Compound Returns of Self-Improvement

Tyler Cowen and Daniel Gross about self-improvement in Talent: How to Identify Energizers, Creatives, and Winners Around the World:

If a person improves, say, only 1 percent a year in terms of productivity, it will take about seventy years for that person’s productivity to double. Probably you can’t wait that long, and maybe a mere doubling isn’t so impressive anyway. For that person, what you see is what you get. But say a person can improve by 35 percent a year. That is difficult for many people, but it is hardly utopian, especially for those who are young and/or intellectually flexible in the right ways. Those people will double in productivity every two years. And if their productivity is doubling every two years, after only eight years they are sixteen times more effective. That is how compound returns work. At first the power of the effect seems relatively small, but with the passage of time compound returns are highly significant. (p. 129)

self-improvement compounding talent Tyler Cowen Daniel Gross

Join my free newsletter and receive updates directly to your inbox.