In an article in Inc Magazine, Jerry Murrell, founder of the Five Guys burger chain, discusses potatoes: “Potatoes are like oak trees — the slower they grow, the more solid they are. We like northern potatoes, because they grow in the daytime when it is warm, but then they stop at night when it cools down. It would be a lot easier and cheaper if we got a California or Florida potato.”
I was amazed that anyone would know where the best potatoes grew for their business. But then I started thinking about other people I know who are really really good at what they do. I remembered interviewing a guy, two years out of college for a role that involved understanding the international political scene. He knew the ruling government and how stable it was for every country we wanted to discuss. I remembered an interviewee for a media role who was a former journalist, and who had a strategy, worked out over time by trial and error, for getting them most out of interviewees when she doorstepped them.
People who are really good at what they do, are obsessed with the details. Their knowledge is deep in a few subjects, often, rather than broad. They work at getting better. It may get you laughed at by your family, that you're bringing home more books on business, but that obsession will get you ahead.