Originals - Adam Grant

Originals - Adam Grant

What is the secret of original people? Is creativity an innate quality or an ability that can be stimulated or even learned?

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Adam Grant uses in his book “Originals” a variety of real-world studies and stories (business, sports, politics, and entertainment) to prove that you can improve your creativity, your ability to defend ideas and to identify them as well. Like, what thoughts are circulating creative minds.

From the perspective of the pioneers, you will see the challenge of making the world a better place. And also which thoughts surround creative minds. He explains which strategies and skills you must develop to create innovative solutions.

In addition, Adam shows what kind of behavior and mindset you should have to not be discouraged in this world with such pressure and resistance to the new.

Did you get interested in learning all those lessons and cases of success to be more motivated? Stay with us in this book summary!

The book “Originals”

“Originals”, released in 2017, was written by Adam Grant and teaches successful techniques used by professionals who dared to ride the tide and push their projects forward.

According to The Financial Times:

“Recent research, insights that go against common sense, catchy writing, clear actions to put into practice… Adam Grant deserves his reputation as an original mind.”

Who is Adam Grant?

Adam Grant, born in 1981, is recognized as one of the 10 most influential management thinkers in the world by Fortune Magazine.

In addition, he has been Wharton’s highest-rated professor for seven consecutive years, a University of Pennsylvania business school of business administration. Its courses are among the best in the world.

Adam Grant is the author of three bestselling books of The New York Times, which sold over one million copies and were translated into 35 languages. They are Give and Receive, “Originals” and “Plan B” (in partnership with Sheryl Sandberg).

Why should I read “Originals”?

With this work, you will find strategies for unlocking and sustaining originality. As a leader who cultivates a culture contrary to group thinking, as a parent who wants to stimulate the creativity of his children, or as a teacher who wants to encourage the creativity of his students.

What can I learn from “Originals”?

  • Original means: single or singular thing, a person who is different from others in an attractive or interesting way. Individual with innovative initiatives and inventive ability;
  • What distinguishes originality is the rejection of the conventional and the investigation into the existence of better options;
  • The chance of producing an influential or successful idea is directly proportional to the total number of ideas generated;
  • Procrastination can be especially creative when it leads us to problem-solving in times of diffuse attention.

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[Book Summary] Originals - Adam Grant

The risky business of swimming against the current

In 2008, four students (mired in debt) were outraged at the exorbitant prices for changing their glasses. One had not replaced them for more than five years, even after the ophthalmologist’s recommendation had changed twice.

With this in mind, the students decided to revolutionize the eyewear market by making them more affordable, but it was necessary to overcome a company that owned over 80% of the US market.

Their idea was to open a website for selling glasses online. With each glass purchased, another would be donated to a resident of a developing country.

However, the boys received a lot of criticism: “Who would buy glasses over the internet? Because you have to try them first”, “if it was a good idea someone would already be selling”.

Despite hearing that the venture was crazy, the company was founded.

Warby Parker was its chosen name. The initial goal of the students was to sell a maximum oftwo glasses per day. However, they hit their annual target in less than a month and were called by GQ magazine “Netflix of the glasses”.

In 2015, Warby Parker, with 500 employees, was ranked as the most innovative company in the world by Fast Company Magazine. Giants Apple, Nike, and Google were the previous champions, with more than 50,000 employees each.

After five years, the four friends managed to build one of the hottest brands in the world. Warby Parker was then valued at over $1 billion and had annual revenues of $100 million.

According to George B. Shaw:

“The sensible man adapts to the world, the foolish man insists on trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the foolish.”

How to master the art and science of recognizing original ideas?

When it comes to creativity, people tend to be overconfident and this can be a problem. Social scholars know this very well. Let's look at some of your findings:

  • High school seniors: 70% said they had above-average leadership, while 2% said they were below average. As for the ability to relate to others, 25% believe they are in the top 1% group and 60% are in the top 10%;
  • Professors: 94% claim to hold an above-average job;
  • Engineers: in two different companies, 32% and 42% were among the top 5%;
  • Entrepreneurs: when 3,000 small business owners evaluated the chances of success of different companies, they rated their own businesses on average 8.1 out of 10, while similar businesses took 5.9.

