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Dark Horse: Achieving Success Through the Pursuit of Fulfillment

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If you have ever felt like you just don’t fit, this book will change your life. Know your long-term goals, work hard (very, very hard), and stay the course in the face of all obstacles until you reach your goal. This is the commonly accepted formula for fulfilling goals and dreams. But what if we have it exactly backwards? While this standard formula works for some it fails If you have ever felt like you just don’t fit, this book will change your life. Know your long-term goals, work hard (very, very hard), and stay the course in the face of all obstacles until you reach your goal. This is the commonly accepted formula for fulfilling goals and dreams. But what if we have it exactly backwards? While this standard formula works for some it fails for far too many. Then there are those who buck the formula and triumph on their own terms. They are called dark horses. Researchers Todd Rose and Ogi Ogas have studied these dark horses, and in this groundbreaking book, use the experiences of these mavericks to demonstrate that there is a different and better formula for success. The Dark Horse Project was born at the Harvard Graduate School of Education to research alternative paths to excellence. Dark horses demonstrate that the secret to personal accomplishment is not dependent on connections, money, or standardized test scores. The secret is a special mindset that empowers them to consistently make the right choices to fit their circumstances and complement their unique interests and abilities. The philosophy behind this mindset is simple: it is not the pursuit of excellence that leads to fulfillment but rather the pursuit of fulfillment that leads to excellence. Dark Horse reveals the five elements of this mindset that have been road-tested by a wide array of individuals nurturing every manner of aspiration. No matter where you are in your career, Rose and Ogas show how the dark horse mindset can guide you to a life of purpose, authenticity, and achievement.


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If you have ever felt like you just don’t fit, this book will change your life. Know your long-term goals, work hard (very, very hard), and stay the course in the face of all obstacles until you reach your goal. This is the commonly accepted formula for fulfilling goals and dreams. But what if we have it exactly backwards? While this standard formula works for some it fails If you have ever felt like you just don’t fit, this book will change your life. Know your long-term goals, work hard (very, very hard), and stay the course in the face of all obstacles until you reach your goal. This is the commonly accepted formula for fulfilling goals and dreams. But what if we have it exactly backwards? While this standard formula works for some it fails for far too many. Then there are those who buck the formula and triumph on their own terms. They are called dark horses. Researchers Todd Rose and Ogi Ogas have studied these dark horses, and in this groundbreaking book, use the experiences of these mavericks to demonstrate that there is a different and better formula for success. The Dark Horse Project was born at the Harvard Graduate School of Education to research alternative paths to excellence. Dark horses demonstrate that the secret to personal accomplishment is not dependent on connections, money, or standardized test scores. The secret is a special mindset that empowers them to consistently make the right choices to fit their circumstances and complement their unique interests and abilities. The philosophy behind this mindset is simple: it is not the pursuit of excellence that leads to fulfillment but rather the pursuit of fulfillment that leads to excellence. Dark Horse reveals the five elements of this mindset that have been road-tested by a wide array of individuals nurturing every manner of aspiration. No matter where you are in your career, Rose and Ogas show how the dark horse mindset can guide you to a life of purpose, authenticity, and achievement.

30 review for Dark Horse: Achieving Success Through the Pursuit of Fulfillment

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mae

    My review may be slightly misinformed because I only read the first half of the book. The first half of this book was Rose's complete guide on how to be a dark horse - someone who society never saw succeeding but they did anyway in the unlikeliest of ways. The second half was more about how standardized the world has become and it charges us to change this system (that part didn't suit my fancy). My key takeaway points from this book were: 1. There are innate attributes that are unique to everyone My review may be slightly misinformed because I only read the first half of the book. The first half of this book was Rose's complete guide on how to be a dark horse - someone who society never saw succeeding but they did anyway in the unlikeliest of ways. The second half was more about how standardized the world has become and it charges us to change this system (that part didn't suit my fancy). My key takeaway points from this book were: 1. There are innate attributes that are unique to everyone (some call them talents, I prefer "attributes"). For instance, I don't have any obvious talents: I don't sing, dance, problem solve, or play any sports or instruments. But after some introspection I realized I like "repurposing things" and I've been doing it my whole life. It's just a natural compulsion for me if I see something around the house that I don't use anymore, I find a different use for it rather than throwing it away. That is a micro-motive for me. 2. This society we currently live in was built upon standardized systems and institutions that don't take into account your individuality. Why? Because this is costly in both time and resources. 3. When you learn your micro-motives (these appear to be things you’ve been doing your whole life… a compulsion or urge that feeds your way of being), you can harness your energy and authenticity. 4. When you learn what choices (goals) fit your micro-motives, you can engineer the meaning and direction of your life, and; 5. When you develop strengths (through learning and practice; or trial and error), you can use these strengths to achieve the goals you’ve chosen. Todd Rose made clear points and gave vivid examples that I can and have started putting into practical use. This is all I ever ask for from self help books. 4.5 Stars!!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Darnell

    Long on anecdotes and platitudes about "harnessing your individuality", short on actual insight.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    4.5 Building on his previous book "The End of Average," Dark Horse lays out an alternate worldview from which to approach talent - life - development, sharing results from Rose and Oga's study of "women and men who achieved impressive success even though nobody saw the coming." Moving past the critique of standardization ("The Standardization Covenant") to a mindset based on the science of individuality where every person has talent, the authors propose the "Dark Horse Covenant," based on the be 4.5 Building on his previous book "The End of Average," Dark Horse lays out an alternate worldview from which to approach talent - life - development, sharing results from Rose and Oga's study of "women and men who achieved impressive success even though nobody saw the coming." Moving past the critique of standardization ("The Standardization Covenant") to a mindset based on the science of individuality where every person has talent, the authors propose the "Dark Horse Covenant," based on the belief that there are endless varieties of merit and infinite pathways to fulfillment. They present four practical guidelines to personalizing your way to fulfillment, each of which have potentially powerful implications for education redesign work committed to learner-centered practices.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Julie Finelli

    I wish everyone would read this important book. I believe it puts forth a view that may, at a minimum, help our paradigms catch up with our current age. It offers ideas of why and how a significant mindset shift can begin to move us towards securing the best possible outcomes for the most people at our time in history. There are many interesting concepts here such as micro-motives and quotacracy. I found the last part of the book, the Interlude and the sections that followed, particularly vital I wish everyone would read this important book. I believe it puts forth a view that may, at a minimum, help our paradigms catch up with our current age. It offers ideas of why and how a significant mindset shift can begin to move us towards securing the best possible outcomes for the most people at our time in history. There are many interesting concepts here such as micro-motives and quotacracy. I found the last part of the book, the Interlude and the sections that followed, particularly vital and compelling, although I do not suggest skipping the earlier parts of the book. That said, some sections are more readable than others. I got a little bogged down in the middle of the book, but it is definitely worth sticking with it until the end. Also, I get that personal story examples are always components of this type of book. However, I do worry that they may allow readers to feel that the book’s conclusions only relate to these dramatic cases, while the core ideas here are truly relevant and applicable to the masses. As someone who’s a proponent of major paradigm shifts over and above simple hacking of current systems, I found this book enlightening and encouraging in both theoretical and actionable ways.

  5. 5 out of 5

    The DarkSun

    I don't have too much time to write anything significant right now, but I enjoyed this book immensely. It gave me several ideas that I would like to apply and further consider in order to better my own life and, perhaps, help me find that sense of direction in my life that makes me feel fulfilled. (I do plenty of things I enjoy. I just haven't figured out how to tie them together into something fulfilling and unique.) I would say, though, that after about the 54% mark (the interlude section forwa I don't have too much time to write anything significant right now, but I enjoyed this book immensely. It gave me several ideas that I would like to apply and further consider in order to better my own life and, perhaps, help me find that sense of direction in my life that makes me feel fulfilled. (I do plenty of things I enjoy. I just haven't figured out how to tie them together into something fulfilling and unique.) I would say, though, that after about the 54% mark (the interlude section forward), the material felt less useful. That's not to say it was completely worthless, just that it had less of an impact on me than the first 50% or so. Overall, though, it was a very good book. One of the best "self-help" books I've ever read. Very well-written and intelligently laid out. I didn't feel like the author was underestimating my intelligence or padding the book with useless/insignificant examples. Everything came together very nicely and felt like it had a purpose.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mike He

    While success may mean different things to different people in all walks of life, Dark Horse presents a new and refreshing perspective that helps demystify a stereotyped, rigid formula for perceived success (and its pitfalls) and a deeply ingrained formula for life-long happiness pursuing success through knowing one's own micro-motives, choices and trial and error strategies in pursuit of fulfillment to attain excellence, namely the standardization mindset vs. the so-called dark horse mindset as While success may mean different things to different people in all walks of life, Dark Horse presents a new and refreshing perspective that helps demystify a stereotyped, rigid formula for perceived success (and its pitfalls) and a deeply ingrained formula for life-long happiness pursuing success through knowing one's own micro-motives, choices and trial and error strategies in pursuit of fulfillment to attain excellence, namely the standardization mindset vs. the so-called dark horse mindset as the authors vigorously advocate in the book, starting with a fundamental change of the standardization covenant that currently prevails the education system.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jenny Stevens

    Quite good. The book explains how there is a better way to motivate people than picking a passion and going to school for it and climbing the ladder. It's by following your micro-motives. It helps you realize what motivates you isn't so much a passion as it is your micro-motives. This book feels like a career help book that doesn't give help in what step to take next but instead imbues you with these knowledge to determine what step you want based on your desires and is a real quest for fulfillm Quite good. The book explains how there is a better way to motivate people than picking a passion and going to school for it and climbing the ladder. It's by following your micro-motives. It helps you realize what motivates you isn't so much a passion as it is your micro-motives. This book feels like a career help book that doesn't give help in what step to take next but instead imbues you with these knowledge to determine what step you want based on your desires and is a real quest for fulfillment.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Joanne

