can be very revealing about the leadership, persistence and flexibility components of the job. As the reader of this book becomes engrossed in the descriptions of the soldiers' efforts, through their stories the reader learns something about finding the key components of success.
This book is literally one seemingly unique (yet pattern-forming) story after another. There's the story of the remarkable success of the University of Utah's legendary graphics team, composed in large part of people who didn't fit well elsewhere. There's the story of how innovative organizations like Facebook found creative ways to compete with much larger companies that could devote countless hours to interviewing potential employees. For example, faced with the need to rapidly scale up their company, Facebook created innovative programming challenges ("puzzles") that it posted on its website. These puzzles were not like the famous brainteasers reportedly used years ago by big software companies (for example, "How many gold balls could you fit in a Boeing 747?"). Rather, Facebook's puzzles took hours of creative, innovative programming, and that's exactly what they were looking for. Unsurprisingly, they found a number of overlooked people in unexpected places, like Portland, Maine, for example. Indeed, a central message of this book is that exceptional talent doesn't always look to be quite so exceptional, until you look much closer.
The stories just keep on coming. Some involve people you may have heard of, like Yankees relief pitcher Mariano Rivera, Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling, or country singer Taylor Swift. These exceptionally talented people were not obvious stars from the beginning. Their stories are fascinating, and through them the reader continues to learn about the process of finding rare talent. Some of the organizations described by Anders, like Teach for America or Johns Hopkins Hospital, are also well known, and their stories about finding exceptional talent are also compelling. There's more--much more--but hopefully you can see how the author has used a lot of research regarding rare individuals in order to weave a compelling narrative. If the subject of finding rare talent interests you, this book is worthy of your consideration.
Most recent customer reviews
The ability to pick the right people and not to miss great people has long been the bane of employer’s lives.Read more
The book focuses on what can we learn from the world's best talent judges in terms of finding the best people to hire.Read more
useful for people of many backgrounds!
I was asked to read it before I attended a regional conference;
I highly recommend it!
First of all, the book is well written and easy to read. So why only 3 stars?Read more