- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: WH Allen (9 Feb. 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0753556995
- ISBN-13: 978-0753556993
- Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 2.1 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 54 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,461 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Originals: How Non-conformists Change the World Paperback – 9 Feb 2017
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"ORIGINALS is one of the most important and captivating books I have ever read, full of surprising and powerful ideas. It will not only change the way you see the world; it might just change the way you live your life. And it could very well inspire you to change your world." (Sheryl Sandberg, bestselling author of LEAN IN)
"Reading ORIGINALS made me feel like I was seated across from Adam Grant at a dinner party, as one of my favorite thinkers thrilled me with his insights and his wonderfully new take on the world." (Malcolm Gladwell)
"After launching hundreds of businesses―from airlines to trains, music to mobile, and now a spaceline―my biggest challenges and successes have come from convincing other people to see the world differently. ORIGINALS reveals how that can be done and will help you inspire creativity and change." (Sir Richard Branson)
"This extraordinary, wildly entertaining book sheds new light on the Age of Disruption. What does it take to make a meaningful difference? And how can you apply this insight to your own life? By debunking myths of success stories, challenging long-held beliefs of process, and finding commonality among those who are agents of profound change, Adam Grant gives us a powerful new perspective on not just our place in the world, but our potential to shake it up entirely." (JJ Abrams, director of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, co-creator and executive producer of Lost, and cofounder of Bad Robot)
"Adam Grant is one of the great social scientists of our time" (Susan Cain, author of QUIET)
From the Inside Flap
#1 New York Times Bestseller!
‘Extraordinary’ JJ Abrams
‘Fascinating’ Arianna Huffington
‘Inspire creativity and change’ Richard Branson
‘One of my favourite thinkers’ Malcolm Gladwell
‘Masterful’ Peter Thiel
‘One of the great social scientists of our time’ Susan Cain, bestselling author of Quiet
‘Fresh research, counter-intuitive insights, lively writing, practical calls to action’ The Financial Times
The New York Times bestselling author examines how people can drive creative, moral, and organisational progress―and how leaders can encourage originality in their organisations.
How can we originate new ideas, policies and practices without risking it all? Adam Grant shows how to improve the world by championing novel ideas and values that go against the grain, battling conformity, and bucking outdated traditions.
Using surprising studies and stories spanning business, politics, sports, and entertainment, Grant explores how to recognize a good idea, speak up without getting silenced, build a coalition of allies, choose the right time to act, and manage fear and doubt. Parents will learn how to nurture originality in children, and leaders will discover how to fight groupthink to build cultures that welcome dissent.
Told through dazzling case studies of people going against the grain, you’ll encounter an entrepreneur who pitches the reasons not to invest, a woman at Apple who challenged Steve Jobs from three levels below, an analyst who challenged secrecy at the CIA, a billionaire financial wizard who fires employees who don’t criticize him, and the TV executive who saved Seinfeld from the cutting room floor. Originals will give you groundbreaking insights about rejecting conformity and how to change the world.
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When I bought this book I thought that it would just contain a number of true stories about original thinkers and how they changed the world. Adam Grant's writings are all that but much more. Originals is really a manual on how to efficiently and effectively promote, develop and manage organisations. In this book Grant explores and explains tried and proven methods of influencing people and achieving significant results, whether your aim is starting a new business, managing a political organisation or trying to assert influence on any large body with a fixed mindset.
Grant begins his book with the true story of the creation of Warby Parker, a mail-order firm which provides spectacles for millions of customers in the United States. The company's founders succeeded despite the grave reservations from friends and many people within the eye-care industry. They prospered because they were not afraid to challenge the status quo and the rigid thinking which was prevalent at the time. After doing their research they realised that they could provide quality spectacles at a much lower price than their competitors. They were original thinkers.
Grant then goes on to demonstrate original thinking influenced everything, from the civil right movement to the high success rate of a top investment company. An original thinker also completely changed the culture within the US security services.
But, like I said, this book is a manual: it provides practical advice on how to effectively promote an idea, or how to form a political coalition, or how to deal with stressful situations. Much of the advice appears to be counter-intuitive; for instance, when carrying out a presentation for a new product Grant believes that you should begin by emphasising the product's WEAK points! And coalitions are best formed not with people with the same aims, but with similar methods. The writer also believes that you can sell ideas more effectively by toning down and even disguising the true nature of your idea. Grant provides practical examples where these methods have worked. I found the most interesting of Grant's ideas was his promotion of dissent within organisations. He gives the example of a large company called Bridgewater, where its CEO actively encourages the firm's workers to criticise everybody, including himself. The company actively sought out the most critical people within the business.
Towards the end of the book Grant demonstrates how even revolutions have been brought about by using tactics which at first don't appear the be very effective. Sometimes laughing at dictators is the best way to oust them. This piece of work is crammed with advice which is backed up with clinical psychological research. I found it to be absolutely fascinating.
If you are thinking of starting up a new business, or if your are a senior manager in a large company or organisation then this book is a must-read. It will change they way you think about doing things.
The book starts with this quote:
“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man".
This book is about becoming the unreasonable man or women. With surprisingly reasonable or common sense conclusions and tips.
What browser do you use?
Starting with your browser. Nothing to do with filter bubbles, but everything to do with attitude.
Employees who used Firefox or Chrome to browse the Web remained in their jobs 15 percent longer than those who used Internet Explorer or Safari. The employees who took the initiative to change their browsers to Firefox or Chrome approached their jobs differently.
You need to be a master in what you do. But at the same time realising that practice makes perfect, but it doesn’t make new. Our intuitions are only accurate in domains where we have a lot of experience. And because the pace of change is accelerating, our environments are becoming ever more unpredictable. This makes intuition less reliable as a source of insight about new ideas. Originality remains an act of creative destruction. Originality is not a fixed trait. It is a choice.
