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Rebel Talent: Why It Pays to Break the Rules at Work and in Life Kindle Edition
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"Francesca Gino is one of the world's most productive and creative socialscientists. And with this book, she shows that she's also one of themost persuasive. She makes a powerful and convincing case that lettingloose our inner troublemaker can open up new vistas of creativity andproblem-solving power." (Daniel H. Pink, New York Times bestselling author of Drive)
"Great stories, great science, and great practical advice about how, when, and why to break the rules." (Angela Duckworth, New York Times bestselling author of Grit)
"This marvelous and mischievous masterpiece shows us how to creatively rebelwithout getting into (too much) trouble. Francesca Gino's splendid weave of stories and studies unpacks why, when, and how to break the rules in order to do more successful, challenging, and original work." (Robert Sutton, New York Times bestselling author of The Asshole Survival Guide, Scaling Up Excellence, and Weird Ideas That Work)
"Francesca has a very personal and self-aware approach to bridging the gap between the social norms that glue us together, and the acts of challengingthose norms. The rebellious approach has led to great advances, and italso has led to abuse. She pushes us to allow for people who challengewhat we do, but with a grounding in thinking about the use of power andstatus in our businesses and in our lives." (Ed Catmull, President of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios)
"Francesca Gino is the best kind of rebel: the one who doesn't just break therules, but invents a better way. In this enthralling, carefullyresearched book, she shows you how to become one--and unleash the innerrebel in others too." (Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Originals, Give and Take, and Option B with Sheryl Sandberg)
"'To make an omelet, you gotta break some eggs' is easy advice to give. Much more difficult is crafting a clear recipe--which eggs, when, how,blended with what?--for greatest success at it. Yet, this is preciselywhat Rebel Talent does for the process of breaking the rulesoptimally. As a result, I just ate it up." (Robert B. Cialdini, New York Times bestselling author of Influence and Pre-Suasion)
About the Author
- File Size : 836 KB
- Publisher : Dey Street Books; 1st edition (May 1, 2018)
- Publication Date : May 1, 2018
- Language: : English
- ASIN : B071HD8589
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print Length : 309 pages
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced Typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #177,921 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I happen to know a little about rebels. I wrote protest poetry in high school in the 60’s:
“Live and let live why can’t they let us be
For them youth is a sin for which we all must pay.
Expecting of us to conform to the rules of their society
That state freedom but strike down those who think and say”
Having seen my share of rebels including the Abbie Hoffman type. You know the one who wrote “Revolution for the Hell of It.” I found something missing at the very beginning and that was an understanding of types of rebels. The very reason for rebelling.
There are those that rebel because there is an injustice with no other options. Some for themselves, justifiably, and others because they see injustice perpetuated. Then there are those like Abbie Hoffman and Donald Trump that rebel because they can—having no consideration of who it might hurt or the damage it might cause.
One quick example comes to mind shutting down the government and furloughing 800,000 federal works and 400,000 federal contract workers. (By the way the federal contracts ate the brunt of the shutdown—no repayment for lost pay.)
What do you call 800,000 federal workers and 400,00 federal contractors out of work—budding democrats! ;-)
Trump casually goes to Mar-a-Lago and plays golf after he finally declaring national emergency.
The crime rate from aliens can’t compare to a month of stats from Chicago—mostly home-grown violence.
I had trouble with some of Francesca’s heroes such as Napoleon and Blackbeard. It’s hard to imagine after a day’s pillaging, killing, and looting that he went back to an casual meeting and respected the feelings of his entire crew.
While there are probably things we can glean from Napoleon and Blackbeard, I’m not interested in spending a lot of time there—just as I wouldn’t want to spend time learning about leaders of Russia or Saudi Arabia (Their values aren’t humane.)
Some of the stories like the one on Captain Sully and Chef Bottura were fascinating and inspiring.
While I do believe in diversity I didn’t not like the author’s machine gun use of statistics. I tend to doubt the conclusion of text with massive statistics.
