"Hidden Genius" by Polina Marinova Pompliano

Review by Borodutch

The author presents us with a long series of successful people and what differentiates them from their peers. If you knew what they did, you could improve your life by following in their footsteps. I doubt one could replicate their success, but striving for greatness is never harmful!

I was pleasantly surprised that I randomly stumbled upon the same stories and read almost all the books the author referred to. It was nice to revisit the familiar stories with quick summaries and their main lessons. The only caveat here is that Polina tried to extract only the good stuff from the books without dwelling on the wrong parts (as I tend to do). Do not trust everything you read; always turn on your internal skeptic.

For instance, David Goggins' story is fascinating and has a lot of memorable teachings. Still, if one believed everything he wrote, they would have a broken body and double-digit places in the races they've popularized. Or take Cialdini and Voss — their books are brilliant, but some advice is so outdated that using it might harm more than help.

However, "Hidden Genius" is still a masterfully crafted series of anecdotes. Even though it cannot replace the original stories, the book is a perfect directory for what one would want to read next.

Let's go over some advice the author squeezes into this short book:

  • Regularly experience hardship to grow and improve
  • Stay consistent over long periods; time and patience are integral to success
  • Small things compound, and do a lot of more minor things that bring you closer to the goal
  • Be your life's narrator, don't let others tell your story; seize control of your narrative
  • Become competent; this will lead to confidence
  • Value accuracy over victory at all costs and plan upfront
  • Audience and community can be distinguished by where the chairs point

I can't entirely agree with even 50% of the advice above. However, some might find it profound. It wouldn't hurt to read this book, but take everything you read with a grain of salt. If something is written on paper, it doesn't automatically mean it's true.