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CATS: The Nine Lives of Innovation Hardcover – December 16, 2008

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 1 edition (December 16, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071602216
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071602211
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.3 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #941,947 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In his first solo effort, management consultant Lundin (co-author of the bestselling Fish! series of business titles) presents a collection of self-awareness and thought exercises to help both managers and underlings become more innovative and involved in their personal and business lives. Lundin delineates four obstacles that limit creativity in all kinds of environments: negative feedback, habit, fear and failure of leadership. He then describes nine techniques for overcoming those obstacles, which include organizing, understanding creativity ("Know that innovation isn't normal") and the power of provocation. Though none of these concepts are new (essentially lifted from the creative arts), much may be unfamiliar to a business audience. The CATS concept itself is rather weak-a CAT (not an acronym) is "anyone working to develop his or her capacity to innovate"-and serves less as a metaphor than a set up for puns in section titles and asides: "CAT Nip," "CAT Pause," "We have let the CAT out of the bag!" Though people with workplace problems like heavy-handed management, narrow-minded thinking or oppressive corporate culture can certainly benefit from Lundin's advice, his repetitive and overly enthusiastic text is more interested in following self-help formula than efficiently helping busy, uninspired execs.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From the Back Cover

“Learn the art of innovation and reveal your true potential with Steve Lundin’s CATS: The Nine Lives of Innovation.”
—Marshall Goldsmith, bestselling author of What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There

What's the solution to “business as usual?” The curiosity of a cat!

Stephen Lundin, the bestselling co-author of FISH!, unveils the next big trend in business--innovation as a tool of personal success.

CATS is full of simple yet profound information and anecdotes that can be used to spark the curiosity and creativity within every employee and, thus, inspire innovative approaches to ordinary situations. You'll learn how to identify the major obstacles to innovative thought and live the nine “lives” of innovation, which include:

  • FOCUS--tune out the distracting “noises” of everyday life
  • PREPAREDNESS--be ready to spring when you least expect it
  • PERSPECTIVE--break from the tired old way of looking at things
  • INTELLECTUAL PROVOCATION--everything is fascinating . . . if you know where to look

More About the Author

General Biographical Narrative:

Dr. Stephen Lundin is a writer, entrepreneur and filmmaker with a rich history as a graduate level business school professor and dean. Steve has written a number of books including the multimillion copy best selling FISH! and the simply bestselling FISH! Tales, FISH! Sticks and FISH! for Life. His book Top Performer, A Bold Approach to Sales and Service was published in January 2007 and has been adopted by a major hotel chain. CATS: The Nine Levels of Innovation was published in January of 2009 and was quickly adopted by a medical products company. Loops: Success in Small Business is All About Closing Loops was published in April of 2009 and Ubuntu: Ancient African Wisdom for Today's Leaders (working title) will be published by Random House in the spring of 2010.

During the last decade Steve has worked with hundreds of organizations in 40 countries. The government of Abu Dhabi, the largest builder in Dubai, nursing homes in New Zealand, banking systems in Africa, Australia and Malaysia, a shipping company in Singapore, the Japanese, Singapore and Australian Management Institutes, and health club chains in Sweden and Portugal are a few of his clients. A sample of his US clients include 3M, Guilda's Club, Johnson and Johnson, Microsoft, Keyspan Energy, St. Jude's Children's Hospital, The Barnes Jewish Hospital System, Cargil, The Credit Bureau Executives, P&G, Wells Fargo, the University of Florida Medical School and Hampton Brands by Hilton.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Brian Remer on May 11, 2009
Format: Hardcover
CATS by Stephen Lundin

The saying goes that curiosity killed it. But in his book, CATS, Stephen Lundin turns that old adage upside down by using cat-like characteristics as an analogy for the essence of innovation.

Lundin's slim, readable book describes the nine lives (essential ingredients) of innovation. These lives are embodied in CATS, people who seek consciously to become better at innovating. Lundin asserts that it doesn't make sense to try to figure out how innovative organizations work when it's actually the individuals within an enterprise that bring about creative change. To that end, his book focuses on the nine essential factors that foster innovation:

An Friendly Environment - Reduce the clutter, noise that distract from being creative.
Being Prepared - Stay up-to-date and curious about your field.
Remembering that Innovation isn't Normal - Make opportunities to startle your routine.
Physical Provocation - Fight against normal by being curious about objects in your environment
Social Provocation - Look for and associate with people who are different from you.
Intellectual Provocation - Use imagery and the ideas of others to inspire your creativity.
Say, "How Fascinating!" - Approach failure with curiosity expecting to discover an idea that was hidden from you before.
Fail Early and Fail Well - Learning rarely happens without failure so plan to make mistakes strategically.
Having Support - Innovation leaders (Lundin calls them "Cat Wranglers") play an important role in nurturing, developing, and supporting individuals to innovate.

In CATS, a chapter is devoted to each of the nine lives.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jim Estill on April 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Great short book. The sort that you can get people who don't read to read.

The book, as the titles implies, is about innovation and how companies and people can innovate more. His thesis is that innovation and creativity can be learned and there are certain things that can be done to enhance creativity.

One concept I liked was his authentic energy concept. Authentic energy is energy that flows from choice and commitment rather than obligation or fear. Certainly works in most companies.

In an interesting paradox he talks about lack of clutter and quietness as being one way to get to creativity and in other chapters he talks about the need for uniqueness, clutter and social interaction. The two concepts seem somewhat opposing; however, I certainly understand where he is coming from and I think different creativity needs different things at different times.

One thing that I constantly use to enhance my creativity is reading. I think that is one of my biggest creativity enhancers.

The forward of the book was written by Tony Buzan who originated the mind map so the book talks a lot about mind maps as the creative way of getting to solutions. I have used mind maps for years.

Good short book and I recommend it.
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Format: Hardcover
Frankly, prior to reading this book, I misunderstood the title's meaning although its subtitle clearly indicates that Stephen Lundin would be sharing his thoughts about innovation, just as he shared his thoughts about teamwork in his previously published book, FISH! In "A Cat's Vocabulary," he explains, "CAT and CATS are not acronyms and mean nothing." Actually, they frame his material as a series of nine "lives"(or stages) of the innovation process. (Another Stephen's process of developing effective habits consists of only seven "lives" or stages.) In any event, within only 168 pages and without any concern whatsoever for mixing metaphors, Lundin explains how and why a mind can become "a greenhouse for innovation."(How many cats live in greenhouses?) I found this book consistently entertaining as well as informative. Lundin's writing style has "Snap! Crackle! and Pop!"

He organizes his material within two Parts. In the first, he explains why all innovation is personal, identities and briefly discusses "four challenges and nine lives," and then examines each of the "nine lives of innovation" that begin with the creation of an innovation friendly environment and concludes with an explanation of who "wranglers" are and why they "understand natural energy." In the next Part, he shares a personal view of the nine lives, explains how to earn a "CAT belt" in innovation, then explains why CATS offers "a taxonomy for personal innovation tools and concepts, adds "more stuff, includes a bio of himself (i.e. "Whiskers One"), and ends his book with a "final thought" for his readers to consider if they are still convinced that they "aren't creative and have no capacity to innovate."

Back to "Wranglers" for a moment.
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By Hara Gopal on July 26, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Simple, Precise, Prepares your mind for innovation. A whole lot in a nutshell with references to other sources of innovation and creativity.
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