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A Toast to Author Ron Friedman on the Publication of Decoding Greatness

Three years ago, I met a writer who would change my life. I was on maternity leave at the time with my second daughter, bleary-eyed and fuzzy-brained. But this writer was special—a social psychologist with a big idea. He had the credentials and determination to get my notice, and he was ready to hop on a plane to New York.

So I took the meeting, and when Dr. Ron Friedman presented me with his book proposal, I knew I had something revolutionary in my hands.

His idea was this: in business and in life, greatness doesn’t necessarily come from talent or 10,000 hours of practice. It comes from mastering a simple skill that the most celebrated writers, artists, chefs, athletes and business titans have secretly been using for generations: reverse engineering. Reverse engineering is studying the best in a field and working backward to figure out how they did it. You can then infuse your own twist to create something novel and original.

Of course, there’s so much more, but ultimately, Ron’s book provides a way to succeed faster.

DECODING GREATNESS: How the Best in the World Reverse Engineer Success is now available to everyone reading this letter. You’ll see that it’s received rave reviews from authors like Adam Grant, Cal Newport, Dan Pink, Dorie Clark, Marshall Goldsmith, and more. It’s also an Amazon Editors’ Pick for Best Nonfiction, and a nominee for the Next Big Idea Club.

I hope you’ll consider picking up a copy and writing to me on Twitter (@lucindablu) to let me know how you like it. Writers will find the book especially helpful – there’s even a section on writing like Malcolm Gladwell and Ann Patchett. For those who read it, Ron will be offering a special live workshop to Lucinda Literary’s community members! Stay tuned for those details. A lot has gone into this project, and I’m so excited to see it out in the world.

This is a short toast Lucinda gave in our weekly newsletter for the publication day of DECODING GREATNESS, which is currently available online and on shelves for purchase.

You can follow Ron Friedman on LinkedInInstagram, Twitter, and Facebook.


“This book is your secret decoder ring for understanding how athletes, artists, entrepreneurs, and even criminal masterminds create breakthroughs. Clear, concise, and backed by science, it’s a powerful combination of analysis and storytelling that will transform the way you approach your next project.”
—Daniel H. Pink, author of WhenDrive, and To Sell is Human

“If this book was full of insights about the patterns that drive excellence across fields, it would be well worth your time. Ron Friedman has gone a step further: he actually teaches you how to detect new patterns yourself. With alluring stories and illuminating studies, he shows how we can all learn more from great achievers and innovators.”
—Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Think Again and Originals, and host of the TED podcast WorkLife

“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

“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 #1 bestselling author of Triggers, Mojo, and What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

“Decoding Greatness is a playbook for success, applicable to any field you can imagine. By reverse engineering what works for others, we can all find unique ways to drive innovation. Ron Friedman is a master of how people think and work, and shows us how we can apply these insights in our own lives.”
—Jonah Berger, internationally bestselling author of Contagious, Invisible Influence, and The Catalyst