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Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World

August 18, 2016

Author Adam Grant discusses how non-conformists find success by being daring, embracing innovation, and knowing when to break the mold.

For years we’ve been told to follow directions—to not stray from tradition—in order to succeed. In school, we were fed routine, encouraged to go with the flow. In our careers, we’re given best practices because “that’s what works.” 

You’d never expect to be told to question the norm or laugh in the face of tradition when it comes to business decisions. But that’s exactly what Grant challenges us to do in his book, Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World.

Originality the Solution

Grant proves to be a captivating thought leader throughout this relatable book. With the help of research studies and anecdotes derived from the worlds of politics, sports, and entertainment, he advances the idea that being original improves one’s chances of success. Grant, through the lens of an “outside-the-box” thinker, is driven by the challenges of social responsibility and refining the world.

How can we create original ideas? How can we establish new policies and procedures? How do we transform the world without gambling away the future? Grant proposes that originality is the solution. 

Losing Yourself in Sameness

Grant touches on a variety of topics aimed at being original and non-conforming:

> Recognizing brilliant ideas

> Voicing opinions

> Identifying and building a supportive team

> Managing fear and doubt

> Choosing the appropriate time to act

> Instilling originality in kids

> Establishing a culture that welcomes difference of opinion

He also uses various real-life examples to support his stance. For instance, research shows that people who use default internet browsers, like Internet Explorer, are unlikely to question management, offer new ideas, or look at different angles. On the other hand, people that take the time to find and use alternative browsers, like Chrome, are more apt to be innovative. 

To further validate these findings, Grant conducted his own research. In it, he found that customer service representatives who utilized alternative browsers were more satisfied with their jobs, and more successful. 

Grant also tackles the idea of sameness stifling originality. Using what he calls “middle status conservatism”—the more comfortable you are, the less creative you are—he suggests a strong connection between creativity and “risky” business decisions and behaviors. 

Conversational and captivating, Grant pulls you in as if he’s sharing a witty, intellectual tale at your dinner table. Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World will push you to confront the barriers that shield you from being a creative thinker.

Read Originals, and unleash the change leader that lies within.