Considered one of this generation’s most ‘provocative thought leaders’, Adam Grant explores how individuals with great ideas get ‘discovered’, their own human foibles (like you and me) and their persistence to act anyway!
In pointing out some flaws that plague most creative minds, Grant suggests that we’re typically “too close to our own tastes…to evaluate it accurately” or what psychologists call confirmation bias where we focus too much on the strength of our ideas and ignore the limitations. What we deduce here is that as ORIGINALS if we aren’t reliable judges of the quality of our ideas, we may best maximize the odds of creating a masterpiece by creating a large number of alternatives, so that a greater volume of work allow for a higher chance of hitting on one for originality!
In the book’s Foreword Facebook’s CEO, Sheryl Sandberg refers to Grant as the Informed Optimist and we can see why as he explores the Sarick Effect with full confidence. Here, Grant talks about putting ‘your worst foot forward’ – a theory developed by social scientist, Leslie Sarick. We learn how Rufus Griscom pitched his online mag and blog, Babble to venture capitalists by giving top 5 reasons why not to invest in his business. This counterintuitive approach brought in $3.3 m in funding … and that was just the beginning! The lesson here is that most of us have been taught the reverse: how to emphasize our strengths and minimize our weaknesses. According to Grant, that mindset works when our audience is supportive, like let’s say community activists. But when presenting to venture capitalists, who are looking to poke holes in your arguments you may want to start by ‘doing it yourself’…right!! According to Grant “leading with weakness disarms the audience”
Another counterintuitive concept that Grant explores is one where procastination can be conducive to originality; meaning that by delaying work that needs to be done, you buy yourself time for more divergent thinking rather than foreclosing on one particular idea! All well and good for those who may not be in the copy room where your editor is breathing down your neck to meet press deadlines!
Using a stream of familiar tag lines such as “Fools rush In”, “Out on a Limb” and “Rebel with a Cause” as chapter headlines, Grant delves into themes such as timing, procrastination, mentors and devils advocates to hammer home thoughts on drawing our better creative instincts. His final chapter on Actions for Impact is indeed a call to action for readers (and inventors) bent on making their original ideas rise to the top. So whether you’re planning the next community rally or a sales pitch for your invention, Originals is certainly a must read for you!