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99u #2

Maximize Your Potential: Grow Your Expertise, Take Bold Risks Build an Incredible Career

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Success isn't about being the best. It's about always getting better.

Can you step outside your comfort zone? Bounce back from failure? Build new skills? Tapping into your true potential is no idle endeavor. It demands creativity, dedication, and a whole lot of hustle.

With wisdom from 21 leading creative minds, 99U's Maximize Your Potential will show you how to generate new opportunities, cultivate your creative expertise, build valuable relationships, and take bold, new risks so that you can utilize your talents to the fullest.

Maximize Your Potential features contributions from: Teresa Amabile, Sunny Bates, Michael Bungay Stanier, David Burkus, John Caddell, Ben Casnocha, Jack Cheng, Jonathan Fields, Joshua Foer, Jocelyn K. Glei, Heidi Grant Halvorson, Frans Johansson, Steffen Landauer, Mark McGuinness, Cal Newport, Robert Safian, Michael Schwalbe, Tony Schwartz, Tina Seelig, and Scott H. Young. Plus, a foreword from Behance founder & CEO Scott Belsky.

272 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2013

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About the author

Jocelyn K. Glei

7 books226 followers
Jocelyn K. Glei is a writer who's obsessed with how we can find more creativity and meaning in our daily work. Her latest book, Unsubscribe, is a modern guide to killing email anxiety, avoiding distraction, and getting real work done. Her previous works include Manage Your Day-to-Day, Maximize Your Potential, and Make Your Mark, which offer pragmatic, actionable advice for creatives on managing their time, their careers, and their businesses. She was formerly the founding director of the 99U Conference and editor of 99u.com, which earned two Webby Awards for Best Cultural Blog and a rabid fan base of productivity nerds. She lives in Los Angeles and online at jkglei.com.

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5 stars
852 (32%)
4 stars
1,012 (38%)
3 stars
586 (22%)
2 stars
132 (5%)
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33 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 185 reviews
Profile Image for Jonathan Phares.
26 reviews1 follower
August 4, 2016
Maximize Your Potential is a shallow collection of short essays written by some experts and mostly psuedo-experts citing case studies and unsourced "studies show" to make a case for its many obvious claims. The book is dedicated to "those who strive". I'd argue those people, with whom I identify, are disappointed by the content in this book. With advice like be the better you and cultivate your luck quotient, how could we not be?

So as not to be completely derisive, I will point out a couple highlights from the book. The idea that one should build skill as a prerequisite for finding or following passion is novel and requires further thought. I also appreciated the article that outlined five questions for building good ground rules on which solid working relationships can be built. I will certainly try it out.

Overall this book was lacking and felt like a series of plugs for people and books that I had to pay to read...
Profile Image for Patrick.
55 reviews9 followers
July 9, 2016
Overall, this 99U book is a good read. It is what I like to call a "cocktail" of modern career advice. If you aren't following a lot of the Tim Ferriss' of the personal development era, then these collections of essays will be very rewarding.

While each essay holds up well, if you are familiar with a lot of these writers, then you might not get as much excitement from the material. But that isn't to say it isn't worth the read. Given its length, it's still worth reading and having that information in one book.
Profile Image for Mustafa Nuwaidri.
377 reviews144 followers
March 7, 2018
مجموعة مقالات قصيرة مفيدة ومشوقة ، وتقدم زبدة الكلام دون اسهاب ممل
تتنوع المواضيع المطروحة ويتنوع كتاب المقالات ولكن هناك اطار جامع
وهو ما يتعلق بكيفية تحسين ادائك الوظيفي وكيفية تحقيق نجاحات في عالم الاعمال والابداع
الكلام المطروح ذو مصداقية جيدة ويساعدنا في فهم مايجري فعلا
الكتاب ايجابي واذا كنت محبطا من دوامة العمل من الجيد قراءة هذا الكتاب
وجدير بالذكر ان تصميم الكتاب جذاب

