ORIGINALS – Adam Grant
ORIGINALS - How Non-Conformists Move The World
By Adam Grant
Date Read: June 2020
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My Mark: 9/10

An interesting take on how Originals (leaders really) manage to get their idea through, end the Staus-Quo and Change people and the world. A perfect complement would be Think Fast & Slow


The Pitch:

“Reading Originals made me feel like I was seated across from Adam Grant at a dinner party, as one of my favorite thinkers thrilled me with his insights and his wonderfully new take on the world.” —Malcolm Gladwell, author of Outliers and The Tipping Point

Originals is one of the most important and captivating books I have ever read, full of surprising and powerful ideas. It will not only change the way you see the world; it might just change the way you live your life. And it could very well inspire you to change your world.” —Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and author of Lean In

With Give and Take, Adam Grant not only introduced a landmark new paradigm for success but also established himself as one of his generation’s most compelling and provocative thought leaders. In Originals, he again addresses the challenge of improving the world, but now from the perspective of becoming original: choosing to champion novel ideas and values that go against the grain, battle conformity, and buck outdated traditions. How can we originate new ideas, policies, and practices without risking it all?

Using surprising studies and stories spanning business, politics, sports, and entertainment, Grant explores how to recognize a good idea, speak up without getting silenced, build a coalition of allies, choose the right time to act, and manage fear and doubt; how parents and teachers can nurture originality in children; and how leaders can build cultures that welcome dissent. Learn from an entrepreneur who pitches his start-ups by highlighting the reasons not to invest, a woman at Apple who challenged Steve Jobs from three levels below, an analyst who overturned the rule of secrecy at the CIA, a billionaire financial wizard who fires employees for failing to criticize him, and a TV executive who didn’t even work in comedy but saved Seinfeld from the cutting-room floor. The payoff is a set of groundbreaking insights about rejecting conformity and improving the status quo.



In the following sections I will quote Adam’s key summary of the main lessons in the book so if you skim read through all my takeaways, please at least read these ones if you are interested in ever becoming an original yourself.

Actions for Impact - Individual Actions:

“A. Generating and Recognizing Original Ideas”
“1. Question the default.”
“2. Triple the number of ideas you generate.”
“3. Immerse yourself in a new domain.”
“4. Procrastinate strategically.”
“5. Seek more feedback from peers.”

“B. Voicing and Championing Original Ideas”
“6. Balance your risk portfolio”
“7. Highlight the reasons not to support your idea.”
“8. Make your ideas more familiar.”
“9. Speak to a different audience.”
“10. Be a tempered radical.”

“C. Managing Emotions”
“11. Motivate yourself differently when you’re committed vs. uncertain.
“12. Don’t try to calm down.”
“13. Focus on the victim, not the perpetrator.”
“14. Realize you’re not alone.”
“15. Remember that if you don’t take initiative the status quo will persist.”

Actions for Impact - Leader Actions:

“A. Sparking Original Ideas”
“1. Run an innovation tournament”
“2. Picture yourself as the enemy.”
“3. Invite employee from different functions and levels to pitch ideas.”
“4. Hold an opposite day.”
“5. Ban the words like, love, and hate.”

“B. Building Cultures or Originality”
“6. Hire not on cultural fit, but on cultural contribution.”
“7. Shift from exit interviews to entry interviews.”
“8. Ask for problems, not solutions.”
“9. Stop assigning devil’s advocates and start unearthing them.”
“10. Welcome criticism.”

“Parent and Teacher Actions:”

“1. Ask children what their role models would do.”
“2. Link good behaviors to moral character.”
“3. Explain how bad behaviors have consequences for others.”
“4. Emphasize values over rules.”
“5. Create novel niches for children to pursue”