I also didn’t glean any sage bits of wisdom for coping with working life. I've been a government contractor for the last 10 years.
In general, I found it too scattered to be an inspirational source.
Harvard Business School Professor Francesca Gino, author of Rebel Talent, Why it Pays to Break the Rules at Work and Life, makes a compelling case for being a Rebel. You can think of being a Rebel as two ends of the spectrum of human behavior. On one end is what typically comes to mind when we think of being a Rebel – the negative, anti-social behavior. On the other end is the positive, progressive, super achievers. Ms. Gino focuses on the positive benefits of being a Rebel Talent.
Napoleon Bonaparte and Blackbeard the pirate very successfully used the concepts advocated in Rebel Talent. We get to view both men from very different perspectives. Mr. Nightingale based his advice on anecdotal evidence. Napoleon and Blackbeard acted on instinct. Ms. Gino has done extensive study on the behaviors of Rebel Talent and presented data driven evidence on why such behavior will benefit our work and life.
Ms. Gino is an exceptional story teller. Her writing is highly entertaining, insightful and engaging. All the lessons and concepts are developed and told in story format. In one of the stories in the book, she relates about her visit to Pixar Studios. One of the executives was discussing the ways to keep the audience engaged. He said if the audience can see where the plot is going, they tune out. We need novelty and surprise in our work, relationships, and communications.
There are many important lessons in the book – all based on real life examples and backed by research. You will get to meet and learn about many different people - Massimo Bottura, owner of an Italian restaurant which has won the coveted Michelin 3 Stars rating. Pal's fast food chain that has found a way to relieve the boredom for its employees. Doug Conant, CEO responsible for the turnaround at Campbell Soup. And many others.
One of the more valuable lessons centers around the benefits of diversity. We tend to associate with people who think like we do. But that leads to "group think" and often results in less than optimal performance.
In the chapter prior to the conclusion, Ms. Gino summarizes the lessons from the book into “8 Principles for Becoming a Rebel Leader”. There is an extensive Notes section at the end of the book. In addition, she provides a wealth of additional information on a website created for Rebel Talent.
The numerous stories and examples could arguably be a good selection for a course that discusses these materials, but ex-ante teaches the frameworks outside of the book. Maybe it’s the HBS case study method that is the source of the format of this book?
Top reviews from other countries
You are likely operating in commodity hell and are part of the middle. You are probably also part of the 80% whose romantic or close relationship is more often than not, a cause for worry and frustration rather than energy and joy. You might be part of the 68% of workers that do not feel involved in, is not enthusiastic about, and not committed to their jobs. You cost your employer 22 per cent less profit and 21 per cent less productivity.
Want to perform 200% better?
For organisations, the lack of employee engagement negatively affects quality, productivity, customer satisfaction, and financial outcomes. According to a study by Dale Carnegie Training, for of dollars are lost each year to employee turnover, and companies with engaged employees outperform those with employees who report lack of engagement by over 200 per cent.
You are miserable, and the company you work for is losing buckets of money. One way to help yourself and help your company is to become a rebel. Consciously choosing not to conform. Nonconformity enhances not only our professional lives but your personal life as well. Nonconforming behaviours (such as expressing true preferences in social circles rather than going along with the majority opinion) improves your happiness in your day-to-day interactions. Giving the power back to yourself. Power is typically associated with a lack of constraint, and we think of powerful people as generally having the freedom to behave as they wish.
Following the “yes”, instead of the “no”. Breaking the status quo bias, the brules, the beliefs (read “The code of the extraordinary mind”), the rituals, the traditions. Breaking rules will enrich every aspect of your life. Living life like a rebel is energising. In fact, the traditions and rituals you encounter in your organisation and in society often endure out of routine, rather than as the result of thoughtful deliberation. You are doing everyone a favour.
You need to do five things
The first is to seek novelty, seeking out the challenge and the new.
The second is to be curious, the impulse we all had as children to constantly ask “why”?
The third is to widen your perspective. Rebels have the ability to constantly broaden their view of the world and see it as others do.