You need to procrastinate
True originals take a long time. The proposals from the procrastinators were 28 percent more creative. Delaying progress enabled them to spend more time considering different ways to accomplish it, instead of “seizing and freezing” on one particular strategy. In ancient Egypt, there were two different verbs for procrastination: one denoted laziness; the other meant waiting for the right time.
In ancient Egypt, there were two different verbs for procrastination: one denoted laziness; the other meant waiting for the right time.
You need fellow creators to assess you idea
The biggest barrier to originality is not idea generation—it’s idea selection.When managers vet novel ideas, they’re in an evaluative mindset. To protect themselves against the risks of a bad bet, they compare the new notion on the table to templates of ideas that have succeeded in the past. Focus groups are effectively set up to make the same mistakes as managers. So neither test audiences nor managers are ideal judges of creative ideas. But there is one group of forecasters that does come close: fellow creators evaluating one another’s ideas. When artists assessed one another’s performances, they were about twice as accurate as managers and test audiences in predicting success.
You need to study art
Nobel Prize winners were dramatically more likely to be involved in the arts than less accomplished scientists. A representative study of thousands of Americans showed similar results for entrepreneurs and inventors. People who started businesses and contributed to patent applications were more likely than their peers to have leisure time hobbies that involved drawing, painting, architecture, sculpture, and literature. Just as scientists, entrepreneurs, and inventors often discover novel ideas through broadening their knowledge to include the arts, we can likewise gain breadth by widening our cultural repertoires. Research on highly creative adults shows that they tended to move to new cities much more frequently than their peers in childhood, which gave them exposure to different cultures and values, and encouraged flexibility and adaptability.
You need to add familiarity to your idea
Take a look at this list of familiar songs. Pick one of them and tap the rhythm to it on a table. Now, what do you think the odds are that one of your friends would recognise the song you’re tapping?
This is the core challenge of speaking up with an original idea. When you present a new suggestion, you’re not only hearing the tune in your head. You wrote the song. You’ve spent hours, days, weeks, months, or maybe even years thinking about the idea. This explains why we often under communicate our ideas.
You need to create an exposure effect —the more familiar a face, letter, number, sound, flavour, brand, or Chinese character becomes, the more we like it. “Familiarity doesn’t breed contempt,” says serial entrepreneur Howard Tullman. “It breeds comfort.”
To come up with something original, you need to begin from a more unfamiliar place and then add familiarity, which capitalises on the exposure effect. On average, a novel starting point followed by a familiarity infusion led to ideas that were judged as 14 percent more practical, without sacrificing any originality.
You should not be too radical
The Goldilocks theory of coalition formation. The originals who start a movement will often be its most radical members, whose ideas and ideals will prove too hot for those who follow their lead. To form alliances with opposing groups, it’s best to temper the cause, cooling it as much as possible. Originals must often become tempered radicals.
You need to create a common passion
Commitment blueprints worked to build strong emotional bonds among employees and to the organisation. They often used words like family and love to describe the companionship in the organisation, and employees tended to be intensely passionate about the mission. Startups with founders that had a commitment blueprint, the failure rate of their firms was zero—not a single one of them went out of business.
You need to create dissenting voices
However, existing companies in volatile settings like the computer, aerospace, and airline industries, the benefits of strong cultures disappear. Company performance only improved when CEOs actively gathered advice from people who weren’t their friends and brought different insights to the table, which challenged them to fix mistakes and pursue innovations.Minority viewpoints are important, not because they tend to prevail but because they stimulate divergent attention and thought, They contribute to the detection of novel solutions and decisions that, on balance, are qualitatively better. Dissenting opinions are useful even when they’re wrong.
Maverick in residence
Which is why we like the maverick in residence as a concept so much. It creates the necessary dialogue to improve your organisation.
The book uses Bridgewater Associates. Headquartered in a Connecticut as an example. Its philosophy is outlined in a set of over two hundred principles written by the founder. In a typical organisation, people are punished for raising dissent. At Bridge-water, they’re evaluated on whether they speak up—and they can be fired for failing to challenge the status quo.
In hiring, instead of using similarity to gauge cultural fit, Bridgewater assesses cultural contribution. It wants people who will think independently and enrich the culture. By holding them accountable for dissenting, Dalio has fundamentally altered the way people make decisions. The goal is to create an idea meritocracy, where the best ideas win.
You need get angry
If you want people to modify their behaviour, you need to highlight costs of not changing. To drive people out of their comfort zones, you have to cultivate dissatisfaction, frustration, or anger at the current state of affairs, making it a guaranteed loss. Once commitment is fortified, instead of glancing in the rearview mirror, it’s better to look forward by highlighting the work left to be done.
When we’re determined to reach an objective, it’s the gap between where we are and where we aspire to be that lights a fire under us. Anger counteracts apathy: We feel that we’ve been wronged, and we’re compelled to fight.
don’t take too much risk
don’t believe in first mover advantage
quantity over quality
have a vision
I am fifty years old. The best news from the book was that there is evidence that older employees tend to submit more ideas and higher-quality ideas than their younger colleagues, with the most valuable suggestions coming from employees older than fifty-five.
Key insight 2: we are all originals and can actively improve our creativity using certain principles. He doesn't say that this will turn us into outstanding creative geniuses whose work will live forever but he does point out that we can be more creative and innovative and it isn't a matter of hanging around waiting for inspiration to strike
Downside: annoying Americanisms and a modern tendency to overdo the anecdotes BUT he does have some evidence-based stuff too
Overall: well worth reading and much better than most self-help/business guru stuff. Buy it or borrow it
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