Originals | Adam M. Grant

Summary of: Originals: How Nonconformists Move the World
By: Adam M. Grant


Dive into the world of originals, those nonconformists who break barriers and change the world with innovative and unique ideas. In this summary of Adam M. Grant’s ‘Originals: How Nonconformists Move the World’, discover how anyone can become an original thinker. Learn how to harness your creativity, why quantity and quality are intertwined, and why sometimes, procrastination can lead to better results. Gain insights on strategies to make your ideas stand out, overcoming rejection, and finding the right supporters who will help bring your original ideas to life. Get ready to embrace your uniqueness and unleash your inner original!

The Power of Originality

In “Originals,” author Adam Grant argues that anyone can become an original by taking the initiative to turn their unique vision into a reality. Originals are those who dream up novel ideas and take action to shake up the status quo. Michael Housman’s research discovered a surprising link between problem-solving abilities and job longevity. Employees who installed browsers other than the default Internet Explorer were more likely to take initiative, confront challenges, and find new solutions, allowing them to stay in their jobs 15% longer than those who used built-in browsers. To become an original, one must overcome the fear of taking action and standing up for their ideas. This process requires courage and determination to push for change. Anyone can put new ideas out there and improve their work, communities, and relationships.

Quantity and Quality in Idea Generation

The importance of generating a large quantity of ideas to produce great ones is exemplified by the works of creative geniuses. Psychologist Dean Simonton’s research shows that those who produce more work have a higher probability of developing a small handful of brilliant ideas. Even geniuses can’t predict which of their works will become timeless classics. Therefore, generating a large volume of work is crucial in unlocking one’s creative potential. However, taking breaks and relaxing can also be beneficial in the creative process.

Procrastination – Friend or Foe?

The notion that procrastination is anathema to productivity is challenged in this article. Procrastination, rather than blocking creativity, can encourage improvisation. The article points out that Martin Luther King Jr’s “I have a dream” speech was partially improvised due to procrastination. The Zeigarnik effect, which keeps our minds open to new ideas and insights, is also discussed. It is argued that leaving tasks unfinished can result in better outcomes since it leaves room for the brain to come up with breakthrough ideas. Finally, the article cites examples of historians and inventors who deliberately procrastinated so they could explore new ideas, experiment with techniques, and eventually produce works of brilliance. The author argues for procrastination as a key strategy for generating original ideas while making gradual progress.

Winning People Over

Learn how honesty and openness about the shortcomings of your ideas can help you win people over.

Are you tired of getting negative feedback on your seemingly brilliant ideas? It may not be that your ideas are flawed, but rather that you are not approaching them in the right way. A study conducted across various sectors showed that employees who frequently voiced their ideas to their superiors were less likely to receive promotions or pay raises. This may be because presenting ideas that threaten the status quo can be perceived as a threat to one’s business career and network.

However, there is a way to present your ideas that can attract people to your cause. Surprisingly, admitting the shortcomings of your proposals can work wonders in winning people’s trust and support. This approach was taken by the entrepreneur couple behind Babble, an online parenting magazine and blog network. Rufus Griscom and Alisa Volkman were open about the website’s shortcomings and needed improvements during presentations to potential investors. This honesty paid off, as investors were charmed and impressed by their approach, leading to Babble’s successful funding and acquisition by Disney.

In conclusion, being honest and open about the shortcomings of your ideas can help you win people over to your cause. Don’t be afraid to admit the flaws in your proposals, as doing so can demonstrate your integrity and make people more likely to trust and support you.

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