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Decoding Greatness

The Hidden Strategy for Achieving Extraordinary Success


The game-changing approach to success that will transform the way you master new skills and generate creative ideas. Learn how to work like top performers and use reverse engineering to unlock your full potential.
‘An eye-opening, fast-paced read that will transform the way you approach your next project.’ Shawn Achor
For generations, we've been taught there are two ways to succeed - either from talent or through practice. In Decoding Greatness, award-winning social psychologist Ron Friedman illuminates a powerful third path - one that has quietly launched icons in a wide range of fields, from artists, writers, and chefs, to athletes, inventors and entrepreneurs: reverse engineering.

To reverse engineer is to decode what works for others and learn how to apply those same methods and strategies to develop your own unique ideas and projects. Exploring what lies behind the success of top performers – from Agatha Christie to Andy Warhol, Barack Obama to Serena Williams, and many more – you will learn from the best. Combined with ground-breaking research on pattern recognition, skill acquisition, motivation, performance and creativity, this book is a practical guide to achieving success within any field.
Decoding Greatness provides a new way of thinking and working, and through unforgettable stories and strategies, you will learn how to improve your skills and spark break-through ideas. And once you have learned this formula, you can apply it to anything.


Avi Pryntz-Nadworny

Ron Friedman is an award-winning psychologist who has served on the faculty of the several prestigious colleges in the United States and has consulted for political leaders, nonprofits, and many of the world’s most recognized brands. Popular accounts of his research have appeared in major newspapers, including TheNew York Times, TheWashington Post, The Boston Globe, the Globe and Mail, The Guardian, as well as magazines such as Harvard Business Review and Psychology Today

Ron is the founder of ignite80, a learning and development company that translates research in neuroscience, human physiology and behavioral economics into practical strategies that help working professionals become healthier, happier and more productive. His first book, The Best Place to Work, was selected as an Inc. Magazine Best Business Book of the Year.

'A much-needed handbook for learning how success really happens. Read this book if you want to upgrade from working hard to actually producing results that matter.'

– Cal Newport, the New York Times bestselling author of Digital Minimalism and Deep Work

'Ron Friedman brilliantly illuminates how experts in every field use reverse engineering to jumpstart their thinking and spark innovation. Decoding Greatness is an eye-opening, fast-paced read that uses the unexpected success stories of athletes, artists, innovators, entrepreneurs, and even criminal masterminds. Clear, concise, and backed by the latest science, it’s a rare combination of entertainment and enlightenment that will transform the way you approach your next project.'

– Shawn Achor, New York Times bestselling author of The Happiness Advantage and Big Potential

'Great innovators have one thing in common. They all cracked the code. In his riveting new book, Ron Friedman shows how history’s most creative minds unlocked the potential of reverse engineering, and more importantly, how to apply that process strategically in today's most competitive fields. Filled with compelling, unforgettable stories, Friedman shows how disruptive innovations in technology, sports, art, and business have shaped our world where future innovations can be found.'

– Marshall Goldsmith, New York Times bestselling author of Triggers, Mojo, and What Got You Here Won’t Get You There