FAST TRACK: The Superachievers and How They Make It to Early Success, Status and Power by Mary Alice Kellog

FAST TRACK: The Superachievers and How They Make It to Early Success, Status and Power

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Mary Alice Kellogg makes a mildly interesting case for the existence of a superior race among graduates of Sixties unrest; but, unfortunately, she is too willing to generalize and reach dizzying conclusions. She interviewed 35 young ""successes"" in the worlds of business, finance, academia, publishing, etc. These interviews are supplemented by an occasional reference to university research studies or to top managers quoted in magazines. With such meager evidence, she goes on to assert the existence of ""a phenomenon no longer possible to ignore""--an emerging set of leaders, most of whom are under 35, who wield unprecedented power and attain high-level responsibilities ""normally held by someone fifteen or twenty years their senior."" She distinguishes several traits which appear in various combinations in these youthful overachievers--among them an intense drive to excel; an ""independence born of isolation""; an ability to identify with older, ""mentor"" figures; and an element of personal tragedy which fostered a feeling that life was ""fleeting."" Kellogg is given to pigeonholing entire generations--the superachievers, she contends, have been overcrowded from the cradle (due to the baby boom of the Fifties), and thus have been geared to fierce competition; today's teenagers, on the other hand, are absorbed in a ""national trend: a return to the passivity, conformity, and materialism of the 1950s."" Kellogg is of course peddling Sixties-style individualism and a commitment to change--she pleads with corporations to develop atmospheres that encourage individuality and discourage investment in the status quo. The real trouble, however, is in her inflated portrait of the superachievers themselves.

Pub Date: Oct. 22nd, 1978
Publisher: McGraw-Hill