The fourth is to seek diversity, the tendency to challenge predetermined social roles and reach out to those who may appear different.
The fifth is to be authentic, which rebels embrace in all that they do, remaining open and vulnerable in order to connect with others and learn from them.
Create excitement. It will be good for your relationship too. A recent study of one hundred couples found that those who engaged in activities that both members deemed exciting for at least ninety minutes per week for four weeks reported higher levels of happiness and relationship satisfaction. The effect lasted at least four months. Surprisingly, novelty is more important than stability.
Comfort is overrated. Go for exploration rather than exploration. Efficiency version innovation. Exploration, or looking for and identifying new ideas and ways of doing things, involves risk-taking, experimentation, flexibility, play, discovery, and innovation. Exploitation, in contrast, involves improving and refining existing products and processes through efficiency, selection, implementation, and execution.
Exploitation often crowds out exploration.
What do you need to do as a company
Hire writers, poets, and other intellectuals.
Hire what are known as “T-shaped” employees (the depth of knowledge and skill needed and inclination for collaboration across functions, which consists of two aspects: empathy and curiosity).
Encourage curiosity. Curiosity was associated with a greater creative productivity; a one-unit increase in curiosity (e.g., moving from a score of 5 to 6 on a 7-point scale) was associated with a 34 per cent increase in productivity.
Run your company on questions, not answers
Start meetings with Why?” and “What if?
Apply the “go back method,” which asked employees to go back and question the common assumptions we all tend to hold about goals, roles, and the organisation as a whole.
Apply counterfactual thinking.
Promote intellectual humility. Do not forget the experience of being inexperienced.
Have a diverse workforce. A 2009 analysis of data from 506 firms found that those with greater gender or racial diversity had higher sales revenue, a greater number of customers, and higher profits. Adding an outsider actually doubles a group’s chance of solving a mystery correctly, from 29 to 60 per cent.
Allow your people to be authentic. The more inauthentic we feel, the higher our stress, the lower our sense of well-being, and the more prone we are to burnout. Inauthenticity also works as a drag on motivation. Authenticity gives us the courage, energy, and confidence we need to rebound from negative experiences.
Focus on your staff’s strengths rather than their weaknesses. According to Gallup research, people who use their strengths daily are six times more likely to get satisfaction out of their job and report less stress and anxiety. Research by the Corporate Leadership Council found that when managers focus on an employee’s weaknesses, his or her performance declines by 27 per cent, whereas a focus on strengths boosts performance by 36 per cent.
Ensure everyone is truthful and allowed to speak out. Candour is the key to effective collaboration,
Create ideas advocates.
Create devil’s advocates charged with poking holes in the decision-making process.
Look for people that disagree with you.
Allow for creative tension. In the creative process, tension and conflict need to be embraced for good ideas to emerge. A sense of conflict triggers exploration of novel ideas.
Define your purpose when we feel that the work we do matters, our dedication deepens.
Change your organisation structure (read “Reinventing organisations”). Organisations that lack steep hierarchies are sometimes called “flat organisations.” The author prefers “rebel organisations.” A rebel organisation—be it a pirate ship or a restaurant like Osteria Francescana—exemplifies the rebel talent. It avoids the traps of routine and complacency. Read “Breaking bad habits”.
Everyone a rebel!
Embrace novelty, curiosity, perspective, diversity, and authenticity. What is fascinating, though, is what binds all these “talents” together: They are all paths to engagement. When our attention is focused, we reach a state of absorption and time passes quickly. The handwritten notes also likely made a difference. When we receive expressions of gratitude, we are more likely to persist when the road gets tough. As energy and mental resilience increase, we experience vigour. At their core, rebels are engaged. They have abundant energy and mental resilience, they invest in their work and in their personal relationships, and they persist even when the road gets tough. They have an emotional connection with what they do.
