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Medici Effect: What You Can Learn from Elephants and Epidemics

3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  1,078 Ratings  ·  98 Reviews
Why do so many world-changing insights come from people with little or no related experience? Charles Darwin was a geologist when he proposed the theory of evolution. And it was an astronomer who finally explained what happened to the dinosaurs.
Frans Johansson's The Medici Effect shows how breakthrough ideas most often occur when we bring concepts from one field into a ne
ebook, 224 pages
Published August 20th 2014 by Harvard Business School Press (first published September 2004)
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Kelly Reid
Feb 19, 2014 Kelly Reid rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My disjointed notes from 2 and a half read-throughs.

17: Dawkins - Ideas are genetic. They propagate in the same way.

21: Seemingly unrelated concepts can almost always be combined in unexpected and potentially useful ways. Specialization has led to fragmentation of knowledge but the trend is reversing.

24: Cultural arbitrage an interesting source of inspiration.

26: We know enough about how the world works to transition from "how and why" to "X+Y".\

28: Financial systems run on similar algorithms as
marc Gottesman
In the middle of reading this, but 20 pages in and I get it already. Do I finish the book?

I get the point. But the writing is pretty uninteresting.
Scott Schang
Mar 14, 2012 Scott Schang rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book opened my eyes to innovation through the intersection of ideas and concepts from outside my specific area of expertise. Understanding that true innovation does not come from what is already known, but from what cannot be known, was something that really made an impact on me. After reading this book, I was compelled to begin looking at the perceived challenges in my own business through from a different perspective. I jumped into other industries and areas that I previously did not thin ...more
The concept of intersection of ideas is the main teaching of this book. It is full of very illustrative and interesting cases. To warp thing up, I found myself enjoying this book much more than what I was expecting.
Aaron Edwards
Oct 16, 2016 Aaron Edwards rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes we look for justification to continue to gather knowledge, especially when we are taxed already with what is on our plates...this book reminds us why it is worth it. I very much enjoyed it.
Susan Reed
Mar 30, 2014 Susan Reed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Excellent book. Great stories to back up new theory on creativity. Too bad the author limits himself to work and business ideas instead of a life philosophy.
It was mandatory for me to read this book for a class and a mandatory read is never as good as a read by choice but I was sorely disappointed by this book. Included below is a review I wrote for the class about this book.

Frans Johansson’s The Medici Effect attempts to identify the nature of innovation and advise readers on how to innovate. Though I found many faults with this book, I will not argue that this book is not interesting and valuable, because it is both. Johansson attempts to constru
Sep 29, 2016 May rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love love love the Author's framework of the concept of: Low Associative barriers.
Hate Hate Hate that the book devolves into final chapters of specialization vs. generalization. I think that's too easy for readers to miss the point.

On that which I love, the author does not only a great job of describing low associative barriers. I really took to this book, as I personally believe that anyone can be creative and it is our job as managers to inspire this skill. Oriet Gadiesh - who is written about
Paul Signorelli
The Intersection, Frans Johansson writes in "The Medici Effect: Breakthrough Insights at the Intersection of Ideas, Concepts, & Cultures," is that wonderful place where people from different fields of study or walks of life meet, share ideas, and walk away with far more than they could ever create alone. It’s where a Swedish chef who was born in Ethiopia combines ingredients in ways none have ever done before and puts a New York restaurant (Aquavit)—and himself—on the map. It’s where a young ...more
May 03, 2011 Pawan rated it it was amazing
This book needs a special mention because this was the first non-technical book after reading which I felt like sharing it with my professional colleagues. Till I read this book, I used to read for my personal pleasure and knowledge. But when I read this book, my first thought was to share it with others. I have over the years done discussions with my colleagues on this book but still I feel that I have understood very little part of the whole concept till now.

