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249 Decoding Greatness with Social Psychologist Ron Friedman, PhD

Monday 15th July 2024
FYD - Episode 249 Ron Friedman

Most people want to have a great life and do great work. But we are told that the way to achieve legendary results is either to have talent, or “practice” 10,000 hours a day. In this episode of Follow Your Different, Dr. Ron Friedman talks about a different, more proven way to achieve greatness that even mere mortals can embrace.

Dr. Ron Friedman is a PhD and award-winning Social Psychologist. He is the author of the no.1 bestseller called Decoding Greatness.

In this episode, we go deep on how you can decode greatness. We also discuss what legends before us have done using their approaches, models, and thinking to turbocharge our lives, our success, and our ability to make a difference.

Dr. Ron Friedman on Decoding Greatness

Dr. Friedman talks about his new book, Decoding Greatness and where he got the idea for it. His first book, The Best Place to Work, focused on giving people access to the best research on what it takes to perform at the highest levels and create a great workplace.

Though Dr. Friedman felt that there was something missing in his first book. He figured that even within a top-performing business or team, there’s still a range of performance levels. Some people are top performers, while some are still great but not at that level yet.

“In this book, Decoding Greatness, I was curious about what is it that top performers are doing differently. And what I discovered is that they’re using a method that most people don’t talk about. And yet it is far more common than we recognize.” – Dr. Ron Friedman

What We were Led to Believe

Dr. Friedman comments that there are two main stories that we are told about when it comes to achieving the highest levels. One of which is that it takes talent to do so, that you have to be born with certain strengths. You then have to match your talents to the appropriate fields that allow those strengths to shine.

Then there’s the big story about Practice. You know the one: 10,000 hours, practice, practice, practice. You have to exert yourself and have the right practice to be able to succeed.

Though according to Dr. Friedman, there is a third story that people don’t often talk about.

“There’s a third story and people don’t often talk about it. Yet it is remarkably common from entrepreneurs to inventors. to marketers. And that approach is reverse engineering, which simply means finding extraordinary examples in your field. By taking them apart, working backward, and figuring out how they were created, you can then apply those lessons to create something entirely new.” – Dr. Ron Friedman

Turning the Gap to a Learning Experience

There are those who say that those who perform at the top level are there because of their talents. Which can be insulting to all the work that person has also done to achieve his goals. Sometimes, people forget that even those who have certain advantages need to work their butts off to achieve greatness.

Dr. Friedman chooses to view it from another angle. He explains that if you apply Reverse Engineering on these extraordinary people and their achievements, you can turn it into a guideline for yourself.

“When you look at extraordinary performances through the lens of reverse engineering, you’ll have a different perspective. That different perspective is, “what can I learn from this? How can I improve my game through unpacking the methodologies and strategies that they are applying?”

So now that emotion, which would have been negative and uncomfortable and probably unhelpful in a way, I can turn that into a positive emotion and apply it to new learnings and insights, because now I have a mechanism by which to understand how he succeeded.” – Dr. Ron Friedman

To hear more from Dr. Ron Friedman and how to Decode Greatness and become a top performer, download and listen to this episode.


Ron Friedman, Ph.D., is an award-winning social psychologist who specializes in human motivation.

His new book, The Best Place to Work: The Art and Science of Creating an Extraordinary Workplace, has been described as “stunning,” “eye-opening,” and “a contemporary classic,” and praised by best-selling authors Daniel Pink, David Allen, Marshall Goldsmith, Susan Cain, and Adam Grant.

Dr. Friedman has served on the faculty of the University of Rochester, Nazareth College, and Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and has consulted for Fortune 500 companies, political leaders, and the world’s leading non-profits. Popular accounts of his research have appeared on NPR and in major newspapers, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, the Globe and Mail, The Guardian, as well as magazines such as Men’s Health, Shape, and Allure.

He is a frequent contributor to Harvard Business Review, CNN, Forbes, Fast Company, and Psychology Today.


Connect with Dr. Ron Friedman today!


LinkedIn: in/RonFriedmanPhD

Check out Dr. Ron Friedman’s bestselling works today!

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