Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Recommended Readings: The Rare Find by George Anders

(You can also purchase this book from by clicking here. Book Depository offers FREE international shipping)

I was introduced to this book (The Rare Find: Spotting Exceptional Talent Before Everyone Else) recently by my boss, which more or less meant that there was little choice other than to read it. On the surface, The Rare Find is meant to be a book about spotting talent as a hiring manager. The book has a myriad of examples on how and where we can find exceptional talent.

For those of you who are involved in hiring or interviewing candidates, I am sure that you understand that detecting capable candidates go far beyond classroom achievements. In this day and age, resumes come padded with overflowing information, most of which are totally irrelevant to whether the candidate is able to perform the task well. Either that or the achievements are overly exaggerated. Furthermore, in Malaysia, there is huge problem with relying on academic results. The government has a habit of handing out As like free candy. So much so, that there are THREE separate levels of As. A+, A, and A-. Is this another one of those self-bluffing tactics? We can sleep better at night knowing that we scored an A- instead of actually scoring a C (if you are using the scale of A, B and C).

This makes the task of finding the “right” candidate very costly and time consuming. How then, can we find the candidate that we want? This is exactly the kind of question that The Rare Find attempts to answer, and in my opinion, it has done so very well. In fact, the examples in the book are even more selective. It demonstrates methods that truly distinguish the good from the great.

Nonetheless, on a deeper level, the book shares so much more. Now, those of you who know me know that I do not buy into the notion that talent is a determinant of success. On its surface, The Rare Find shares how we can find talent. But what it is really telling us is how we can “create” talent. Instead of sitting back and admiring how “great talents” jump over the hoops and fires that were laid in front of them, we can and should proactively internalize the behaviors and attitudes demonstrated.

What I mean is that, the book is basically telling us how to behave like talented people. If you think about it, the reason that George Anders can write a book about finding talent in general is simply because there is a general pattern in the way that exceptionally talented people behave. I will not give the secret ingredients away and of course, not to spoil the book for you. In many ways this book serves to be some sort of a motivation to unleash your own potential. While it may sound clich├ęd, very often we are in our own way. I attribute this to the fear of failure. It is the main reason why many of us do not take risks. Our instincts are wired towards self-preservation. We tend to ask, “What if this goes wrong? Or What if that goes wrong?”. Of course this is useful more often than not, but as with all personal attributes, it is a double-edged sword. Being overcautious shuts out many of the opportunities that are available to us.

That is why The Rare Find dedicates one chapter in the book to “What Can Go Right?”. This is one of the key reasons why I have chosen to embark on a road less travelled. While many of you are already aware, I am still withholding what the road less travelled really means. The opportune moment will arise and I will reveal all then. 

(You can also purchase this book from by clicking hereBook Depository offers FREE international shipping)

Disclosure: If you purchase the books from the links that I have provided, you will be participating in the great cause of making sure that the authors of the Main Streeter do not starve so that they can continue writing for your benefit and entertainment. Thank you in advance for your generosity.