من المواضيع التي طرحت في المقالات ونالت اعجابي:
المهارة تأتي قبل الشغف*
*مهما حدث سوف تتكيف
* اعمل مجازفات صغيرة
* الاخطاء بمثابة معلومات
*اسمح لنفسك بارتكاب اخطاء
* لا تخف من الفشل ابدا
* اهمية التعاون في العمل
* حقق قفزات ولا ترضى بالمستوى المقبول
* قوة العادات
* قيم ادائك وتقدمك كل يوم
Profile Image for Chris Theule.
132 reviews2 followers
March 10, 2015
Change will lead to insight far more often than insight will lead to change.
Profile Image for chrysanthine.
158 reviews
January 24, 2020
At first I was a bit disappointed because the first part sounds somewhat darwinistic. Adapt. Survive. Come out on top. Uhm ok. But the second and third part really made up for that. There were some very interesting points about learning, how journaling can help with your progress and about the social side of working on projects with people you barely know. So that was really cool! The last part was underwhelming again, basically more of the good old ‘learn from your mistakes’ and ‘it’s never as bad as you think it is’.
I feel like I didn’t get as much out of it as I did of the of first in the series, but it’s still a good read.
Profile Image for Sumeet Mahendra.
Author 1 book45 followers
February 25, 2017
WoW! So much to learn from this book. The second in series and an incredible sequel of Manage your day-to-day (link http://amzn.to/2lkpOXe )
Seriously, there're no words enough to explain the greatness of this book, a fabulous compilation of stories, lessons and teachings of some rare and successful persons.

Why just four stars?
Simply, bcoz earlier one was beyond my expectations and this one is some what repetition and extension of earlier book.

I honestly recommend you to read. If not, then at least go though the notes and highlights I've created, which I'm going to put on my blog www.sumt7.blogspot.com

Here's the link http://amzn.to/2lkeYk1 to buy it at Rs 49 or 0.79 USD.
Profile Image for Lindsay.
353 reviews67 followers
October 22, 2013
While the tips in this book are new enough to the business world to avoid being cliche, there are still very few concrete and actionable tips for an ordinary individual to use. For instance, what does "accept uncertainty" mean in a person's career? How do you put that into practice. This book, like many other self-help books, fails in that regard. A few of the contributors did offer helpful and practical advice though, so the book wasn't a total bust.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book through First Reads.
Profile Image for Paul Deveaux.
59 reviews4 followers
February 24, 2014
Decent book. This is a collection of essays on four major themes to maximize your potential. If you are at all following any online gurus on productivity, creativity, and the like, you will hear several familiar voices here. Lots of great insights but not necessarily a cohesive tome. There is not a through line or a thesis here that is easily apparent. This book is best read an essay at at time, leaving space for reflection and adjustment before moving on to the next. Not a bad book but easily not one of my favorites in this genre.
75 reviews3 followers
May 31, 2020
Good read. 3 stars.

Few years back I had read ‘Manage Your Day-to-Day’ from the same author and benefited immensely from it. I found this book ‘Maximize Your Potential’ also equally useful. It starts with a brilliant article from Cal Newport on ‘cultivating your craft before your passion’, follows up with extremely useful insights on how to cultivate mindset of getting better, how to build mastery through rituals, how writing journals will help and how to make purposeful bets in an uncertain world. I didn’t connect with few articles in the chapters on Creating Opportunities, Cultivating Relationships and Taking Risks. I found the articles in Building Expertise chapter the most useful. Good one-time read. 3 stars.
Profile Image for Lilly   Minasyan.
345 reviews28 followers
February 2, 2019
“With focus and consistency you can change your habits. By changing your habits, you reprogram the behaviors that control most of your life and ultimately determine your success.”

I actually enjoyed this book way more than the first one!
It was full of great advices, examples and questions that you need to constantly keep in mind. I think that's why I am into self-help books, because you need to keep hearing the same advice over and over. Habits aren't created in one day, you constantly need to strive for progress, and the results don't come overnight. So, if from this book I learn and use just 1% and then from another book 1%, eventually I'll see improvements in my day-to-day life.

Considering that the book isn't too long, you can't really expect a deep analysis, but what is in the book is valuable, at least for me.

I do recommend this book!
Profile Image for Veta Armonaite.
16 reviews3 followers
December 21, 2021
Calibrate your career for max impact by working at the intersection of your genuine skills, interests and opportunities.

