Todd Rose

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Todd Rose
Todd Rose headshot.jpg
BornLarry Todd Rose
(1974-11-28) November 28, 1974 (age 48)
OccupationScientist, author, professor, social entrepreneur
Alma mater Weber State University;
Harvard Graduate School of Education
Subject Developmental psychology;
Learning science;
Educational neuroscience;
Science of the individual
Notable worksCollective Illusions,
Dark Horse
The End of Average ,
Square Peg

Larry Todd Rose (born November 28, 1974) is a scientist, author, professor and social entrepreneur. He is known for being the co-founder and CEO of Populace, a Boston-based think tank. [1] Prior to Populace, Rose was a professor at the Harvard University where he served as the faculty director of the Mind, Brain, and Education program, as well as led the Laboratory for the Science of Individuality. [2]


Rose is a scientist in developmental psychology known for his work applying dynamical systems principles to the study of development, intelligence, and learning, [3] and for his contributions to the field of Educational Neuroscience. [4] His current focus is in the area of the Science of the Individual, [5] with an emphasis on applying insights about individuality to issues of human potential, talent development, and the design of social institutions. [6]

He is the author of the books Collective Illusions, Dark Horse, The End of Average , and Square Peg. [7]

Early life and education

Rose was born in Ogden, Utah in 1974. He has stated publicly that he struggled in school from an early age, and that he dropped out of Layton High School his senior year (1993), as at the time, he had a 0.9 GPA. [8] In 1995, after being on welfare and working multiple minimum wage jobs to support his wife and two children, he obtained his GED and started attending night classes at a local college. [9] Rose eventually received a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Weber State University (2000), as well as a master's degree in Mind, Brain, and Education (2001) and a Doctorate in Human Development (2007) from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, [10] where he worked with notable psychologist Kurt W. Fischer. He also completed a postdoctoral fellowship with the Laboratory for Visual Learning at the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian (2008). [11]

Science of the Individual

In an excerpt from the book, Rose relates that in the 1940s, after multiple flying accidents, the US Air Force required adjustable airplane cockpit equipment when measurements revealed zero pilots were in the average range of 10 body measurements from a population of 4,063 pilots. The measurements revealed that with only three of the ten size measurements, neck circumference, thigh circumference and wrist circumference, fewer than 3.5 per cent of pilots would fit within the average sizes on the three measurements. If a cockpit was designed for an average pilot, the cockpit fit no pilot. [12] Rose's TEDx talk, "The Myth of Average", communicates the basic principles of the science of the individual and shows how its findings can be harnessed by parents, teachers, managers, and individuals to improve performance. [13]


To socialize insights from the Science of the Individual, and use its findings to advance public systems and culture change, Rose co-founded Populace with Parisa Rouhani. Populace is a Boston-based 501(c)3 think tank focused on advancing opportunities, so all people have the chance to live fulfilling lives in a thriving society. [14]


Rose authored the book, Collective Illusions: Conformity, Complicity, and the Science of Why We Make Bad Decisions ( ISBN   978-0306925689) and released it in 2022. The book reveals collective illusions, when people in a group adopt a view they don't agree with because they mistakenly believe others support it, leading to actions nobody truly wants. It was published by Hachette Books in New York.

He co-authored the book, Dark Horse: Achieving success through the pursuit of fulfillment ( ISBN   9780063000247), with Ogi Ogas in 2018. The book, published by HarperCollins, talks about the interests and abilities of people in society that nobody expects to be successful, but are successful in their own way.

In 2015, he wrote The End of Average: How We Succeed in a World That Values Sameness ( ISBN   9780062358387), a book published by HarperOne, about the measurement of human potential through a one-size-fits-all model which is incorrect as each individual has different capabilities.

He also co-authored Square Peg: My Story and What it Means for Raising Innovators, Visionaries, and Out of the Box Thinkers ( ISBN   9781401324278) with Katherine Ellison and published it in 2013 with Hachette Books. In this book, Rose shares his personal story and provides insights to the current American school system which could help each student distinctly.

Notable publications

Personal life

Rose and his family live in Burlington, Massachusetts. [15] Son of Larry and Lyda (Burton), Rose is the oldest of five siblings and spent the early years of his life in Hooper, Utah. He later relocated with his family to Layton, Utah before moving to Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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  2. Lory, Hough (24 August 2015). "Beyond Average".
  3. "Publications, Harvard Graduate School of Education".
  4. Rose, L. Todd; Daley, Samantha G.; Rose, David H. (2011). "Let the Questions Be Your Guide: MBE as Interdisciplinary Science". Mind, Brain, and Education. 5 (4): 153. doi:10.1111/j.1751-228X.2011.01123.x.
  5. Rose, L. Todd; Rouhani, Parisa; Fischer, Kurt W. (2013). "The Science of the Individual". Mind, Brain, and Education. 7 (3): 152–158. doi:10.1111/mbe.12021.
  6. Walsh, Bari (31 October 2014). "Not Your Average Student".
  7. Anderson, Jenny (3 April 2023). "How America Started to Fall Out of Love With College Degrees".
  8. Latour, Francie (31 March 2013). "Dropout at Harvard". Boston Globe .
  9. Sweeney, Sarah H (15 March 2013). "A wild Rose in bloom". Harvard Gazette.
  10. "L. Todd Rose: Lecturer on Education".
  11. "People of LVL".
  12. Rose, Todd (2016-01-16). "When U.S. air force discovered the flaw of averages". The Toronto Star. ISSN   0319-0781 . Retrieved 2016-01-18.
  13. "The Myth of Average: Todd Rose at TEDxSonomaCounty".
  14. Allen, Jeanne; Moe, Michael (October 6, 2021). "in Piazza: Populace Co-founder & Bestselling Author Todd Rose". Apple Podcasts .
  15. "Author Bio on Audible".