Originals: How Non-Conformists Change The World – by Adam Grant

How strongly I recommend it: 6/10
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When you think you know how something works, you are probably wrong. That’s the case of this book. Originals: How Non-Conformists Change The World by Adam Grant shows in a new perspective how some people achieve originality and what are the common patterns of this process.


There are two routes to achievement: conformity and originality. Conformity means following the crowd down conventional paths and maintaining the status quo. Originality is taking the road less traveled, championing a set of novel ideas that go against the grain but ultimately making things better.
Originality itself starts with creativity: generating a concept that is both novel and useful. But the key point is that originals are people who take the initiative to make their visions a reality.
Once people pass an intermediate level in the need to achieve, there is evidence that they actually become less creative.
To be an original you need to take radical risks. Successful originals take extreme risks in one arena and offset them with extreme caution in another.
The biggest barrier to originality is not idea generation–is idea selection.
When we’ve developed an idea, we’re typically too close to our own tastes–and too far from the audience’s taste–to evaluate it accurately.
The odds of producing an influential or successful idea, are a positive function of the total number of ideas generated.
The most prolific people not only have the highest originality; they also generate their most originality output during the periods in which they produce the largest volume.
When it comes to idea generation, quantity is the most predictable path to quality.
Our firsts ideas are often the most conventional–the closest to the default that already exits. It’s only after we’ve ruled out the obvious that we have the greatest freedom to consider the most remote possibilities.
To be successfully original, an invention needs to be new–but it also has to be practical.
The more successful people have been in the past, the worse they perform when they enter a new environment. They become overconfident, and they’re less likely to seek critical feedback even though the context is radically different.
You don’t have to be first to be an original, and the most successful originals don’t always arrive on schedule. They are fashionable late to the party. Delaying progress enable them to spend more time considering different ways to accomplish something.
Procrastination may be the enemy of productivity, but it can be a resource for creativity.
The most experiments you run, the less constrained you become by your ideas from the past.
It’s hard to change other people’s ideals. It’s much easier to link our agendas to familiar values that people already hold.
If you hire people who fit your culture, you’ll end up with people who reinforce rather than challenge one another’s perspective. When hiring, seek for candidates that can improve the culture.