Two mindsets: be good vs. get better. With be good mindset constantly comparing our performance with others, to see how we size up and to receive validation for our talents. A get better mindset, on the other hand, leads instead of self-comparison and a concern with making progress. Once you stop trying to be good and look smart, you can focus on tackling the exciting challenges that will help you get better.
Profile Image for Vladimir.
28 reviews1 follower
March 29, 2014
The first book of Maximize Your potential was more impressive for reading, however a lot of inspiration and bright ideas could be found in this book as well. I would imagine that in various stages of my live the book gives me different information and different insights of my life attitude.

Book highlights/extracts:
The possibilities are infinite. But so, too, are the responsibilities. Having that abilitiy brings the lead of your own development on to you, do not wait for the manager,that would guide you to your greatness.

4 key areas for career success:
Identifying and creating new oportunities
Cultivating your expertise over time
Building collaborative relationships
Learningnhow to take risks.

Key takeaway:
Craft comes before passion
Passion is not a profession, it is a way of working. To achieve a lifestyle that you love, start by cultivating rare and valuable skills that will set you apart.

Plan to adapt your plan
Plan flexibly, and be ready to pivot in your career if necessary. Always have a Plan A, B and even Z in your back pocket.

Do not settle for the status quo
Try to regularly disrupt your own status quo. If you are getting too comfortable in your current position, it is probably time to challenge yourself in new ways.

Get mission critical
Think about your work -and where are you going-in terms of a larger mission. A job title is a closed objective, but a mission can grow with you.

Luck is a state of mind
Expose yourself to new situations, keep an open mind, and be proactive about pursuing chance opportunities. Luck comes to those who seek it.

Work with intetion
Calibrate your career for maximum impact by working at the intersection of your genuine skills, interests and opportunities.

Stop trying to "BE GOOD"
Give yourself permission to screw up. Once you stop trying to be good (and look smart), you can focus on tackling the exciting challenges that will help you GET BETTER.
Change your mindset from pursuing "Be good" to "Get better"!

Sprint to speed up mastery
Set aside time for regular sprints where you work intensively on a key project or skill without distraction. Then reward yourself with a break.

Avoid the "OK Plateau"
Focus on practising the hard stuff when you are developing new skills. As with the weight lifting, you know you are making headway when you feel the burn.

Hunger for feedback
Develop a method for gathering feedback - whether is is tracking the numbers yourself or hiring a coach. No factor is more essential to growth and learning.

Make building habbits a habbit
Try to change on key habbit a month. If you can make the behaviours that help you excel automatic, executing at the top of your game becomes significantly easier.

Daily observation drives progress
Track you progress by journalling for a few minutes every day. The practise will help you identify stumbling blocks, observe patterns, and document successes.

"If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go with others" (African proverb)

Do not got it alone
Seek out fellow travelers - trusted colleagues and collaborators whon you can ask for help, who will tell you the truth, and who will hold you accountable.

Create Social Contracts
Address what could go wrong in a creative relationship up front. Then, when a conflict does arise, you have created a comfortable space for talking about it.

Trust is generosity
Focus on how you can help others, and lasting connections will come. The true spirit of networking should be generosity, not obligation.

Ask and ye shall receive
Asking always precedes connecting, and if you do it regularly, your network will thrive. Make a weekly habit of reaching out to people whom you admire.

Act as a master builder, not a master mind
Build on-and improvise with-others' ideas and skill sets. If you let everyone shine in his or her are of expertise, your projects will thrive. Try to assemble creative teams that include both veteran collaborators and newbies. Diversity (in the right dosage) accelerates your creative potential.

Appreciate your adaptability
Be aware that when you fail, you will adapt to the new situation much more quickly than you expect.

Take action to avoid regret
Fear a failure to act more than you fear failure itself. Most people's buggest regrets are the opportunities they did not act on, no those they did.

Do not go all in
Try to make small bets for the inital test-rns of your project or idea. IT is hard to predict what will take off, and this limites exposure to risk.

Mistakes are information
Mine your "failures" for valuable data about what works and what does not. As lons as you learn form the process, it is not a mistake.

