Smart, but Stuck Overview

Do you think you are smart, but stuck?


Do you know someone who seems to be smart, but stuck?


Are you leading or managing a team of smart people and want to make them even more smarter?

If yes, you may be interested in what I have to share.

Before we go any further on being smart, but stuck, remember one thing – you are not alone.

I was there. Not once, but many times. I camped in that space for prolonged periods of time before I could see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I know the feeling. And, I thought I was an exception.

When I talked to the other smart people, I was expecting to hear that they rarely get stuck.

Boy, was I wrong…

Every smart person I met had multiple stories of being smart, but stuck.

In some sense, I was relieved that I was not an exception, but the rule when it came to being smart, but stuck.

In another sense, I was puzzled.

I wanted to find the answer to the question: “Why do smart people get stuck?

Upon reflecting a bit, I thought I should be able to find a reasonably good answer to the above question in less than six months. I began my research somewhere in 2010. I was enthusiastic about the project. My research in no way was scientific – mainly involved reading and talking to a few hundred super smart people that I was connected to.

Six months passed by.

There was not even a sign of the kind of answer I was looking for.

I was wrong..again.

A few more months passed by.

I came to a hard realization that there was no single answer for the question.

Long story short – I continued my research in my own way – but this time I broke down the problem into more than two dozen small, but important problems.

The questions that I asked included, but not limited to:

  • Why smart people don’t take action that they know they should take?
  • Why is change hard for smart people?
  • Why many smart people can’t get buy-in for their ideas?

I shared my findings along the way – on my own blog and several other media outlets starting 2010. The articles in the series are the most popular among the 1950+ blog posts here. So, I know the message resonates with people.

The last step was to find the right timing to bring this out as a book.

As we head towards singularity, we are experiencing an unprecedented change at a breathtaking speed. If there is no proactive intervention, we all will experience a rude shock in our work and life. More smart people will get more stuck in more ways than ever before.

The book “Smart, but Stuck” is that proactive intervention.

The goal of the book is simple – to take you from being “smart, but stuck” to being “smart and unstuck”

Join me in this journey – together let us create some magic along the way!

Here is a quick overview of the book:

If you want to take a deeper dive into the book, here is a talk where I have covered part of the book in detail:

Advance Praise for the book

“I run a popular program called Creativity and Personal Mastery and have a bunch of questions/statements that a prospect has to examine to determine if it is appropriate for her. The overwhelming majority resonate with the statement ‘Do you have a nagging sense that time is slipping by and you have accomplished only a fraction of what you are capable?’ In other words, Are You Stuck? We all are but we are frequently blind to how and where we are stuck and what to do about it.

Setty is a serial entrepreneur and has keen observation. Read this book to gain deep insights into what is holding you back. These can range from your faulty perspectives to expectations of others. In the final section he invites you to commit to getting unstuck as the first important step. Do so. This is book to buy and read – not to keep on a shelf for ‘some day’.”

Srikumar Rao (web) is a TED speaker, Professor and author of “Happiness at Work: Be Resilient, Motivated and Successful – No Matter What”


“Being smart won’t save you from the frustration of getting stuck, but this book will…”

~ Dan Waldschmidt, best-selling author of EDGY Conversations: How Ordinary People Achieve Outrageous Success


“Rajesh has brought insights both playful and practical to the very real challenges we all face in creating great work. His thoughts are clear and kind.”

Tom Chi, founding team member of Google X

Would you be willing to help people in your network who are smart, but stuck to get unstuck?

I would love any and all help to get the message out. If you are open to helping, please give me some details here.