OriginalsPosted: October 18, 2016
Adam Grant teaches business at the Wharton School, the business school of the University of Pennsylvania. His previous book was Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success.
In Originals, Grant discusses how nonconformists achieve success and drive innovation. He discusses how behaviors you might think are the most successful may not be the best approach.
He describes how the founders of online eyewear maker Warby Parker took the safe route. They didn’t quit their jobs or drop out of college to devote to full time to their startup. The left themselves with a fallback position. Grant also describes how procrastination can often produce better results than barreling right ahead.
Grant explains how sexism is still pervasive in many industries: “In an international bank and a health-care company, I found that voicing new revenue-generating ideas led to higher performance evaluations for men, but not for women. Other studies show that male executives who talk more than their peers are rewarded, but female executives who engage in the same behavior are devalued by both men and women.”
There is a long discussion of “horizontal hostility.” This is when groups with similar goals waste energy fighting each other, such as happened in the suffragette movement. Grant explains how younger siblings are treated differently by their parents than older siblings and are more likely to take risks. That is certainly the case in my experience. My brother engaged in flying gliders and scuba diving when he was younger, activities I would never consider.
Originals is a fascinating study of nonconformity and innovation.