Dive into uncertainty
Don not be afraid to live in the shade of big questions. Uncertainty and ambiguity are a necessary part of risk-taking and the creative progress.

Accept your agency
Embrace your power to make the outcome of any risk a success. Almost any situation can be turned around with persistence and ingenuity.

Profile Image for Brian Johnson.
115 reviews239 followers
February 1, 2021
Super quick-reading, inspiring, practical goodness I think you’ll enjoy.

“Comedian Milton Berle used to say, ‘If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.’ If we want to realize our full potential as creatives and individuals, being proactive isn’t just an option, it’s a requirement. Fortunately, we have more power than ever to share our ideas with the world, to connect with others, and to define our career paths. The era of self-invention is upon us. ...

To help you through this brave new world, 99U’s Maximize Your Potential assembles insights around four key areas that we believe are essential to long term career success: identifying and creating new opportunities, cultivating your expertise over time, building collaborative relationships, and learning how to take risks. ...

Let this volume be your guide as you craft—and re-craft—your own creative career over time, constantly striving to up the ante on just who you can become.” ~ Jocelyn K. Glei from Maximize Your Potential: Grow Your Expertise, Take Bold Risks Build an Incredible Career

This is the second of the three books currently in 99U Book Series. Check out our Note on the first as well: Manage Your Day-to-Day.

It’s another collection of great little essays by some of the world’s most creative minds (including many authors we feature: Cal Newport, Heidi Grant Halvorson and Tony Schwartz) and reminds me of Steven Pressfield’s trilogy + Austin Kleon’s books on the creative process. Great stuff.

Below are some of my favorite Big Ideas from this book. You can hear more about this book here:

1. Permanent Beta - Welcome to your new residence.
2. Praising - Smartness vs. Effort.
3. Proving Yourself Right - Make a decision then make it right.
4. Seinfeld + Fear + Reruns - Lean in and grow.
5. Expanding the Amplitude - Of the waves we make.

Here’s to Maximizing Our Potential as we Grow Our Expertise, Take Bold Risks & Build Incredible Careers!

I’ve added Maximize Your Potential: Grow Your Expertise, Take Bold Risks Build an Incredible Career by Jocelyn K. Glei to my collection of PhilosophersNotes. (Which help you change your life, 20-minutes at a time, with the best Big Ideas from 600+ of the best books on Optimizing your life via 6-page PDFs/20-min MP3s on the go!)

Get instant (free) access to all 600+ PhilosophersNotes AND all 50 Optimal Living 101 classes AND 1,000+ Optimize +1s as part of our free 2-week trial: http://optimize.me/
Profile Image for Yuko Shimizu.
Author 47 books270 followers
May 18, 2016
Reading 99U books (there are 3 of them so far) is like going to a creative conference inside a book. There are carefully selected speakers with different background and expertise, talks are short and right to the point. There are talks that are relevant to you, and also there are ones that are not so. But overall, there are always things you can take away, you want to jot down to your notebook (or underline in the book).
And, just like 99U conference, talks are not superficial motivational BS. They give you ideas and tips, but they also tell you to work real hard to achieve the goals.
I always pass around 99U books after I am done. Creatives tend to focus a lot on our creativity itself, but every now and then we need to be reminded, in order to make living being a creative, half of our job is to run our business successfully, and the book does the perfect job.
Profile Image for Riddhi Kishnadwala.
110 reviews5 followers
February 4, 2020
It was a book which attracted me to read it just by it's title. It is collection of essays over four broad topics which relate to the everyday challenges faced by a person in the course of his/her career. The advice and the takeaways here are practical and can be easily be imbued in one's profession. It made me more aware and leads to the empowered thinking that one's career is the result of not only continuous skill improvement and building but also being more self aware, learning from failures and mistakes and also leaving the comfort zone and taking risks. This is one book I would like to revisit time and again!
Profile Image for John Stepper.
502 reviews19 followers
December 29, 2013
Extremely useful. This book, along with the first in the series - "Manage Your Day-to-Day" - is a well-selected set of short articles from a wide range of productive, creative people.

