Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Rare Find: Spotting Exceptional Talent Before Everyone Else” as Want to Read:
The Rare Find: Spotting Exceptional Talent Before Everyone Else
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Rare Find: Spotting Exceptional Talent Before Everyone Else

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  333 ratings  ·  40 reviews
One of the nation's biggest music labels briefly signed Taylor Swift to a contract but let her go because she didn't seem worth more than $15,000 a year. At least four book publishers passed on the first Harry Potter novel rather than pay J. K. Rowling a $5,000 advance. And the same pattern happens in nearly every business.
Anyone who recruits talent faces the same basic c
ebook, 288 pages
Published October 18th 2011 by Portfolio (first published October 1st 2011)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Rare Find, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Rare Find

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.72  · 
Rating details
 ·  333 ratings  ·  40 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Rare Find: Spotting Exceptional Talent Before Everyone Else
Amy Nielsen
Jan 15, 2018 rated it liked it
For anyone thinking of hiring a CEO, a football player, a basketball player or a Harvard Law Business School Administrator, this book is a great find. For the rest of us who are likely only going to be hiring nurses, clerical workers, marketers, accountants etc for our businesses, it is doubtful that anything other than the premise of "ask a lot of questions" and "go deeper" will be of benefit to us. I surely would love to hire a CNA that wants to change the world but the opportunity for her to ...more
Nov 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Highly recommend Anders examination of identifying and selecting out those among us who are capable of exceptional success: thinking in new paradigms, defining new pathways, and how to identify those characteristics for our companies and our projects. The author examines the highly unique, breakthrough talents among us. The accidentally recruited, mistakenly ignored, insightfully developed and tragically overlooked, sometimes blindingly successful people who express great potential despite overs ...more
Aug 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This easy-to-read book discusses modern thinking in talent recruiting. Despite the title, it's more than just finding the very top talent; it concerns how to identify people that will survive and excel when most would quit. The book focuses on finding talent that conventional methods would disqualify.

For me, the book's greatest value may be when it's turned on its head: rather than recruiting talent, what can I do to make myself a better competitor? I highly recommend this book for any career- o
Jim Razinha
Aug 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've had this on my professional shelf at work for a few years and took time to dig into it. In Anders' Introduction, he bemoans the ability to identify great people as having deteriorated. My margin note was "we all want 'great' people, but not everyone is great. Not by a long shot (90% of all Navy officers used to be in the top 10%)". The parenthetical aside recalled the old evaluating system, where if someone was not in the top 10%, it was a career killer, so everybody was - except the ones w ...more
Oct 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating book about finding talent in the long tail of probability and the importance of character and grit/persistence. Examples from the special forces to TFA to Taylor Swift and Pope John Paul II. Highly recommend this to anyone interested in talent management and building a sustainable organization.
May 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, business
A very interesting approach to finding game-changing talent. It actually provides an intellectual framework where the quirks of big law firms actually makes sense.
Apr 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this more for the interesting narratives than for the useful take-home pieces of advice (I didn't have any, as I was already reading resumes with the kind of open mind he describes). It's VERY readable, and I appreciate the approach of going into a variety of situations (my favorite was the Special Forces training), describing it thoroughly, and teasing out the ways in which the lessons can be applied in wildly different fields. I thought the last chapter, on how to get hired if you co ...more
Sandip Roy
Jul 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
A fantastic account with real life examples from history on how bright and talented people can be identified and spotted by looking beyond conventional wisdom. The best and brightest are around us if we care to look deeper away from the usual stereotypes... recommended for all practicing managers and HR leaders
Christopher Litsinger
This book is probably primarily useful to those who are either (a) in charge of a large-scale search, or (b) in charge of a very high-end search for a specific role such as a C-suite executive. However, there are plenty of small nuggets that I found thought provoking for designing interview processes as a hiring manager.
The book is short and fairly enjoyable for a book about hiring – I found many of his specific stories, especially the description of the selection process for Army Special Forces
Soundview Executive Book Summaries
The Rare Find: Spotting Exceptional Talent Before Everyone Else by George Anders was chosen by Soundview Executive Book Summaries as one of the Top 30 Business Books of 2012.


This past weekend saw the annual running of the Kentucky Derby, the biggest thoroughbred race in the United States. For some companies, the process of hiring a new employee can be the same as placing a wager on a thoroughbred. Despite in-depth research, lengthy accolade-filled resumes and ringing endorse
May 30, 2012 rated it liked it
Decent Book, Sum It up To Looking Past Resumes & Looking For Character. Nothing Special Here

Depending on who you are this book would make either a fine or excellent read. If you are one to believe that resumes / CVs are everything, then yes, you are in no doubt in need of this book. But if you are the type that understands that everyone is different and you can't look on a resume and determine whether a person is a perfect fit for a company, then no you won't be in for such a treat in my opinio
Feb 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: working-smart
this book is aptly named. i wouldn't say the average HR manager would find this helpful, but organizations looking for standout stars to lead greatness (personally, i think ALL should), will especially find the book engaging. for those in a rush (and i think he should publish it as a tiny e-book, you can simply read the wrap up for the conclusion on pp. 236-247.

anders follows many organizations and looks at how they find these amazing performers in the interview process, which can sometimes be a
Oct 23, 2011 rated it liked it
Anders offers a wide bandwidth of different industries, jobs, talents required and talent sleuthing techniques. Within each, he provides enjoyable narratives which make you want to read on to see the outcome of each search and the multiple doors that could have been chosen to walk through, but the one door that ultimately made the most sense for long-term success...or alternatively, the door that was chosen for all the wrong reasons and led to disaster.
This is not a how-to book for talent sear
Andrew Rhomberg
Jan 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book on how to spot truly exceptional talent.

