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The Formula: The Universal Laws of Success

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  1,557 ratings  ·  202 reviews
In this pioneering examination of the scientific principles behind success, a leading researcher reveals the surprising ways in which we can turn achievement into success.

Too often, accomplishment does not equate to success. We did the work but didn't get the promotion; we played hard but weren't recognized; we had the idea but didn't get the credit. We've always been told
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published November 6th 2018 by Little, Brown and Company
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M. You are correct. From the introduction:

"[A]s a scientist, I can’t measure individual fulfillment any more than I can assign a number to happiness. Pri…more
You are correct. From the introduction:

"[A]s a scientist, I can’t measure individual fulfillment any more than I can assign a number to happiness. Private definitions of success are unique to each of us, so they’re invisible to our approach to big data."

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Nov 24, 2018 rated it liked it
It's really interesting to see a theoretical physicist's take on success through the lens of network sciences. And I'm incredibly impressed at how easily palatable this book is for anyone. Written like a web of different stories, this book is very hard to put down.

However, I'm not too convinced about the 'laws' and the 'formula'. He has looked at many fields, and deciphered some (obvious) trends [i.e. networking amplifies success] and some seemingly rash generalisations [i.e. constant/unchangea
Mario Tomic
Sep 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Very interesting read on the topic of success! I'm a fan of such literature, so when I saw this book come out, I was very excited to read it. The author and his group of network scientists looked at data on what leads to success across a variety of fields including arts, science, sports, and business. It was very interesting to then see different pathways to becoming successful in each domain. What I like the most about this book is that it draws conclusions based on studies and data compared to ...more
Piotr Szymański
Nov 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I remember talking with Albert Barabasi in a hotel restaurant in Seoul about success and he told me about this book explaining a story about how Einstein became famous, the story that concludes this book. That's why I immediately bought the book at an airport once I saw it featured in a bookshop.

I practically finished the book over the ORD-WRO flight, with just a few pages left for home. It is written in a clear, engaging way, a set of narratives that set ground and explain laws governing succes
Nov 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
There is no formula for success and this boom certainly doesn’t offer one. What it does do is to consolidate some interesting research on successful people. The main thesis is that in most realms of success, there’s no outer limit so successful people can gain all the accolades and even more and it’s not even close to being proportional to how good they are.

One depressing point is that success isn’t really about merit but about what those in your audience believe to be good. I was surprised that
David Laing
Jun 25, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: skimmed
I generally steer clear of books with titles like this one, but Barabási is a well-regarded network scientist, so I thought he might have substantive ideas on what drives success. It turns out he does, and they are quite easy to summarize.

Generally, ‘success’ just means the achievement of a goal. But in this book, Barabási uses the word to mean something more specific: “the rewards we earn from the communities we belong to.” In particular, this type of success is distinct from performance, in th
Nov 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A remarkable and empowering read, and very much unlike anything I’ve picked up before on the topic. As Barabasi says early on, it’s not a self-help book, but a science book in which the topic of study is success. It’s 100% about following the data rather than relying on anecdotes. Expect some mind-shifting insights about how humans actually reward work or ignore it. I’ve already used a couple of its lessons to shift how I market myself and my consulting. Incredibly insightful.
Chris Esposo
A pretty good summary on recent network theoretic work with respect to the notion of career success, mostly in the field of academia, but some extensions in business. The books high-level findings are simple to state: 1. Career success is proportional not only to what one does but also one's position in the topology of their professional network 2. The process of preferential-attachment with respect to credit-assignment on citations-network results in a "feedback" effect on success, but also if ...more
Chadi Raheb
* chance= right time & right place

* related background = preferential attachment

* network, network, network

Nov 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Basically the most successful scientists, according to this research, are those who “socialize” their work the way Kim Kardashian advertises her next fraudulent diet pill.
Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is required reading for anyone with an ounce of ambition or desire to explore their fullest potential. Every kid should have it, and so should every parent, to help advise their kids on strategies for success based on network science and evidence gathered across multiple fields (tennis, science, warfare) and even species (chickens).

"By recognizing that there's more to success than simple performance, we can assist hopeful up-and-comers with an arsenal of practical strategies," wrote Ba
Shitiz Srivastava
May 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Rarely does comes a book which makes an impact on your mind as this book does.
Recently there has been a plethora of books which relies on statistical data, quotes, sayings and university level research for conveying their ideas. Some do it forcefully and some try to convince you.

The formula by Albert Laszlo Barabasi is one such book which gives you everything in the name of knowledge and rules but leaves it on your own understanding to apply it on your life or not.

The book does not try to plea
Dan Connors
Jun 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-books
There are tons of books out there about success, but this is the first one I ever read that tries to take a scientific look at it. Barabasi's specialty is something called network science, which I never knew existed, and he looks at how networks respond to events.
The author presents 5 laws that are based in scientific research, each of which presents how big success can happen for some and not for others.
Why are some works of art considered priceless masterpieces and others considered garage s
Blossom Turner
Apr 09, 2019 rated it liked it
This book was a must read for a course I am taking, my right brain hurt. What could have been said in a tenth of the words was stretched out over a 474 page book. A dominant left brain individual would probably find it a fascinating read. That said, I finished it only because I follow through with all course requirements, but was disappointed that nothing new surfaced. Success is as we all know it to be, raw talent coupled with random luck, hard work, good networking and if you are lucky ... and ...more
Sep 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It disclosed the universal laws of success in a truly scientific manner. :) It will empower us with tools how to help each other or how to help ourselves...
Oct 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Well-intentioned author is a bit florid and disjointed in narrative, at times.
Nonetheless, a fascinating read exploring why talent and performance alone are insufficient for success.
Daniel Cook
Jan 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Skews far more ‘pop’ than hard science. Makes for a smoother read, but also lends the feeling that the studies showcased were cherry-picked — basically little to no energy spent on competing viewpoints.

