Customer Reviews


11 Reviews
5 star:
 (8)
4 star:
 (3)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 
‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to generate "ingenious ideas...through a rigorous experimental discovery process", 20 April 2011
By 
Robert Morris (Dallas, Texas) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
Having read and reviewed True North, a book Peter Sims co-authored with Bill George, I was curious to know what he has to say about "how breakthrough ideas emerge from small discoveries." I was pleased but hardly surprised that Sims has a great deal of value to share, much of it (as he duly acknowledges) gained from conversations with or rigorous study of various thought leaders and they include a few surprises. Chris Rock, for example. His routines are the result of an exhausting process of continuous (mostly failed) experiments, constant modification, and subtle refinement. Other experimental innovators and thought leaders include Amazon's Jeff Bezos, Larry Page and Sergey Brin (co-founders of Google), Saras Sarasvathy, Pixar's Ed Catmull and John Lasseter, Chet Pipkin, Frank Gehry, Bing Gordon, U.S. Army Brigadier General H.R. McMaster, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Steve Jobs, Jeffrey Dyer and Hal Gregersen, Richard Wiseman, and Eric von Hippel.

As Sims explains, his book's proposition is based on an experimental approach that involves a lot of little bets and certain creative methods to identify possibilities and build up to great outcomes eventually, after frequent failures. (Actually, experimental innovation has no failures; rather, there are initiatives that have not as yet succeeded, each of which is a precious learning opportunity.) "At the core of this experimental approach, little bets are concrete actions taken to discover, test, and develop ideas that are achievable and affordable. They begin as creative possibilities that get iterated and refined over time, and they are particularly valuable when trying to navigate amid uncertainty, create something new, or attend to open-ended problems."

Constant experimentation ("learn by doing") is fundamental to this approach, as indicated, as are a playful, improvisational, and humorous environment; immersion in unfamiliar situations, localities, circumstances, etc.; definition of specific questions to answer, specific problems to solve, specific objectives to achieve, etc.; flexibility amidst ambiguity and uncertainty in combination with a willingness to accept reorientation; and, as indicated, constant iteration (reiteration?) to test, evaluate, refine, test again, etc. Those who are curious wish to understand what works. Experimental innovators have an insatiable curiosity to know what works (or doesn't), why it works (or doesn't), and how it can be improved.

It is important to understand that, as Sims explains, "we can't plot a series of small wins in advance, we must use experiments in order for them to emerge." That is, conduct lots (I mean LOTS) of small experiments (betting small amounts of hours and dollars) and then, as small (modest) "wins" occur, increase the "bet" and see what happens...or doesn't. This process is iterative and never ends. The fundamental advantages are obvious. It allows people to discover new whatevers through an emergent, organic process of frugal but sufficient investments, and, it allows for all manner of adjustments (course corrections, additions/deletions, increases/reductions, etc.) at any point throughout the process.

If your organization is in need of breakthrough ideas, why don't you provide them? Peter Sims provides in this book just about everything you need to know to understand the process and what must be done to initiate and then sustain it. However, the discoveries cannot be made until the experiments occur. If not you, who? If not now, when?
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Breakthrough Ideas from small discoveries, 15 Sep 2011
By 
Little Bets is a small book at 162 pages. The rest of its 213 pages are Further Reading and Resources, Notes, Index and so on. I did not really gain much from it as I was familiar with pretty much all the content. However, it is a good general book for those who'd like to become more familiar with the creative process and innovation. It is written in simple, clear language.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring read, 24 Jun 2011
Excellent book, simply written and really insightful using a potfolio of real life examples.

A must for anyone wantuing to make change when change is hard, and to inspire people to keep going despite all the challenges and barriers put in front of them.

If you want to achieve something remarkable this is a great book to start with
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Little and focused, 19 May 2014
By 
Dr. Nicholas P. G. Davies (Halifax, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is an excellent short book. It's divides innovators into conceptualists and experimenters. This book is very much on the side of the experimenters- it sees overarching concepts as something that can be useful- but which are often unhelpful.

The book illustrates well the idea that multiple small steps towards a goal, our even just taken out of curiosity to see what will happen, are usually the best ways to make progress. Most progress comes from small steps- that cost little, don't take long- and are basically "little bets." A little bet is a diversion you can take that may or may not work, but the worst you'll lose is some small amount of money, and a bit of time. Most ideas don't work out as planned- and often the big idea or concept emerges as an outcome of what starts off as quite a small idea or project. The key thing seems to be to know what problem you are dealing with- and to break it down into small workable chunks.

The world is largely divided between conceptual thinkers who then work out the details, and other people who work with small chunks, and eventually discover what they are really a part of. Little bets offers something to both groups. The conceptual thinkers have good ideas- but they are rarely entirely right- or exactly what customers and others need. Sometimes big visions take so long to implement that by the time they are achieved they are obsolete. A bit of work with little bets often will save such grand projects from being misdirected from the start. The experimental types will enjoy trying experiments- and won't lose too much capital or emotion in building up a magnum opus that turns out to be misdirected. The key is to learn from the experiments, and keep moving on.