    Combination of research and self-help book. Rose and Ogas have interviewed dozens of "dark horses," outstanding people in their fields who got their non-standard paths. E.g., of Jennie McCormick, who dropped out of school, but then discovered a love of astronomy and, as an amateur, discovered a new planet. Rose and Ogas has combined their research on individuality to determine that successful individuals are motivated by fulfillment, which they offer a four-step process to determining what your Combination of research and self-help book. Rose and Ogas have interviewed dozens of "dark horses," outstanding people in their fields who got their non-standard paths. E.g., of Jennie McCormick, who dropped out of school, but then discovered a love of astronomy and, as an amateur, discovered a new planet. Rose and Ogas has combined their research on individuality to determine that successful individuals are motivated by fulfillment, which they offer a four-step process to determining what your life fulfillment might be. It all sounds a little self-absorbed. Maybe it works?

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kristen

    I know I've already recommended this book to several people because it was just so. dang. good. Lots of lessons for Americans to learn in here about what makes a person successful, the history of our education system and the problems with systems. To be honest, this book has me rethinking any emphasis on grades and testing scores, and evaluating what is really important to me as a person. It's also changed some of my parenting style around school as I continue to explore what makes a person succ I know I've already recommended this book to several people because it was just so. dang. good. Lots of lessons for Americans to learn in here about what makes a person successful, the history of our education system and the problems with systems. To be honest, this book has me rethinking any emphasis on grades and testing scores, and evaluating what is really important to me as a person. It's also changed some of my parenting style around school as I continue to explore what makes a person successful (hint: it's not good grades, a high-status job, or lots of money). Definitely worth a read!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    This book was ... ok. It seemed to be a little to dramatic and anecdotal. Behind the efforts to incite the reader there does lie some interesting points about how we handle education and in general maximize utilization of our society. A fatal flaw in the authors idea however is that - in his own words - it requires all members of society to buy in, which is ironic on one level and unlikely on another.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

    The book does a great job of telling some impactful stories. They have you thinking for the first half “wow I too could break free and live a fulfilled and happy life!”. The second half ends up in a free fall with chants of “break the mold! Down with the system!”. So fine, I get what you’re trying to do, but it took half a book of inspirational stories to just encourage the reader that things need to change? Yawn

  12. 5 out of 5

    Matt Porowski

    Interesting thesis around the age of standardization vs personalization. Loved many of the individual stories that are sprinkled throughout the book. Certain books are good for people at particular times in their lives over others: I read this book, just as I was thinking about related things in my own life and really gave me a good perspective to think about.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

    I only read the first 50 pages or so and then set it aside. Maybe I'll return to it someday, but it didn't engage me personally. Perhaps that's because I'm already relatively satisfied with my lot in life. Someone still searching for fulfillment might take more from it.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Evalyn Glover

    I picked up this book after listening to Todd Rose on the podcast Armchair Expert. I thoroughly enjoyed his interview, which has now left me wondering how many glasses of wine I had that night. The book is melodramatic to say the least. In the earlier chapters I had hoped to look past the rhetoric and absorb some of the more valid points the authors made. By the middle of the book I was just hoping it would be over soon and by end the writing became so unbearably repetitive and circular that I c I picked up this book after listening to Todd Rose on the podcast Armchair Expert. I thoroughly enjoyed his interview, which has now left me wondering how many glasses of wine I had that night. The book is melodramatic to say the least. In the earlier chapters I had hoped to look past the rhetoric and absorb some of the more valid points the authors made. By the middle of the book I was just hoping it would be over soon and by end the writing became so unbearably repetitive and circular that I could not finish the last chapter. Very disappointing.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Christian Fink-Jensen

    The concept of micro-motives was especially interesting. Dark Horse gave me a new way to think about what I find fulfilling and how to go about doing it.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Deborah Quazzo

    Another great book by Todd Rose to force you to think differently about achievement, measurement and happiness.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Eduardo Macias

    It's good and insightful. Focus on the nearer opportunities instead of creating goals in 5 years that are too far away and not always best fit. the books explains this concept well.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ling Zhang

    Why does Kindle or Amazon force me to rate the book? Why does Kindle or Amazon force me to rate the book? I haven’t read it yet! How am I supposed to know?

  19. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    Lots of food for thought, but misses the mark in certain areas as I write about in the "progress update" notes.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Denise

    Very thorough book but I found myself less interested in all the stories that were presented to support their argument. I wanted more advice on success and less examples.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Nisha Mendonsa

  22. 4 out of 5

    Marce

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jason M.

  24. 5 out of 5

    John Richardson

  25. 5 out of 5

    Josue Garduño

  26. 5 out of 5

    Pathways High

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

  29. 5 out of 5

    Cat

  30. 5 out of 5

    Khuey40

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