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Surrounded by Geniuses: Unlocking the Brilliance in Yourself, Your Colleagues and Your Organization Paperback – September 1, 2010

5 out of 5 stars 51 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

In business today, it's the soft stuff that leaders discover to be the most difficult, which is one reason behind the onslaught of change-management books. Here's another to add to that shelf, with a slightly different spin from a slightly different type of expert-consultant. The angle is that it is possible to nurture an internal culture of innovation and creativity by looking carefully at 10 companies and products, ranging from L. L. Bean to Spider-Man. The author is a Washington, D.C., consultant-writer (Lessons from the Sandbox, 2000) whose career includes mapmaker and subway mechanic. Gregerman's point of view—that we all have the potential to be geniuses—is introduced via examples; the Ritz-Carlton chain, for instance, underscores the importance of paying careful attention to customer requests. Seinfeld's old TV show, on the other hand, talks about the criticality of getting all the little things right. These stories are followed by the practical applications for corporate America—in terms of individuals, managers, and organizations. Jacobs, Barbara --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Surrounded by Geniuses is a lively, compelling and challenging read. It is enlightening and fun to look at the world through the eyes of Dr. Gregerman.

Innovation in business is critical and complex. In Surrounded by Geniuses, Alan gives us big ideas, clear examples, and the perspective to improve business performance.

No one needs a "me-too" anything-great companies learn to transform customers into fans. Surrounded by Geniuses can help you begin your quest for the next great idea. IT IS AN IMPORTANT AND ENJOYABLE READ.

Dr. Gregerman has made an important contribution to our understanding of the power of each of us and our organizations to innovate, create, and do so much more. His ideas are clear, concrete, and surprising in their originality. Surrounded by Geniuses is a book for anyone struggling to get beyond incremental thinking.

Winning in today's business environment requires focus, curiosity, and openness to new ways of thinking-and Surrounded by Geniuses has all of these! This book stands out in the business advice crowd. It's filled with humor, passion, clarity, and powerful insight about what it takes to win in the most competitive markets by tapping the talents of all of your people.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks (September 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402244843
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402244841
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,074,563 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 15, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I deeply appreciated all that I learned in Alan Gregerman's most recent book, The Necessity of Strangers: The Intriguing Truth About Insight, Innovation, and Success, that I then obtained copies of two others, Lessons from the Sandbox: Using the 13 Gifts of Childhood to Rediscover the Keys to Business Success and this one. In my opinion, he is among the most thoughtful and thought-provoking among contemporary writers and I hope that many more volumes will be forthcoming in years to come.

What we have in this one is a combination of information, insights, and counsel that will help those who read the book to "unlock the brilliance within them" that has been held hostage, to date, by a lack of self-confidence and probably suppression by the defenders of what James O'Toole characterizes as "the ideology of comfort and the tyranny of custom."

Early on, Gregerman observes that his book on two ideas that have powerful implications for his readers and their organizations: "The first idea is that we all have the potential to be geniuses...The second idea is that we live in a world where we are surrounded by genius and knowledge that can be used to transform practically any company or organization...The only problem with these two idea is the reality that they run counter to the way most of us -- and most of our organizations -- prefer to view each other and the world around us."

In his recently published book, The Myths of Creativity: The Truth About How Innovative Companies and People Generate Great Ideas, David Burkus suggests that there are ten primary dimensions of creative mythology that comprise a "system of heuristics, of speculative formulations, on how creativity works...and they have become well-entrenched myths.
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Format: Hardcover
Dr. Gregerman takes us well beyond the box by getting his readers to think well beyond their current worlds. By focusing on what makes great organizations truly exceptional, without regard to industry, he challenges us to think in truly creative ways about our own. Surrounded by Geniuses is an unusual combination of being both an easy read and quite intellectually stimulating.
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Format: Hardcover
Surrounded By GeniusesDr. Alan Greerman has done it again. He has slashed through the usual heavy rhetoric of management theory with insightful, exciting suggestions for making business management work better. Buy it, read it,learn from it...this book is a quick and stimulating way to inspire you to be a more productive and organized manager.
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No sooner had I begun "Surrounded by Geniuses" than I found myself looking around with a more keen sense of observation, framed by Gregerman's suggested lens of "What are they doing that makes them uniquely successful, and how might that apply to me?" Not only does Gregerman inspire that kind of proactive observation, he also does an excellent job of providing case studies of his work observing stellar performance and distilling from that concepts and guidelines we can use in our own context.

In my work as an organization development consultant and leadership coach, I support organizations as they grapple with the reality that change is mandatory, but growth is optional. Always welcome are ideas for infusing a growth and "what's the opportunity here" mentality into the uncertain and often frightening world of organizational and personal change.

And, when it comes down to it, there is no greater opportunity than more fully being in the moments we live, having more engaged conversations, and really seeing the outstanding performance--and genius--that surrounds us. After all, there is never nothing going on out there. We just need more gentle pushes, like Gregerman's book, to help us remember that and point the way to better seeing.
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Format: Hardcover
I just finished reading Alan Gregerman's new book, Surrounded by Geniuses. I'm an Alan Gregerman fan! In this refreshing book, he urges us to rediscover how powerful curiosity can be and to turn it into a real competitive advantage. Remember field trips -- the joy of leaving school for a day long adventure. Alan Gregerman recommends field trips to improve our organizations and the customer value we deliver. Not brainstorming where we sit around a table and suggest incremental improvements based on our common experience at work. Not benchmarking against the best in our own industry. No, Alan Gregerman is recommending that we unlock the everyday genius in each of us by changing the context of our exploration. As he puts it, we can find "the inspiration to do remarkable things everywhere." How often do you read a business book with chapters on Spider-Man and Seinfeld? Enjoy the trip! You'll have a good time reading and you will be surprised at your new insights. Are you surrounded by geniuses?
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Format: Hardcover
This book is easy to read, easy to relate to, and such a nice mind opener! How can you not like the great case studies that Dr. Gregerman provides, and fail to be inspired by them? And don't tell me you can't relate to the very specific examples of the torture that so many companies subject us to? Kudos to Dr. Gregerman for mentioning them by name...

But what I liked most about this book is that Dr. Gregerman is action oriented. Contrary to many other books that wow you then leave you dreaming, he provides a section at the end of each chapter about where to go from here, and how to conduct your own research.

Thanks, Dr. Gregerman! Great job!

Charbel Tagher
President, Specified Technologies Inc.
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