It's a short, engaging, interesting read that delivers very valuable, practical wisdom.
Profile Image for Zeh Fernando .
121 reviews1 follower
July 6, 2015
If you can get past the terrible foreword (which makes it sound as if the book was written for entitled pricks), this is actually a great list of thoughts and action items on various important topics for someone's career.
Profile Image for Héctor Iván Patricio Moreno.
293 reviews14 followers
September 2, 2019
This compilation of articles has some very helpful and insightful, and some a bit confusing.
I liked especially the articles written by Cal Newport and Scott Young.
Profile Image for Charlie.
281 reviews3 followers
August 18, 2017
This was a quick and fairly useful book. There are several useful practical steps and insightful ideas presented.

The structure of the book was problematic because the chapters were so short and always ended with a short description about the author and their work. It seemed like having commercials in between each of the lessons. The overall effect was that the 'story' of the book was disrupted and it seemed like small sound bites of information from different people rather than a coherent and consistent manual for "maximising potential".

The key take home messages are:
- "do what you love" is rubbish advice; find the general skills you are good at and build a career from there
- find the intersection of your ISO: interests, skills and opportunities
- the most important skill to have currently is the ability to gain new skills
- ritualised approach to achieving goals conserves precious and finite reserves of energy
- practice just beyond your limits to improve at any skill
- the conscious mind is better understood as an explainer rather than the triggering action
- keeping a journal allows for better, more complex processing of ideas over time
- the adaptation principle describes the phenomenon of humans' ability to get used to good and bad situations
- success has more to do with serendipity: only a small percentage of what you do will be successful, so it's optimal to place many small bets and position yourself for success; leverage the statistical advantage of randomness

My favourite quote cited in the book is:
"Uncertainty is an uncomfortable position. But certainty is an absurd one." - Voltaire
Profile Image for An Nguyễn.
35 reviews
July 29, 2021
Tối ưu hóa năng lực bản thân

Để gây dựng sự nghiệp, thì câu hỏi đúng đắn không phải là “tôi đam mê làm công việc nào nhất? mà thay vào đó là, phong cách sống và làm việc nào sẽ nuôi dưỡng đam mê của tôi?”
** Nghề nghiệp xuất hiện trước đam mê: Đam mê không phải là một nghề mà là một cách làm việc. Để có được một cách sống (và cách làm việc) mà bạn yêu thích, hãy bắt đầu bằng việc nuôi dưỡng, trau dồi những kỹ năng hiếm có và giá trị, những thứ sẽ giúp bạn khác biệt.
** Đừng thỏa hiệp với hiện trạng: Hãy thường xuyên tìm cách “phá vỡ” hiện trạng của bạn. Nếu bạn đang cảm thấy quá thoải mái với vị trí hiện tại của mình, đó cũng là lúc bạn nên thách thức bản thân với những vai trò mới.
** May mắn là trạng thái của tư duy: khám phá bản thân trước những tình huống mới, hãy luôn cởi mở, luôn chủ động theo đuổi các cơ hội. May mắn sẽ đến với những người tìm kiếm nó.
** Làm việc có mục đích: Điều chỉnh công việc của bạn đến mức ảnh hưởng tối đa nhờ tập trung làm việc trong vùng giao thoa giữa những kỹ năng, đam mê và cơ hội của bạn.
** Tạo ra quy trình cá nhân cho việc luyện tập kỹ lưỡng: xây dựng quy trình/thói quen làm việc cố định, tập trung 90 phút sau đó thư giãn 10-15p để tái tạo năng lượng.
Profile Image for Sakib Ahmed.
188 reviews29 followers
April 4, 2022
“Follow your passion.” At some point in your life, you’ve probably heard this advice. But is it any good?

Well, you might be passionate about the concept of being a rock star, but unless you have some serious musical chops, it probably isn’t the smartest thing to blindly pursue that goal. And you’ve probably noticed that having a natural talent for something often makes doing that something more enjoyable.

