- Hardcover: 304 pages
- Publisher: Viking (August 29, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780525429135
- ISBN-13: 978-0525429135
- ASIN: 0525429131
- Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 39 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #156,917 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Power of Onlyness: Make Your Wild Ideas Mighty Enough to Dent the World Hardcover – August 29, 2017
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“The Power of Onlyness is a book for our times. . . . we wonder if we, as one person amidst [the] din, can make a difference. We wonder if one step will truly add up, over time, to a thousand or a million steps toward progress. The Power of Onlyness says yes, emphatically, and we couldn’t need that kind of encouragement more. . . . Just as Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence, or E.Q., eventually became a widely used phrase describing what was previously thought of as a ‘soft’ personal quality . . . onlyness has the potential to change the way we think about people and the ideas they generate. . . . Merchant is asking us to look less at types of people, as Goleman did, or groups of people, as [Susan] Cain did, and instead appreciate the individual as having a unique perspective that no one else can claim. From that position, your ideas are unique to you . . . . Merchant isn’t calling for a cacophony of voices, disparate and competing. Her book is not about individualism as much as it is about community. . . . Merchant forces us to dig deep, into the book and ourselves, and it goes beyond self-knowledge and self-empowerment, obliterating the fear of otherness with an understanding of the onlyness of us all. The Power of Onlyness calls us to identify what is good in ourselves and to connect with what is good in others so that, together, we can indeed dent the world.”
—Sally Haldorson, 800-CEO-READ (staff pick)
“No longer do we need to worry about how our ideas will be judged. By showing us how to mobilize communities around our ideas, Nilofer Merchant shows us why and how we can elevate the power of our ideas to limitless heights unfettered by conformity.”
—Amy Cuddy, author of Presence
“With The Power of Onlyness, Nilofer Merchant passes all three tests of a masterpiece: 1) memorable stories; 2) actionable insights; and 3) urgent relevance to now!”
—Tom Peters, author of In Search of Excellence
“Merchant discovers her onlyness when she walks out on an arranged marriage. At first, she doesn’t know what to call it but a lifetime of encouraging men and women to summon the best of themselves teaches her how to nurture it—in herself and others. Now we need her empowering work more than ever. Onlyness doesn’t mean you work alone; but you train yourself, sometimes against the odds, to recognize your own value and increase your chance of finding allies!”
—Sherry Turkle, author of Reclaiming Conversation and Alone Together
“With captivating stories and keen insights, Nilofer Merchant urges us to cast aside conformity and embrace our own unique identity and purpose. The Power of Onlyness is a bold, inspiring book that will leave you feeling infused with power and ready to take on the world.”
—Dan Pink, author of Drive and To Sell is Human
“Nilofer Merchant’s spectacular gift is to make tangible what we already feel to be instinctual: the power of the individual alongside the power of a community in the service of one idea can change the world. But Nilofer also explains what may not feel so instinctual: that all of us have the capacity to create change, no matter our social, racial, gender or economic status. This book is one of the most hopeful pieces of writing I’ve read in a long time. Nilofer defines and explains the value of individuality and collaboration in equal measure. It’s a true celebration not just of humanity but of all the possibilities we can accomplish together.”
—Stacy London, style expert, TV personality, and author of The Truth about Style
“For any would-be activists who hear the voice: ‘not me’ or ‘not now,’ Merchant makes the strong case for ‘yes you’ and ‘yes now’—and even shows you how to jump in.”
—Van Jones, host of CNN’s The Messy Truth, author of Rebuild the Dream and The Green Collar Economy
“This is an illuminating book about the context in which great, world-changing ideas emerge and take root, with stories and insights galore.”
—Eli Pariser, co-founder and co-CEO, Upworthy
“The Power of Onlyness is the wake-up call that the world needs so badly right now. It's a reminder that, quite simply, we all matter. That each perspective has inherent value. That each person's unique vantage point is literally a position of power. That each voice matters, and should be used. Be warned: after reading this book, you won't be able to ignore that voice again. You will be compelled to speak up and to use it, in bigger, bolder, louder ways than ever before.”
—Jessica Jackley, founder of Kiva
“An exhortation to raise one’s freak flag, dust off that notebook full of plans and dreams, and set up shop. . . . The best of Merchant’s case studies illustrate the operating principles of cultural difference and the power of persistence in getting things done.”
“Merchant encourages her readers to embrace their uniqueness in this self-help guide for would-be innovators. She begins by asserting the importance of identifying one’s purpose, or what she calls ‘the dent,’ and then tells her readers how to find theirs. . . . Next, Merchant encourages her readers to find ‘co-denters,’ those people who can help you amplify your message. Finally, she urges readers to galvanize others to act . . . Merchant asserts that trust is rewarded . . . and delivers an inspiring message about the power of believing in one’s dreams.”
About the Author
Nilofer Merchant is the author of two previous books and is ranked by Thinkers50 as one of the world’s leading thinkers. She has personally launched more than 100 products, netting $18B in sales, has worked for companies ranging from Apple to Autodesk and advises many others. Her visionary ideas have been recognized by The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Financial Times, Fast Company, Fortune, Marie Claire, Vogue, O: The Oprah Magazine, Harvard Business Review, Bloomberg, CNN, Time, and Mashable. Her 2013 TED Talk “Sitting Is the Smoking of Our Generation,” is in the top 10 percent of TED’s most viewed talks.
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We all matter, and inside of our collaboration and individuality, there is a greatness to be had, discovered and introduced to the world. We CAN all make our wild ideas mighty enough to dent the world.
Some take away quotes:
Onlyness: your signature concoction of what matters to you, gives you clarity of purpose and enables you to focus on what matters. That is your path forward.
Existing power and status frameworks act as self-reinforcing loops, keeping the status quo, the status quo. Stand in the spot that only YOU can stand in. Then meaningfully connect with others so that you (and your ideas) finally have a new pathway.
The protagonist does not wait for permission to lead, innovate or strategize, but does what is needed and right for the group as a whole, without regard to his / her own status.
The “power of us” is not the sheer number of members in any group, but the bonds between them, such as curiosity, vulnerability, the ability to handle conflict.
We must signal our passions and seek our allies.
We must give ourselves permission to have an original idea, even when no one else is advocating for it.
We’re going to have to honor the onlyness of ALL people we meet along the way - especially when we disagree with them.
We must reframe the questions people pose, and change the conversation to find new ways through.
We must learn how to lean on one another to build trust and scale our ideas.
We must learn how to galvanize those who might not experience what we know to be true by showing them value.
We must engage people to work with us, not by telling them the answers but by pointing toward a new horizon.
The Power of Onlyness is the book I wish I had years ago. In my younger adult years, I always dreamed about making a meaningful difference in the world, but I always subconsciously counted myself out of the game because doing things like traveling to and living in third world countires was never a feasible option for me. Had I heard about Nilofer's concept of "onlyness" back then, I probably would have focused less on what everyone else was doing and placed greater trust in my own ability to serve.
What Nilofer does in The Power of Onlyness is make an extremely convincing case that ANY one of us can contribute to our communities when we take full ownership of our unique positioining in the world and take action based on those insights and/or ideas that only we have.
I was quite skeptical to pick up this book because there are so many books out there in this category that lack substance. I am really, really glad I gave The Power of Onlyness a chance. The book is a very thoughtful read and if you are the social change type, I highly recommend picking it up. It might change your life.