Release year: 2016

Author: Adam Grant

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Link to my handwritten notes


Here’s an original book, to say the least. I must be honest, at one point I thought of giving this one a ๐Ÿ‘Ž. It was too all over the place, I thought. It didn’t seem to focus on its subject matter: who are originals, where do they come from, and how they work to make the world a better place.

My initial reaction was most surprising to myself, considering the book sits at 4.5 stars on Amazon with a very respectable 6,993 ratings. Now that I have finished it and let the dust settle, my opinion of the book softened a bit. Maybe it’s me who wasn’t paying enough attention to the thread that was tying the book together. When I decided to review the book based on the star quotes I got, and forgetting about the expectations I had coming in, I realized that I did enjoy the book enough to recommend it.

Just make sure to enter the book with an open mind. After finishing The 48 Laws of Power , I was expecting another deep dive into the history of originals and the physics of how they improve the world. What I got was a book that gave many ideas about how to better listen to originals, whoever they may be.

Fรฉlix rating:

โญ Star quotes

  1. (p. xii) A friend is someone who sees more potential in you than you see in yourself, someone who helps you become the best version of yourself.
  2. (p. 38) You gotta kiss a lot of frogs before you find a prince.
  3. (p. 51) To be successfully original, an invention needs to be new – but it also has to be practical.
  4. (p. 58) It’s rare the originality comes from insiders, especially when they’re as entrenched and comfortable as the optical industry.
  5. (p. 59) Instead of limiting access to the ideas ans leaving it up to managers to decide which ones to pursur and implement, make suggestions completely transparent in a collaborative document (e.g. Google Docs). Everyone in the company can read them, comment on them online, and discuss them in a bi-weekly meeting.
    • This means that ideas are evaluated not only by managers, but also by fellow creators who tend to be more open to radically novel ideas.
  6. (p. 59) To give employees some guidance on which suggestions represent strategic priorities for the company, managers vote the promosing ones up and the bad ones down. To avoid false positives and false negatives, the votes aren’t biniding. Technology teams can overrule managers by selecting a request that didn’t receive a lot of votes and work to prove its value.
  7. (p. 67) As you gain respect for your efforts, you gain idiosyncracy credits: the latitude to deviate from the group’s expectations.
  8. (p. 74) The easier it is to think of somethiing, the more common and important we assume it is. We use ease of retrieval as information.
  9. (p. 91) If we could do things over, most of us would censor ourselves less and express our ideas more.
  10. (p. 112) Work like a sculptor modelling in clay who never accepts any form as final but goes on creating, even at the risk of obscuring his original intentions.
  11. (p. 141) Originality is what everybody wants, but there’s a sweet spot. The goal is to push the envelope, not tear the envelope.
  12. (p. 152) By adopting the parenting practices that are typically applied primarily to younger children, we can raise any child to become more original.
  13. (p. 167) Explanations for our impact on others are most likely to have a lasting effect if they’re coupled with a statement of principles. “She’s crying because she wants to play with your toys” doesn’t do much good alone; the more meaningful statement is: “She’s crying because she wants to play with your toys, and in this family we always share.”
  14. (p. 169) People are more likely to clean up when asked to be helpers instead of asking to help.
  15. (p. 190) No one has the right to hold a critical opinion without speaking up about it.
  16. (p. 201) Argue like you’re right and listen like you’re wrong.
  17. (p. 205) The main purpose of values is to help people choose between conflicting options. The relative importance of multiple values guides action.
  18. (p. 242) “I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world.”