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Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World Audio CD – Audiobook, 2 February 2016
With Give and Take, Adam Grant not only introduced a landmark new paradigm for success but also established himself as one of his generation's most compelling and provocative thought leaders. In Originals he again addresses the challenge of improving the world, but now from the perspective of becoming original: choosing to champion novel ideas and values that go against the grain, battle conformity, and buck outdated traditions. How can we originate new ideas, policies, and practices without risking it all? 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; how parents and teachers can nurture originality in children; and how leaders can build cultures that welcome dissent. Learn from an entrepreneur who pitches his start-ups by highlighting the reasons not to invest, a woman at Apple who challenged Steve Jobs from three levels below, an analyst who overturned the rule of secrecy at the CIA, a billionaire financial wizard who fires employees for failing to criticize him, and a TV executive who didn't even work in comedy but saved Seinfeld from the cutting-room floor. The payoff is a set of groundbreaking insights about rejecting conformity and improving the status quo.
About the Author
- Publisher : Penguin Audiobooks; Unabridged edition (2 February 2016)
- Language : English
- ISBN-10 : 0147524407
- ISBN-13 : 978-0147524409
- Dimensions : 2.79 x 12.95 x 14.99 cm
- Customer Reviews:
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It could have been a 5 star book, but struggles for a few reasons. Firstly, it wanders around bringing in some topics which seem to have little to do with the topic of originality. The second issue is similar, it can't seem to decide if it wants to be a book about originality in the situation of entrepreneurship and business, or originality in terms of wider creativity and innovation. Thirdly, some of the examples used seem to be of successful businesses, but I struggle to see them as hugely original. Finally, the perennial problem of many business books - its very US centric. Don't get me wrong I've got no problem with the US and many of us can learn a lot from US businesses, but there is a wider world out there with plenty of originals in it!
An easy read, some useful information, but it does not really live up to the original promise. Still, the good bits and quite good, so it manages 3 stars from me.
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.
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
- lots of counter intuitive wisdom nuggets
- interesting and engaging stories
- you can get a lot out of reading this regardless of your background
- If you are looking for specific content (such as the science behind creativity), this read will be too generic