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Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World Hardcover – February 2, 2016

4.4 out of 5 stars 219 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


New York Times non-fiction bestseller
Maclean’s Non-Fiction Bestseller

Praise for Originals:

“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 Grant is Wharton's top-rated teacher. He has been recognized as one of HR's most influential international thinkers, BusinessWeek's favorite professors, the world's 40 best business professors under 40, and Malcolm Gladwell's favorite social science writers. Grant was tenured at Wharton while still in his twenties and has been honored with the Excellence in Teaching Award for every class he has taught. His first book, Give and Take, was a New York Times bestseller translated into twenty-seven languages and named one of the best books of 2013 by Amazon, Apple, the Financial Times, and the Wall Street Journal--as well as one of Oprah's riveting reads, Fortune's must-read business books, Harvard Business Review's ideas that shaped management, and the Washington Post's books every leader should read. His speaking and consulting clients include Google, the NFL, Merck, Goldman Sachs, Disney Pixar, the United Nations, and the U.S. Army and Navy. He serves as a contributing op-ed writer for the New York Times and was profiled in a cover story by its magazine. Grant earned his Ph.D. in organizational psychology from the University of Michigan and his B.A. from Harvard. He is a former junior Olympic springboard diver and magician.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Viking (February 2, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525429565
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525429562
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (219 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #343 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Book Shark TOP 500 REVIEWER on February 11, 2016
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant

“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.”
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It took me a while to get around to Adam Grant's first book, Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success, but it turned out to be life-changing. Now I tell everyone about it and even host a monthly free favor exchange event based on its principles. So I was stoked to get my hands on "Originals." Besides being an enjoyable read, full of insider case studies of true revolutionaries, it's also a life-affirming book for all the creative folks out there who think they're just not good enough to go big.
For example, Grant makes the case for the upside of procrastination. Did you know that Leonardo da Vinci didn't get his big break till his mid-40s and was a world-class procrastinator, tinkering with the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper for over 15 years? Or that Martin Luther King Jr didn't write his "I have a dream" speech until the night before, and then winged its most memorable parts?
All these stories make the business of originality not the domain of the chosen, but something more human and approachable. Steve Wozniak had to be pried away from his job at HP with a crowbar to co-found Apple. Larry Page and Sergey Brin head the highest-valued company in the world because they failed at selling Google for $2M early on. These were not prescient demigods but people who made good and bad decisions just like us.
Grant is a master at telling these stories of Promethean feats, sound judgment and serendipity, extracting from them the essence that we can apply to our own lives. One example: when starting a new venture, hedging your bets with a real job actually works better than dropping everything and going full cowboy.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
My personal bias—I love the work that Adam Grant does. So, read no further if that bothers you about my objectivity as a reviewer. Grant, a young, uber-smart and engaging professor at Wharton, might just be the latter-day Peter Drucker, only much cooler! In Originals, Grant teaches us how to develop new ideas and how to vet them; how to pitch those ideas to others; when to trust our gut and when not to; the difference between power and status and so much more! He also busts some interesting myths like how successful entrepreneurs are not hyper-risk takers—rather, they hedge their bets; how the creative problem solvers are often not experts in their fields; and, how procrastination can be your friend—every writer in the world should now rejoice! Grant uses academic studies, stats and stories from unexpected places to punctuate a well-orchestrated text. For example, he tells about how the show “Seinfeld” barely made it to TV and how it took a very special NBC executive with broad, varied experience to have the courage to put his reputation on the line. And as a huge Seinfeld fan, I personally salute him! Finally, I would encourage you to read Sheryl Sandberg’s foreword, because not only does she do a very good overview of the book while praising the author for his talent, but she also praises Grant for his empathetic heart. When Sandberg’s husband suddenly died, Grant dropped what he was doing and flew across the country to be with her in her darkest hours. Grant, like his book, is an Original!
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Format: Hardcover
This is a book which is very readable, flows well, and sticks to the theme of how non-conformists move the world. The book resonates with stories and examples to make each point. In some cases, the examples are around a particular success story. In other cases, the examples are around research efforts. The combination of the two lends both credibility and a convincing approach for people who might like a story over research or vice-versa.

"Originals" is full of counter-intuitive ideas from the conventional wisdom as well as re-packaging some conventional wisdom. Some key points that resonated for me were:
- For U.S. Presidents, the least effective leaders were those who followed the will of the people and the precedents set by their predecessors; the greatest were those who challenged the status quo and brought about sweeping changes that improved the lot of the country
- When pitching a new, novel idea, it is more effective to accentuate the flaws in your idea; it disarms and lets people know you’re not a brainless advocate
- Our best allies on original ideas can be the ones who started out against us and then came around to our side
- It is hard to change other people’s ideals; it is much easier to link our agendas to familiar values that people already hold
- It is best to vet ideas with a group and get dissenting opinions and talking them through before launching a big effort; dissenting opinions are useful even when they’re wrong

Rather than using examples in the book, I thought of my own examples to either support or poke holes in the findings. For instance, on the presidents, as I thought through history, I agree that those following the opinion poll may have been popular, but didn't introduce sweeping improvements.
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