Mr. [Rich] Karlgaard, a former publisher of Forbes magazine, has plenty of vivid anecdotes to make his case for late bloomers. Janet Evanovich discovered writing in her 30s, then spent the next 10 years piling up rejection slips. In her 40s, she spent two years drinking beer with “law enforcement types, learning to shoot, and practicing cussing.” The result was her best-selling series of Stephanie Plum novels. Raymond Chandler published his first book, “The Big Sleep,” when he was 51.
Bill Walsh, the great coach of the San Francisco 49ers, got his first NFL head coaching job when he was 46 and won his first Super Bowl at 50. He was famously twitchy, self-deprecating and eager to learn, and had this to say about confidence: “In my whole career I’ve been passing men with greater bravado and confidence. Confidence gets you off to a fast start. Confidence gets you that first job and maybe the next two promotions. But confidence stops you from learning. Confidence becomes a caricature after a while. I can’t tell you how many confident blowhards I’ve seen in my coaching career who never got better after the age of forty.”
Late bloomers, Mr. Karlgaard argues, are not just people of great talent who develop later in their lives. They also possess qualities that can only be acquired through time and experience. They tend to be more curious, compassionate, resilient and wise than younger people of equal talent. This may be true, Mr. Karlgaard notes, of older people generally, who are being flushed out of the workforce much too early.
But Mr. Karlgaard is up against some intimidating statistics….
“Late bloomers … possess qualities that can only be acquired through time and experience. They tend to be more curious, compassionate, resilient and wise than younger people of equal talent.” As a late bloomer myself, I can buy this. https://t.co/HhAl7FUdGP
— Robin Hanson (@robinhanson) April 30, 2019