My favourite parts are the "Jagged Resume" and "Talent that Whispers".

The book is very clearly and logically structured,

It also breaks with a number of conventions. It highlights that people that are top of their class contribute magnitudes more than others (winner takes all economy), but often have very unconventional resumes.

I learnt a lot with regards to hiring for when reading this book.

I'd warmly recommend this book, if y
Nic Brisbourne
May 31, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is jammed full of tips and insights about how to hire great people, most clustered around the central theme of assessing character rather than experience. The key character traits to look for are resilience, curiousity, efficiency and self-reliance. I wrote a blog with more detail about the tips:

The tips are great, but I gave the book four stars rather than five because as a collection of ideas it lacks a little coherence.
Jul 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating examples from many different fields such as high tech, medicine, military, finance, management, education, and academic administration.

Useful insights into how to spot talent. Sometimes it requires casting a wide net; other times overlooking blatant shortcomings to see hidden strengths; other times better defining the characteristics you're looking for in a candidate and (re-)designing the interview/audition process to allow a proper assessment of whether a candidate has the right st
Kent Winward
Jul 08, 2012 rated it it was ok
A lot of anecdotal stories on finding talent don't really explain much on finding exceptional talent. The main point for finding talented authors -- make lots of really small bets on lots of different authors and maybe you'll get lucky -- isn't exactly instructive. The rest is pretty much common sense -- crunch numbers like in Money Ball or try and make sure the talent you are seeking fits the job description.

The science of talent spotting has a ways to go.
Nicholas Moryl
Dec 27, 2016 rated it liked it
Good book, but can be reduced to just reading chapter 12. All the rest is anecdotes illustrating the points the author is trying to make. My main criticism of the book is that it's entirely anecdotal, so there's narrative fallacy aplenty (and/or survivorship bias). It's unclear whether or not any of the advice is statistically supported, but it sound good/reasonable, and that's probably as good as anything out there right now. ...more
Devin Partlow
Nov 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Its really a 3.5 but since I can't give half stars, I flipped a coin to decide which way to round.

There are some pretty good practical things to be learned from reading this book. I'm anxious to apply it to who I choose to work with in my future endeavors.

An interesting idea for me inspired by this book is entrepreneurial auditions.
David Tendo
He's got good stories here but nothing much else. Just like Imagine: How Creativity works, there's a lot of interesting stories about how people becoming successful, but it doesn't actually go into HOW they did it, which is frustrating because knowing how to talent-spot is something that would be good to know. ...more
Sep 17, 2016 rated it liked it
I bought this after my company's National Sales Meeting and our then CEO was gushing about some of the lessons in the book. I'm not in the job market, but it's always interesting to read about how people can make themselves stand out when looking for new employment opportunities. It's an interesting leadership book, which is very readable and informative. I enjoyed it! ...more
Jan 30, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This would be a great book for someone in Human Resources to read or someone that does a lot of interviewing for their company. I found the studies interesting on how to hire the best people without using the useless old fashion methods (resumes and such).
Oct 03, 2013 rated it liked it
There are some great stories and examples in this book that keep it moving along. Some great insights on how to assess people in general and not pass over them because they don't fit some pre-conceived mold. Applicable to how we judge people in everyday life, not just in a corporation. ...more
In general, the idea of book is to illustrate how talent can often time be ignored in stream of standardized test when hiring people, place school and incorporation, where in hunger of talent, at present still a enigmatically define.
Mark Monsma
This book was not what I expected it to be. If anyone has read the book "Talent Is Overrated", they will surely agree that this book is... I hate to say it... boring. It lacks emotion and continuity. I advise you to skip this book. If you do want to read it, let me know and I will send you my copy. ...more
Jun 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting. There many examples of people who have found rare talent and a few basic categories this rare talent falls into so that, hopefully, you'll be able to recognize it when it comes across your desk. ...more
Nov 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is an excellent book. It's told through robust stories and examples, that do a fine job of illustrating the author's key points in a really memorable way. ...more
Christine Cavalier
Dec 15, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
I put my review at my blog,
The Rare Find Review at PurpleCar
Mar 18, 2012 rated it it was ok
topics were all over the place. It reads easily and is entertaining -- but not very cohesive.
Mar 22, 2012 rated it liked it
If you want the Reader's Digest version-skip to last chapter. Lots of interesting analogies and of charismatic hirings gone wrong-Carly Fiorina anyone? ...more
« previous 1 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Madison Mega-Mara...: # 20 The Rare Find 1 2 Mar 24, 2015 09:40AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose
  • Upstream: The Quest to Solve Problems Before They Happen
  • Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World
  • Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence
  • The Interpretation of Dreams
  • The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business
  • Transactional Analysis in Psychotherapy
  • The Culture Map: Breaking Through the Invisible Boundaries of Global Business
  • The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance
  • Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In
  • Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization
  • This is Marketing: You Can't Be Seen Until You Learn To See
  • HBR's 10 Must Reads on Mental Toughness (with bonus interview "Post-Traumatic Growth and Building Resilience" with Martin Seligman) (HBR's 10 Must Reads)
  • Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World
  • The Lessons of History
  • Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success
  • Eat a Peach
See similar books…

News & Interviews

Ciannon Smart has been holed up in her England home since the pandemic began a year ago, but by no means has she been idle. She’s been on...
24 likes · 6 comments