This book does move on briskly and entertainingly with many good examples and ideas. I can recommend as a good little bet to readers- it won't take you long to read and you'll quickly come away with several useful ideas from it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Little Bets but great ideas! Very inspiring!, 26 Aug 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Little Bets: How breakthrough ideas emerge from small discoveries (Paperback)
I read this book in a day and found it very inspiring - I couldn't put it down! Great examples of idea generation which challenge the traditional way we make business decisions. The real life examples demonstrate how this method can yield results in a much more fun and flexible way. It's changed the way I will test ideas going forwards - thank you Little Bets!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Good book, 23 July 2013
By 
T. VANDERNOOT (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Little Bets: How breakthrough ideas emerge from small discoveries (Paperback)
This is a good book with some interesting ideas. Overall I enjoyed reading it. My only complaint would be that the author is sometimes unnecessarily wordy or repetitious, especially towards the end of the book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Oldest truth backed with newest examples, 26 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Little Bets: How breakthrough ideas emerge from small discoveries (Paperback)
This book is not a game changer, nor does it bring about breakthrough ideas, but at least it does not pretend to do so. That's already a merit. Even the title is somewhat modest and humble especially when compared to shouting headlines of some top selling business books. I'm even tempted to call the writing itself modest. That's rare and worth apprising. It feels good to be treated seriously as a reader.
In a nutshell, Sims' book refreshes a simple idea of how productive and valuable it can be to work in small steps. He calls these steps "little bets" to illustrate risk management opportunities coming with gradual development rather than big bets of putting every resource behind unproven ideas. In doing so Sims accomplishes to address two objectives. Firstly, he manages to convincingly combine the examples backing up his reasoning from as diverse backgrounds as military operations (counterinsurgency ops in Iraq), animated movies production (Pixar) and some more. He successfully avoids a trap of putting different examples artificially bind together. Secondly, by reviving little steps approach what I guess is a concept as old as humanity, he brings back to live some worthy advice not necessarily limited to business. It reminds of values that sometimes tend to be neglected as they miss the flavor of being dynamic, rule-breaking and so on (any buzz-word would fit it). Specifically, though it is not literally stated, I take his book as praise for achieving the goals gradually, or if I can risk to by pathetic, it is simply praise for patience. Sims calls for experimenting, for allowing (yourself, or your team, or your company or your... well, you name it) to fail in order to learn, but that's on the surface of his reasoning. Behind it there is the need for perseverance, for not being discouraged by early mistakes, but rather to build on what only seems to be a weakness but in fact takes a lot of courage - admitting one has failed. That is how professionals do it, and some vivid examples are to be found in the book. From that point of view I find it a valuable work. The message is: slow down, don't stop trying, and be focused. It is deconstructed into couple of concepts some of which are taken from different authors (there is great review of suggested further reading at the end of the book - really helpful, even for those who might be disappointed be the book). One example is the rule of moving from "expected gains" to "affordable losses" point of view while weighing whether to i.e. start a project or provide financing as an investor. As simple as it might be, and let's admit it - not eye-opening - it deserves to be reminded and thought over again and again. Besides, it is a very short read and the investment exposure in terms of time involved is not too big. So why don't you make this little bet and buy the book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Very good read, full of inspiration, 24 Feb 2013
By 
T. P. Duong (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Little Bets: How breakthrough ideas emerge from small discoveries (Paperback)
Little Bets is a short but sweet book containing many, relevant examples of how creative and inspirational companies and people have got to where they are by trying, and failing often. There are 10 chapters in total which, if you read this book on your daily commute, you won't take long to finish when compared with other business books. However, each chapter is crammed with useful tidbits which will make you re-think the way you approach work, and life.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Some good ideas and strategies, 26 Jan 2012
I'm reading this as part of a company book club. On a regular basis we select a book which we think will help us see how we work and what we do from a different perspective and we'll look to apply ideas not normally found in our line of work. So for instance how can we convey change management, managing colleagues and thinking about problem solving without having to do an MBA or get into heavy texts. Little Bets has some illustrations of problems, how they're solved in different ways by either individuals or corporates and it's all presented in an entertaining, conversational and story telling tone. Easy to digest and pick up the main themes. Some interesting stories of the beginnings of companies, how they developed or happened upon opportunities, killed or stifled growth, created their own luck or just played to their instincts and took a punt of something being a success. More often than not, starting small and working towards bigger potential later. There's lots of references and quotes from reassuring names and brands to give the ideas credibility, context and lots of human personal touches. I've taken pointers and suggestions that I think can be achieved, are practical and can encourage creativity from reading Little Bets and have been entertained along the way.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Little Bets, 12 Dec 2011
By 
Rolf Dobelli "getAbstract" (Switzerland) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
If you think you have nothing in common with comedian Chris Rock, the late Steve Jobs, Amazon's Jeff Bezos, architect Frank Gehry, or the geniuses at Google or Pixar, think again. Each of these stars from the worlds of business and entertainment achieved success through "little bets" - a creative, small-steps approach to thinking that helps them develop their products, services, or art. Innovators who use little bets are not afraid to experiment, to take chances or even to fail. They don't start out with a big idea - they discover it along the way. In this brightly written, fast-paced book, author and entrepreneur Peter Sims explains the secrets of small risks and how they can help you realize your dreams in business, art, or whatever field you choose. getAbstract learned from this eye-opening primer on creative thinking and places a little bet that budding entrepreneurs will, too.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Little Bets: How breakthrough ideas emerge from small discoveries
6.29
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews