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Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World Paperback – February 7, 2017
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“Part of the fun of Grant’s book is that he redeems behaviors we typically regard with puritan disdain. . . . Thought-provoking.”
—The New York Times Book Review
“Fresh research, counter-intuitive insights, lively writing, practical calls to action . . . Grant has a deserved reputation as an original thinker.”
—The Financial Times
“Grant’s latest looks set to join the required reading lists of many companies across America.”
“[Grant] examines what successful non-conformists . . . have in common, all in an effort to help the rest of us learn how to do things like bust myths, speak truth to power, and avoid groupthink without getting sidelined.”
—The Washington Post
“Adam Grant is a serious social scientist, master storyteller and infectious optimist. . . . Originals is filled with fresh insights on a broad array of topics that are important to our personal and professional lives. Mr. Grant has an uncanny ability to infuse a familiar topic with deeper meaning and leave the reader feeling hopeful and a little exhilarated.”
—The New York Times DealBook
“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
“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, founder of The Virgin Group
“Originals is a fascinating, eye-opening read that will help you not just recognize your own unique gifts, but find the strength to challenge conventional wisdom to bring them to life. Using surprising studies and riveting stories, Adam Grant brilliantly shows us how to champion new ideas, bust persistent myths that hold us back and change not only our lives, but our world.”
—Arianna Huffington, cofounder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, and author of Thrive
“It can sometimes seem as if one must learn everything old before one can try anything new. Adam Grant does a masterful job showing that is not the case; we are lucky to have him as a guide.”
—Peter Thiel, cofounder of PayPal and Palantir, and author of Zero to One
“An urgent must read, a seminal work that will surprise you on every single page. Adam Grant has reset our expectations for what it means to be creative and what's required to make a difference. Share it with someone you care about.”
—Seth Godin, author of Linchpin
Praise for Give and Take
“As brilliant as it is wise, this is not just a book—it’s a new and shining worldview. Adam Grant is one of the great social scientists of our time, and Give and Take is brimming with life-changing insights.”
—Susan Cain, author of Quiet
“Give and Take is a truly exhilarating book—the rare work that will shatter your assumptions about how the world works and keep your brain firing for weeks after you’ve turned the last page.”
—Daniel H. Pink, author of Drive and To Sell Is Human
“I love Give and Take, which shows that givers get ahead and nice guys don’t finish last.”
—Arianna Huffington, author of Thrive and president of the Huffington Post Media Group
“Now shaking up the business world: science that may change the way the world does business.”
—Willie Geist, Today show
“Adam Grant’s Give and Take is an excellent book. Hard work, luck, and talent are important, but giving makes the difference.”
—Alex Stubb, prime minister of Finland
“Give and Take is like a fundamental outline as to how to be successful. . . . Highly recommended read.”
—Ashton Kutcher, actor, director, and technology investor
“Give and Take is a very interesting book. . . . I can’t put it down.”
—Ryan Seacrest, host of American Idol
“Give and Take just might be the most important book of this young century. As insightful and entertaining as Malcolm Gladwell at his best, this book has profound implications for how we manage our careers, deal with our friends and relatives, raise our children, and design our institutions. This gem is a joy to read, and it shatters the myth that greed is the path to success.”
—Robert Sutton, author of The No *sshole Rule and Good Boss, Bad Boss
About the Author
Adam’s TED talks have been viewed more than 20 million times. He hosts the chart-topping TED podcast WorkLife. His speaking and consulting clients include Google, the NBA, Bridgewater, and the Gates Foundation. He has been recognized as one of the world’s 10 most influential management thinkers, Fortune’s 40 under 40, Oprah’s Super Soul 100, and a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, and received distinguished scientific achievement awards from the American Psychological Association and the National Science Foundation. Adam writes for the New York Times on work and psychology and serves on the Department of Defense Innovation Board. He received his B.A. from Harvard and his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, and he is a former Junior Olympic springboard diver. He lives in Philadelphia with his wife, their two daughters, and their son.
- Publisher : Penguin Books; Reprint edition (February 7, 2017)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 352 pages
- ISBN-10 : 014312885X
- ISBN-13 : 978-0143128854
- Item Weight : 10.4 ounces
- Dimensions : 0.9 x 5.3 x 7.9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #7,097 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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“Originals" is an entertaining social-science book on how we can become more original. Referencing research and many studies, best-selling author Adam Grant explores what it takes to be creative and champion new ideas. This enlightening 335-page book includes the following eight chapters: 1. Creative Destruction, 2. Blind Inventors and One-Eyed Investors, 3. Out on a Limb, 4. Fools Rush In, 5. Goldilocks and the Trojan Horse, 6. Rebel with a Cause, 7. Rethinking Groupthink, and 8. Rocking the Boat and Keeping It Steady.
1. A well-researched, well-written book. It’s entertaining and fun to read.
2. Interesting topic, the social science of originality.
3. Very good format. Each chapter beings with a chapter-appropriate quote and it’s broken out by subtopics. Grant also does a good job of introducing the main goal for each chapter.
