3.65 out of 4 stars.
Move over Malcolm Gladwell! We have a new business sociologist in town. Only this time he is a little less dense with his points of interest. This is a refreshing change of events for a reader that likes to not only learn but ENJOY while learning and reading.
Adam Grant takes on the idea of Originality (if you couldn’t tell by the direct title). Through the chapters, Grant finds way to entice the readers with success stories that were NOT accomplished by the social norm.
Right off the bat we are introduced to the background on the eye accessories brand, Warby Parker. This group of guys was cut down from the beginning when they created this idea in college. Everyone was saying if they wanted to make something big they would have to make it their full-time job and quit school. This is what the norm has been – “grinding” and “hustling” with no distractions like an education. However, the WP founders begged the differ. They were not interested in a high risk execution that left them making rash decisions in the heat of desperation. Instead, they wanted to take their time and have a back up plan with a degree in case Warby didn’t work out. Grant pointed out the good things that can come from sticking with your gut and running a business the way that makes you comfortable. Don’t do anything out of the idea, “this is how it has always been done”. I write this post wearing my own Warby Parker Mallory glasses that I was able to purchase for 95 dollars instead of the 550 dollar glasses that my ophthalmologist was trying to sell me so I would like to say thank you to the guys that believed they knew what was best and stayed true to themselves.
“Originals” is jam-packed with cases like the above. The way I read it was that it was written for anyone that feels like they not only want to be creative in their concepts for a business but also the ways they want to run it. For example, Grant tells us about an investment business in Connecticut by the name of Bridgewater Associates. Although the business idea of an investment company is not anything new, the way that Ray Dalio runs it is a unique situation.
Ray Dalio encourages his employees to have open dialogue regarding performance and it doesn’t matter which level you are. For example, if an entry-level position employee is in a meeting that one of the Vice Presidents is presenting in and it is not going well than the entry-level position employee has the right to email the Vice President and let them know their concerns. Of course this goes against the grain that in a work environment we should not be making waves and calling people out on their setbacks, especially if they are our superior. However, Dalio insists that open communication and dialogue is the only way to improve a worker and make them more well-rounded. Without constructive feedback than workers will just keep making the same mistake. Similar to the Warby Parker founders, Dalio is a success story on his own terms and this may contribute to why he is worth 12.5 billion dollars because he sticks to what he believes is right even if others are pointing him in the opposite direction.
Overall, this is a promising concept of a book to read up on because it is saying that the underdog has a chance and the future belongs to those that are not interested in the blue print of success.
As someone who adores self-help and personal development books I have run into the problem a lot while reading these types of books that I am finding a lot of interesting points but it was a struggle to get through the dry content to get the takeaways. I was pleasantly surprised that Grant was able to write in a way that was fun, to the point and brought up a lot of relevant and current stories.