Of course, skills can be developed and honed – but there’s often something that we’re naturally good at and naturally enjoy doing, whether it’s science, math, art or baking. That’s what maximizing your potential is all about: lining up your natural talent and your passion.
These blinks, inspired by the thinking of experts and influencers such as Cal Newport and Joshua Foer, show how anyone can easily reach their potential. Inside, you’ll learn

With the right advice and tools at hand, you can make the most of your potential. It’s all about forging opportunities, honing your craft, nurturing your relationships and learning how to handle risk.
Profile Image for Katrina.
2 reviews22 followers
November 6, 2017
This is an incredible book, and by far one of my favorite and most useful books on my bookshelf. To first give context, this book is a series of short essays by 21 different thought leaders. The essays are organized by the topic of professional advice: 1. creating opportunities, 2. building expertise, 3. cultivating relationships, and 4. taking risks. This makes it especially useful and unique because you get such a diverse range of advice, research, case studies, and storytelling that very effectively and eloquently streamline thousands of articles you'd find online on these topics. I plan to re-read this book often and out of order as it's formatted in a way to easily pick it up, find the advice applicable to whatever professional or creative problem you're experiencing, and reinforce productive habits. The essays are motivational and extremely wise while avoiding all the typical "self-help book" fluff.

Also, the book itself is designed beautifully. Go 99U for creating this!!
50 reviews
October 31, 2020
Don’t be good
Good, better, best. Growth mindset. Continuous personal development.
Your yesterday work is your comparison. Not other people. Your qualities are not innate, don’t get held up on validation or praise.
Collaborate and countinually improve.
Learn new things, collaborate with others different to you, stay creative.
Don’t live in a vacuum.
Don’t let failure hold you back, let it push you forward.
Be bold, be fearless take risks.
Rest, set time limited work, it will make you more motivated to work.
Don’t cling to your plans too strong however you should have some type of plan or inspiration to go at and eventually will solidify and find newer more creative ways to go at it and values/ virtues.
But if you cling too tight, you miss luck.
Don’t cling to passion, create it and through disciplines flexibility and other useful skills you can then demonstrate your autonomy an have capacity to fill your passions in new ways.
Don’t underestimate the power of influence.
Profile Image for Martin Sund.
30 reviews3 followers
November 19, 2020
Highly recommended.

At first I thought this book was primary for very creative people/ people working in creative positions.
But I found out that everybody can use the book.
As long as you don't think everything in your professional career and in your personal life is perfect.
If you think there is always room for improvement, this book can most likely help you.

4 topics in the book:
1: Creating opportunities
2: Building experience
3: Cultivating relationships (e.g. why you should build a great network, how, and how to manage and maintain a relationship/a network)
4: Taking risks (e.g. why you should take risk, how, and how to manage risk)

Each topic is presented with 5 short texts from 5 different people.

It's very easy to read, but gives good insights into different tools and methods which can help you, primarily in your work life. But a lot can also be used in general through life.

Read it ;-)
Profile Image for Sara.
12 reviews
July 26, 2019
regardless of the disconnection with most of the responses, i enjoyed reading the q&a’s more than the essays themselves. most of the essays were written in a ‘matter of fact’ style—like many self-help books—insinuating there are only a number of ways to achieve. more often than not, the author shares their knowledge in a manner that does not only not offer room for contemplation, but dampens the reader’s instinct to reflect and question, and to process and arrive to a conclusion.

my favourite bit(s) and what i have noted aside are: heidi halvorson’s approach to using ‘get better’ language rather than in ‘be good’, essay: focusing on getting better, rather than doing better; and tina seelig’s sharing in her q&a: re-engineering the way we think about mistakes, how she asks her students to write a “failure résumé.”

also, i really dislike the word /potential/.
Profile Image for Trung.
112 reviews29 followers
August 22, 2019
What can I say, the paradigm so matches with me. And it does introduce some new things to me such as writing a journal everyday.
And I would like to stress this mindset which I could not agree more:
"Finished ought to be an f-word for all of us. We are all works in progress. Each day presents an opportunity to learn more, do more, be more, and grow more. Keeping yourself in “permanent beta” makes you acknowledge that you have bugs, that there’s more testing to do on yourself, and that you will continue to adapt and evolve. It means a lifelong commitment to continuous personal growth. It is a mind-set brimming with optimism because it celebrates the fact that you have the power to improve yourself and, more important, improve the world around you."

Let's be a constant learner everyday in our life.
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