Managing rebels has leadership challenges. Here are the rules
1. Seek out the new
Adriano Olivetti extended lunch breaks so that workers could eat lunch for an hour and then “eat culture” for another hour. Guest speakers included philosophers, writers, intellectuals, and poets from across Italy and the rest of Europe. If workers preferred to read, they could visit the factory library, which was stocked with tens of thousands of books and magazines. Meanwhile, the company prospered. This embrace of the arts by people in two very different lines of work demonstrates the first principle of rebel leadership: Always look for the new. The rebel is voracious, with interests that are wide-ranging. A new interest does not need a justification, for it might lead to a larger insight down the road.
2. Encourage constructive discontent
One of the most remarkable details about President Kennedy’s management of the Cuban Missile Crisis was what he sought from his advisors: disagreement. First, each member would take the role of a “sceptical generalist,” approaching a given problem in its entirety, rather than focusing only on one department’s perspective (usually their own). Second, to encourage freewheeling conversations, the members would use settings free of any formality, with no specified procedures or formal agenda to follow. Third, the team would be divided into subgroups that would work on different options and then come back together to discuss them.
3. Open conversations, do not close them
The point of plussing is to improve ideas without using judgmental language. You add to, or “plus,” what has been said.
4. Reveal yourself and reflect
Leaders understand the power of showing themselves—and knowing themselves.
5. Learn everything than forget everything
The legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden would open the first practice of every season by having his players practice putting on their socks and lacing their shoes. Master the fundamentals, Wooden figured, and the team would prosper.
6. Find freedom in constraints
When we are faced with constraints, we dedicate our mental energy to acting more resourcefully and doggedly, and surpass expectations—or better. Research examining how people design new products, cook meals and even fix broken toys finds that budget constraints increase resourcefulness and lead to better solutions.
7. Lead from the trenches
The best way to lead is from the trenches. Rebel leaders are comrades, friends, and fellow enthusiasts. Napoleon would not have spent all his time in the executive suite. Chef Bottura is often found sweeping the streets outside his restaurant, unloading deliveries, and cleaning the kitchen. In Navy SEAL teams this hands-on philosophy is ingrained in candidates from the first day of training. Indeed, naval officers are taught to lead by example in everything they do. You’ll find them at the head of the pack during runs and swims.
8. Foster happy accidents
Know the value of happy accidents. They believe in workspaces and teams that cross-pollinate. A mistake may unlock a breakthrough.
9. Do more
What seem like tangents, or doing extra, or helping someone when it seems that there is no time, become paths to a more vibrant life. Doing more gives us more. People who give more time feel more capable, confident, and useful.
The book combines some of the lessons of “Legacy”, “Fusion” and “The subtle art of not giving a f.ck”. The key message is that you need to unleash the rebel in yourself and your organisation. If you do so, the result can be amazing. I leave you one last thought. There is no such thing a rebel-AI (yet). Being a rebel will make you more future proof and definitely happier.
Embrace the rebel!
There are several authors of this genera that I had read with interest and that always gave me a new perspective or a condensed and accessible summary of a vast range of scientific papers, such as Nate Silver, Matthew Walker, Daniel Kahneman, Daniel Goelman and even if as outsider, Nassim Taleb.
Dr Francesca Gino tried to follow this trend in alternating anecdotes and research, but in this case the science is in support of anecdotes rather than the other way around.
Scientific resources disseminated in the books are difficult to access (in the kindle edition) due to lack of foot-notes, but this is not the main issue. The worst part, and the reason why it deserves a star, is that literature is cherry-picked to support the anecdotes that turns into personal perspectives and opinions. The studies against the vision of the writer are totally ignored.
Probably I was expecting a different scientific rigour in addressing the study of a wide range of social behaviours, but even when getting at the main topic the rebel attitude is often stereotyped, and always considered superficially, despite the writer is advocating for it. Through the anecdotes, rebellion is a confused idea, never disentangled from hard work, skills, responsible behaviour, curiosity or creativity.
If interested in the rebel talent, would suggest instead "The Equation That Couldn't Be Solved" by Mario Livio (by accident another Italian origin writer... no conflict of interests here!!).