Review of Late Bloomers

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  • Applicable
  • Engaging
  • Inspiring


In a world that adores early achievement, the nonwunderkind majority pays a price in anxiety and depression. Journalist and entrepreneur Rich Karlgaard, the author of Life 2.0, The Soft Edge and Team Genius, offers potent relief of the pressure late bloomers feel, plus actionable steps toward blooming at your own speed. He cites case studies, quotes experts, and details his own experience as a late bloomer. Unrealized potential is like a black eye, the author contends, easily forgotten but visible to everyone else, and painful when pushed. If you feel a bit behind the curve, your spirit will welcome this balm.

About the Author

Author of Life 2.0, The Soft Edge and Team Genius, Rich Karlgaard co-founded Upside magazine, Garage Technology Partners and the Churchill Club.


People who don’t follow a prescribed route to early success often feel like losers before their adult lives begin.

Karlgaard tells the story of college roommates Rich and Bob who went to Stanford’s undergraduate library every night to study. Bob focused for hours. Rich attempted to mimic Bob, but often just read back issues of Sports Illustrated. Bob’s study habits brought him a successful corporate career. Rich floundered in dead-end jobs. That same year, Steve Jobs, who was Rich’s age, launched Apple. Karlgaard reports that Rich felt that life had passed him by. He was 25.

You can bloom at any age.

Karlgaard posits that young people suffer an inundation of messages about “wunderkinds” – a German word meaning “wonder children.” These early achievers are cultural heroes who reach their professional peak in their 20s. However, the author notes, achievers who are very young, the defining characteristic of the wunderkind, also may lack emotional coping skills for handling quick success. He cites the example of Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes who embraced the trappings of fame and fortune in her early 20s while refusing to admit that her heavily hyped blood-testing technology didn’t work. 

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