In creating an idea, Adam Grant says that we are often too close to our own taste to judge it properly, as well as far from the taste of the target audience. We are flooded with a sense of victory and overcoming the obstacle.

As Brandon Tartikoff, former president of the NBC entertainment division used to say:

“No one comes here with an idea they think is bad.”

According to the author Adam Grant:

 “To some extent, entrepreneurs and inventors have to be overly confident in the chances of success of their ideas. Otherwise, they would not have the emotional fuel to carry them on.”

But not only that, even after being aware of public taste, there is what psychologists call the confirming tendency: inventors end up focusing on the qualities of their ideas and disregarding defects.

So to maximize your chances of creating a successful idea,increase the number of ideas you create.

For example, according to the list of the 50 greatest works of classical music, chosen by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Mozart has six compositions, Beethoven has five and Bach has three.

Mozart has created over 600 works throughout his life, Beethoven has composed over 650 and Bach over a thousand. In other words, the more productions, the greater the chances of success.

Never leave for tomorrow what you can leave for the day after tomorrow

Parents and educators have always told us to start doing our tasks early rather than leaving it to later. In the world of self-help, there are numerous works aimed at eliminating procrastination, as well as a large niche.

In our personal and professional lives, we are constantly being told that the key to success is to act quickly. But does doing an activity in advance guarantee that it will be done as well as possible?

According to Grant:

“Procrastination can be the enemy of productivity, but also an ally of creativity. In Ancient Egypt there were two different verbs for the idea of procrastination: one denoted laziness, the other meant waiting for the right moment.”

Of course, there are advantages to getting things done quickly. But Adam’s studies of the originals show us that there are more disadvantages to being first and acting fast.

A peculiar example of procrastinator is the famous Leonardo da Vinci. Da Vinci is considered one of the most original inventors in history, his creations involved painting, architecture, anatomy, engineering, sculpture, music, geology, botany, mathematics and cartography.

The Mona Lisa painting, according to researchers, was not painted at once: da Vinci spent about 15 years painting it.

Even with procrastination continually bothering him, Da Vinci knew that creativity could not be rushed. He understood that:

“Geniuses sometimes do more when they work less because they are thinking of inventions and forming the perfect idea in their minds.”

Books about creativity and innovation

Eric Ries in The Lean Startup explains that it is important that the word “innovation” be understood widely. These can be original scientific breakthroughs, a new use for existing technology, creation of a new business model, among others.

In Creativity, Inc, Ed Catmull should always prioritize people over ideas because creative people create good ideas, but good ideas can be destroyed by bad teams.

In the recommended Everybody Matters, the authors Bob Chapman and Raj Sisodia explore how true leaders must continually study to develop and develop those around them so that they can also become excellent leaders who believe and value people.

How can I apply the ideas from “Originals”?

If you’re looking to unleash the currents of originality, here are some practical tips shared by Adam Grant that will help you:

  • Question conventional knowledge: instead of assuming the status quo is right, ask why it exists in the first place. When you consider which rules and systems were created by people, it is clear that they are not unquestionable – and you now consider ways to improve them;
  • Triple the number of ideas you have: just as great baseball players only hit the ball every three attempts to hit it, all innovators try and miss. The best way to strengthen your originality is to produce more ideas;
  • Immerse yourself in a new area of knowledge: originality increases when you broaden your frame of reference. One possible approach is to learn a new skill;
  • Procrastinate strategically: when generating new ideas, take a scheduled break before you are done. By disrupting the brainstorming or writing process in the middle, you are more likely to consider divergent views and give ideas the necessary incubation time;
  • Get more feedback from colleagues: for the most accurate criticism, submit your ideas to colleagues. They are the best option to identify potential and possibilities than you imagined.

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Originals - Adam Grant