Wens Tan
Nov 16, 2008 Wens Tan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 25, 2008 Robert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Medici Effect: Breakthrough Insights at the Intersection of Ideas, Concepts, and Cultures
Frans Johansson
Harvard Business School Press

What is this book's core concept? The idea behind it is simple: "When you step into an intersection of fields, disciplines, or cultures, you can combine existing concepts into a large number of extraordinary ideas." Johansson achieves three specific objectives: He explains what, exactly, "the Intersection is and why we can expect to see a lot more of it in the
Feb 22, 2014 Jim rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
high expectations due to a trusted recommendation may have set my hopes to high, but i was disappointed. while clearly written and easy to read, the book's central thesis — that innovation happens at the Intersection (yes, he uses caps) — is so vague as to be meaningless. what is an Intersection and what sorts of things might Intersect? equally problematically, his defense of this thesis is weak. he largely argues from anecdotes and post-hoc narratives. given that fitting a narrative to a vague ...more
Jul 11, 2016 Ujjwal rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Medici" refers to a family in medieval Florence, who were great patrons of art, philosophy and other disciplines of knowledge. During their regin in Florence, several innovators from several different disciplines thronged Florence, and quite often they collaborated or gathered inspiration from each other to produce remarkable ideas and innovations. The book is about such innovations.

The book presents a very simple idea - Expand your mind. However, it is not about meditation. It is about a simpl
Jul 25, 2010 Simmoril rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have always been an enormous fan of what Frans Johansson calls "The Intersection"; the concept of taking knowledge in one area and applying it to another seemingly unrelated one. I enjoy reading and learning about a wide range of topics, and I've always dreamed of being able to find a new and interesting connection between them. So when I came across The Medici Effect, I knew right away that this was a book for me.

Frans Johansson's book walks through the major ideas behind the Medici Effect: w
Mar 19, 2009 Jerome rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jerome by: Bette
There are some good techniques and ideas discussed about creating and fostering ideas. But...

There is a serious and troublsome lack of acknowledgement of the risks that maybe associated with people seeking intersections. This book almost serves as an approval to intersection seeking individuals to venture into any area they please. There are some places, cultures, and people that have boundaries in place that do not allow for such intersection seeking intrusions. Not everything is a free for all
Jun 30, 2013 Eric rated it really liked it
I considered giving this book the full 5 stars. Full 5 stars is a rare thing for me, as it should be for anyone. I place "amazing" with a lot of other words that tend to be overused these days.

This book hit me just the right way at just the right time. It's got a lot of fascinating ways to look at things. Johansson talks about myriad different topics and ties them together. The architecture and game references caught my attention more than many of the others and I suspect that's part of what dra
Henri Quin
I borrowed this from a library, so I could not mark the pages that interested me. This is really crucial, if you want to know how good a book really was, so it is a book I have considered buying. I remember I was not as stunned by it as by his next book, THE CLICK MOMENT, which I have given away, rebought, reread, remarked, rethought about, read again and again, always focusing on the marked elements, but with each review, searching around the marked spots for context. We forget so much.

Dawn Lennon
Nov 14, 2014 Dawn Lennon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business
Creativity and innovation drive the success of businesses and have the capacity to advance civilization. This book looks at how that happens--through the intersection of knowledge, processes, and initiatives from diverse, unrelated disciplines. It's a concept that's been around but that doesn't take away from the insights of the book which need to be revisited routinely.

If there was ever a book that validates the need and value of diversity, it's this one. We so often get stuck in the upward tra
Mar 10, 2011 Terhi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
The Medici Effect is a book about innovation, creativity, courage and intersections. The author Johansson shows the reader what it takes to come up with breakthrough ideas, and how the greatest obstacles for doing this lay merely in our minds and are held tight by our own fears. Johansson explains about the barriers of our minds, he tells the stories of innovative people and does his best to encourage the reader to dare to step on the intersection when it occurs before him.