A few of the “laws” are somewhat easy to nod along with without novelty (e.g. artist success is largely driven by network, wine judging is bs, success breeds more success), but interesting to see them borne out with statistical significance I guess.

This review is kind of a wet noodle but I legitim
Apr 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Never give up, never surrender

This is a very good extension of some of the ideas in Thinking, Fast and Slow, but with a twist. The author is a solid researcher in network science. He tackles hard questions about how success is achieved, starting with how you would even measure it. His premise is that when performance quality cannot be objectively measured, the 'network' determines the value and thus the success of the performer. The writing is excellent and examples are wonderful, ranging from p
Ahmad hosseini
May 18, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: psychology, general
This is not a self-help book, this is what author says. He says this book is a “science help”, a framework that uses science to understand and orchestrate our outcomes. He defines success like this:
Success is the rewards we earn from the communities we belong to.
So based on this definition, author examines specific type of success; external and collective success. Authors provides so many stories and evidences for success laws but most of them don’t match with my mental model. So I couldn’t und
Dec 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I stumbled on this one as it was linked to another book I'd been listening to and I'm really glad I did. I nearly didn't start it, thinking it would be one of those self-help American style "you can do it if you want to do it" type books, but it was quite different. Barabási is a Hungarian immigrant who has done real scientific research into networks and success and crunched substantial volumes of data in his quest to understand what makes the difference between for instance a Nobel prize winner ...more
Asmaa Mannasaheb
Feb 21, 2019 rated it liked it
A good read. Some good stories to support the laws.
Would've been good if we were not just told about the laws but also how we can apply those laws to be successful. The stories do help in understanding how to implement the laws but a direct explanation would be good.
Sometimes there's a lot of information in one chapter. Chapters are separated into different parts but not subtitled. Subtitled sections would've made it a little easier to follow through. It's not so hard without them, just that it
Apr 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was assigned to read this book for an upcoming writers conference, and it's absolutely fascinating. I was afraid that it would be too business-style for me, but I found it quite easy to read (though I'm still trying to fully understand his definition of "fitness"). I don't read business books or self-help books at all, but this one really captured my attention and held it. If you're at all curious about how to succeed in your field (or why people succeed), I recommend this book. ...more
Dori Ban
Nov 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Scientific explanation of our intuitions on success.
Hamilton Lindley
Mar 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Albert-Laszlo Barabasi is a network scientist. In this book, he uses data science to explain successful people. Measuring success depends on perspective. You may measure success by money. But your five-year-old measures success by your love. Are you a success if you die as a millionaire, alone? No. You don’t measure your own success. We do.

The Red Baron vs. The Other Guy
Performance determines success. But that performance depends on the audience. We do not recognize some of the best performers a
Scott Wozniak
Jul 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This books brings light to an area I've long realized was important but didn't have clarity on how it worked. He calls it "success" and by that means the recognition and respect of others for your work. Many, many books (and blogs and podcasts and speakers...) talk about how to get better at the skills of your work. That's important (and he covers that part in this book, too). But the other part of the equation is why some people get recognized for good work and others don't.

This book have five
Jun 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I was initially sceptical of this book because the title makes it seem like a dodgy self help book, but am pleased to report that is not the case. This book details a physicist-turned network scientists research into the conditions that bring about "success", in a captivating web of interwoven personal stories, illustrating historical anecdotes, and summaries of research done by his and other groups. His final takeaway that each project you put into the world buys you another success lotto ticke ...more
Duy Nguyen
*3.5 rating

The ideas in this book are interesting, although they are no huge "eye-openers". Coming from a technical background myself, I wish he had provided more details on the analysis methods and approaches rather than just providing the conclusions.

Also, I am not sure how I feel about his constant Q-factor conclusion. In my view it is too overgeneralised, especially for something that is not (accurately) measurable.

Overall good and fun read.
Arm P.
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Universal Laws of Success (according to network science)

1.Performance drives success, but when performance can’t be measured, networks drive success.
2.Performance is bounded, but success is unbounded.
3.Previous success × fitness = future success.
4.While team success requires diversity and balance, a single individual will receive credit for the group’s achievements.
5.With persistence success can come at any time.

Apr 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: selfhelp

- I liked how Barabási sharply differentiate between PERFORMANCE and SUCCESS.

-The notion that "performance is bounded, success is not" is a good phrase to keep in mind.

-I liked his explanation of how credit for work done by a group often goes to the most famous person in the group even if that person didn't do the most important work on any particular project.

-His explanation of "Why it's never too late to be successful" was interesting. Basically his data shows that older people don'
Nopadol Rompho
One of the best books, I've read this year. I love the way the author proposed the formula of success. It stems from all scientific researches, which took several years to accomplish. It also told us how we can succeed. I love it. ...more
Hani Golestaneh
Jul 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
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Albert-László Barabási is a physicist, best known for his work in the research of network science. A Hungarian born native of Transylvania, he received his Masters in Theoretical Physics at the Eotvos University in Budapest, Hungary and was awarded a Ph.D. three years later at Boston University. Barabási is the author of six books, including the forthcoming book "The Formula: The Science of Succes ...more

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“The First Law: Performance drives success,
but when performance can’t be measured,
networks drive success.”
“The Fifth Law: With persistence success can come at any time.” 4 likes
More quotes…