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Book Review: Originals by Adam Grant

Updated: Jun 21, 2023

Adam Grant is an “out of the box” thinker. He is an organizational psychologist, a leading expert on how we can find motivation and meaning, rethink assumptions, and live more generous and creative lives.

Perhaps it is not surprising that his first book, Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World, is a captivating deep dive into the mindset and habits that enable individuals to break free from conventional thinking and make a lasting impact.

This book is filled with “out of the box” thinking and ideas that dispel our cultural beliefs regarding procrastination, failure, leadership, and parenting. For example, take Grant's perspective on procrastination: he argues that procrastination can be a valuable tool for creative thinkers. By delaying the start of a project, individuals allow their minds to incubate ideas and explore alternative solutions. Original thinkers are more likely to procrastinate but use the extra time to generate breakthrough ideas and achieve better results.

Another important point Grant makes is regarding our collective fear of failure. He says that originals don’t run from failure but face it head-on. Taking calculated risks and learning from disappointment are essential components of the original mindset. Those who embrace failure as a steppingstone to success can push boundaries a lot further.

In leadership, Grant emphasizes the importance of creating a culture that encourages dissent and open dialogue. By valuing diverse perspectives and creating psychological safety, leaders can inspire everyone to challenge existing norms and contribute innovative ideas. Grant highlights successful organizations that have embraced this approach and shows how their openness to dissent has driven growth and success.

Grant also dispels the notion of the lone genius. He highlights that collaboration and building diverse networks are crucial for originality. Through collaboration, individuals can combine different perspectives and skills, leading to innovative breakthroughs. Grant showcases various examples, such as the invention of the airplane by the Wright brothers and the partnership between Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.

For those of us who are parents and educators, Grant presents a way to foster children's curiosity and emphasizes the importance of allowing children to develop their own unique interests and pursue unconventional paths. By encouraging independent thinking and valuing children’s ideas, we can raise a generation of original thinkers who will shape the future.

This is a book that you will keep coming back to as you nurture your own original thinking. By diving into what makes an original thinker, Grant offers everyone a way to be comfortable with being a different voice in the room, trust your ability to create and contribute to this world.

You can find Originals: How Non-Conformists Move The World by Adam Grant here:

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