Johansson knows that h
Dec 11, 2015 Ben rated it really liked it
Shelves: business, innovation
I've been reading a few business books as of late. The Medici Effect is not only well written, but the themes and ideas are backed up with anecdotal stories which I related to (and I expect other readers to as well). As a whole, this book is the mortar to the bricks of common sense, other books on innovation and peer pressure. Well, maybe not peer pressure.

Hat's off to Johansson for focusing the concept of idea generation and execution and structuring it in a way that makes sense. All aspects of
May 26, 2009 Ee'ah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm familiar with the major contribution the Medici's gave to the renaissance, this is why the title caught my eye. This is not directly about the Medici's but indeed the structuring of the effect. I enjoyed this quick read it got a bit bland half way through. Though this was intended to be applied in the corporate & business realm; intersections can be applied to other dimensions of thinking & problem solving -- which is the nature of innovation.
As an artist I identified with it grea
Dec 08, 2010 MI2 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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Reuben Rail
As the book's subtitle states - "Breakthrough Insights at the Intersection of Ideas, Concepts, and Cultures" the "Medici Effect" delivers in a powerful way as author Johansson uses classic, and mostly current examples of how this type of innovation can happen.

He makes an interesting case for innovation, how to cultivate it, what deters it, and being able of the creating an 'intersectional innovation' and a more typical 'directional innovation'.

I enjoyed all the examples as well as how the variou
Adam Shields
Nov 11, 2011 Adam Shields rated it really liked it
Shelves: gave-up
Short review: This is an interesting book in the mode of Malcolm Gladwell or Chris Anderson. Johansson argues that all real innovation occurs at the intersection between two different fields of study. Darwin as a geologist used his insights to understand biological evolution. An astronomer created the concept of a asteroid killing off the dinosaurs. An architect with an interest in bugs created a building based on termite mounds in to reduce air conditioning costs.

Great ideas. Probably could hav
Matt Burgess
May 05, 2010 Matt Burgess rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very interesting and quick read about the approaches taken by certain organizations and individuals that breakthrough to the next as a result of innovation. The stories told in this book draw you into the promise that anyone can innovate, but is to a certain degree optimistic about the simplicity and ease of doing so.

I recommend this book to hardworking people that desire to work smart and effectively fully realizing that innovation is not the answer to their success, but may be the solution t
Jarkko Laine
Sep 01, 2008 Jarkko Laine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: aspiring innovators
This book can be summarized as a call to get out to the middle ground between two or more different fields of expertise - the intersections. Through interesting real-world examples, Johanson explains why this "gray area" is where innovation takes place, and why it is where you want to be.

While reading the book I noticed that pretty much after each page, I was thinking about my own career and life and using the tools presented in the book to make more sense out of them. So, The Medici Effect defi
Lauren Albert
One of my favorite non-literary books. A fascinating look at why crossing disciplines breeds creativity. In a class I took on digital publishing, speakers discussed the way digitization was enabling/increasing interdisciplinary thinking since it has become so much easier and more likely for a scholar/researcher to find themselves reading work from other disciplines. The result has been increased creativity, including in problem solving. throughout these discussions, I kept thinking about Johanss ...more
Phil Simon
May 31, 2013 Phil Simon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business
I loved the examples in this book and the research confirmed things I've read in other books (read: A Taste of Irrationality: Sample chapters from Predictably Irrational and Upside of Irrationality and Thinking, Fast and Slow

This is a brisk book; you can bang through it in a few days. I just wish that the author had gone deeper. It's about 185 pages, give or take. A 300-page book could have explained this effect a bit more. You might get more out of it if you haven't read some of the aforementio
Jul 03, 2010 Dustin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An enjoyable and quick read. The premise that innovation occurs when different fields collide seems well enough supported by anecdotal and some scientific evidence. However, I'm doubtful that this is the only way that innovation happens. I wish the author would have spent some time addressing innovation that was achieved without merging two different fields of expertise. With this said, it was still worth hearing how so many innovators used this technique.
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