One of my closest friends and mentors once shared a short book with me called 212° the extra degree. He is a highly successful businessman who is an IU alumnus, former Hoosier football player, and whose dad was also a Hoosier football player who went on to play for the 1972 Miami Dolphins team that went undefeated and won the Super Bowl. My teammates and I owe him for his continued guidance as we grow from teenagers into adults, and we are all grateful to have him in our lives.
The premise of 212° the extra degree, is that “at 211 degrees, water is hot. At 212 degrees, it boils. And with boiling water, comes steam. And with steam, you can power a train.” Now this might sound like a gimmick, but over the years I’ve come to appreciate the meaning of this book and how applying its principles can help you advance in your studies, career, and life.
The book discusses how a difference of just 1 degree distinguishes hot water and steam, and goes on to give many examples of how the smallest of differences can have a large impact. One of my favorite examples is the average margin of victory in the Indianapolis 500 (we are at Indiana University after all) between 1997-2006 is 2.80 seconds, but the first place prize is $1,497,639 whereas the second place price is $587,321. That 2.80 second difference over 500 miles of racing makes a huge difference in the outcome for the drivers in terms of prestige and prize money. The book goes on to give examples of where and how you can teach the 212 philosophy and how small changes in your daily life can amount to big returns, such as eliminating 30 minutes of television every day to get 182.5 extra hours (or four and a half weeks of work) each year that you can devote to something else.
I would highly recommend this book, you can read it in about 15 minutes, but the message is powerful and can motivate you to take that tiny bit of extra time and effort to differentiate and distinguish yourself amongst your peers. So ask yourself, “what have I done today to get that extra degree?”