4. Does a good job of defining originality and staying on topic. “By my definition, originality involves introducing and advancing an idea that’s relatively unusual within a particular domain, and that has the potential to improve it.”
5. In many respects this narrative resembles books from the likes of Malcolm Gladwell and Daniel H. Pink and that’s not a bad thing.
6. The faults in defaults. “To get Firefox or Chrome, you have to demonstrate some resourcefulness and download a different browser. Instead of accepting the default, you take a bit of initiative to seek out an option that might be better. And that act of initiative, however tiny, is a window into what you do at work.” “The hallmark of originality is rejecting the default and exploring whether a better option exists.”
7. The odds are you will learn something that can be applied to your everyday life. “Regardless of political ideologies, when a candidate seemed destined to win, people liked him more. When his odds dropped, they liked him less.”
8. Interesting tidbits of knowledge throughout the book. “The word entrepreneur, as it was coined by economist Richard Cantillon, literally means ‘bearer of risk.’”
9. Debunks some myths or preconceptions that I carried. “Entrepreneurs who kept their day jobs had 33 percent lower odds of failure than those who quit.” “Having a sense of security in one realm gives us the freedom to be original in another.”
10. The barriers of originality. “The biggest barrier to originality is not idea generation—it’s idea selection.”
11. The book is loaded with examples and interesting characters. The story of the great inventor Dean Kamen is a highlight. “When it comes to idea generation, quantity is the most predictable path to quality.”
12. The limitations of originality. “Our intuitions are only accurate in domains where we have a lot of experience.”
13. An interesting and practical chapter on when to speak up and how to do it effectively. “Power involves exercising control or authority over others; status is being respected and admired.”
14. An interesting look at procrastination. Pioneers vs settlers. “Power involves exercising control or authority over others; status is being respected and admired.”
15. How to overcome barriers that prevent coalitions from succeeding. “To form alliances with opposing groups, it’s best to temper the cause, cooling it as much as possible. Yet to draw allies into joining the cause itself, what’s needed is a moderately tempered message that is neither too hot nor too cold, but just right.”
16. Interesting look at the impact of birth order as it relates to originality. “Laterborns were twice as likely as firstborns to support radical changes.” “The evidence on birth order highlights the importance of giving children freedom to be original.”
17. Observations to live by. “In general, we tend to be overconfident about our own invulnerability to harm.”
18. Some lessons on groupthink. “The evidence suggests that social bonds don’t drive groupthink; the culprits are overconfidence and reputational concerns.” “Bridgewater has prevented groupthink by inviting dissenting opinions from every employee in the company.”
19. The positive power of negative thinking. “Most people assume it’s better to be a strategic optimist than a defensive pessimist. Yet Norem finds that although defensive pessimists are more anxious and less confident in analytical, verbal, and creative tasks, they perform just as well as strategic optimists.”
20. A practical overview. “Actions for Impact”
1. Social science is not a hard science. Though fun, entertaining and even enlightening we engineers are skeptical of it.
2. Limited use of charts and diagrams to complement the excellent narrative.
3. Lack of supplementary materials. I would have added an appendix explaining methodology used to come up with conclusions.
4. References included but no direct links to access them in the body of the narrative thus eliminating one of the great advantages of eBooks.
In summary, this was a fun book to read. The first section of the book on managing risks involved in generating, recognizing, and voicing original ideas I felt was its strongest. The second section dealt with the choices that we make to scale originality. The third section dealt with unleashing and sustaining originality, and Grant closes the book on emotions. The biggest criticism of this book is the fact that social science is not a hard science so some of the conclusions come across as coincidental or speculative. Grant is a master of noticing patterns but I still have a little reluctance to take all at face value. Interesting nonetheless, I recommend it!
Further recommendations: ”Drive: The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us” by Daniel H. Pink, “Collaborate or Perish!: Reaching Across Boundaries in a Networked World” by William Bratton and Zachary Tumin, “Outliers” and “The Tipping Point” by Malcolm Gladwell, “Just Start” by Leonard A. Schlesinger, “Switch” by Chip and Dan Heath, “Get Lucky: How to Put Planned Serendipity to Work for You and Your Business” by Thor Muller and Lane Becker “inGenius” by Tina Seelig, “Work with Me” by Barbara Annis and John Gray, “Power: Why Some People Have It and Others Don’t” by Jeffrey Pfeffer, “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg, “Rebounders: How Winners Pivot from Setback to Success” by Rick Newman, and “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us” by Daniel H. Pink.
I hope this feedback can help decide if this book is for you too!
If you want an good book on creative and original thinking personally and from my family and friends I would highly suggest: 1) "Contagious by Jonah Berger, and 2) "Rejection Proof" by Jia Jiang. Great books by truly creative one-of-a-kind thinkers.
Top reviews from other countries
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