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Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries

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What do Apple CEO Steve Jobs, comedian Chris Rock, prize-winning architect Frank Gehry, the story developers at Pixar films, and the Army Chief of Strategic Plans all have in common? Bestselling author Peter Sims found that all of them have achieved breakthrough results by methodically taking small, experimental steps in order to discover and develop new ideas. Rather than believing they have to start with a big idea or plan a whole project out in advance, trying to foresee the final outcome, they make a series of little bets about what might be a good direction, learning from lots of little failures and from small but highly significant wins that allow them to happen upon unexpected avenues and arrive at extraordinary outcomes.
          Based on deep and extensive research, including more than 200 interviews with leading innovators, Sims discovered that productive, creative thinkers and doers—from Ludwig van Beethoven to Thomas Edison and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos—practice a key set of simple but ingenious experimental methods—such as failing quickly to learn fast, tapping into the genius of play, and engaging in highly immersed observation—that free their minds, opening them up to making unexpected connections and perceiving invaluable insights. These methods also unshackle them from the constraints of overly analytical thinking and linear problem solving that our education places so much emphasis on, as well as from the fear of failure, all of which thwart so many of us in trying to be more innovative. 
             Reporting on a fascinating range of research, from the psychology of creative blocks to the influential Silicon Valley–based field of design thinking, Sims offers engaging and wonderfully illuminating accounts of breakthrough innovators at work, including how Hewlett-Packard stumbled onto the breakaway success of the first hand-held calculator; the remarkable storyboarding process at Pixar films that has been the key to their unbroken streak of box office successes; the playful discovery process by which Frank Gehry arrived at his critically acclaimed design for Disney Hall; the aha revelation that led Amazon to pursue its wildly successful affiliates program; and the U.S. Army’s ingenious approach to counterinsurgency operations that led to the dramatic turnaround in Iraq. 
             Fast paced and as entertaining as it is illuminating, Little Bets offers a whole new way of thinking about how to break away from the narrow strictures of the methods of analyzing and problem solving we were all taught in school and unleash our untapped creative powers. 

224 pages, Hardcover

First published April 5, 2011

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Peter Sims

15 books19 followers

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 253 reviews
Profile Image for Laura Gembolis.
461 reviews43 followers
December 7, 2011
Some take-aways that I appreciated:
- Ask people what they think before you have a professional looking model. Create something out of cardboard or duct tape (everyone's favorite). People feel more free to make recommendations or give honest input when they see it's a work in progress.

- When people provide feedback, there's no penalty. Create an atmosphere where it's okay to disagree. Humor is key. Too bad I'm not funny.

- Success hides problems. (This makes a lot of sense to me)

- When going somewhere big, find the small piece to focus on. It makes it easier to prioritize and complete projects. It also allows for a flexibility.

- Create mixed tables. Sims calls it cross-functional teams or teams with a variety of people attached to the project.

- Don't ask people what they want; they don't know. Create something, get feedback, adjust, get feedback, adjust. As interest grows, users will have feedback and major changes will be made.

I liked this book for it's acknowledgement that big vision needs a starting place. And that starting place should be a low risk. The bigger the roll out, the more difficult it is to respond to feedback and alter the direction.

As for the writing, too often, I read something in the current business genre that feels like an extended blog. The idea may not actually warrant a book, but somewhere along the way it became one. This is a quick and easy read that for the most part fills the book with content.

In some ways, I think this book comes at things from an opposite place of Gawande's The Checklist Manifesto (another book that trumped my assumption of being an extended blog masquerading as a book). In the Checklist Manifesto, Gawande writes about how to execute complicated procedures often in emergency situations. Checklist attempts to take what we do know and organize it in a manner for greatest success. Little Bets is taking what we don't know and organizing it for greatest success.
Profile Image for Clif Hostetler.
1,074 reviews711 followers
April 26, 2013
The "little bets" referenced by the book's title are low-risk actions taken to discover, develop, and test an idea that represent a potentially better way to do something. Numerous low-risk trials can allow appropriate mid-step adjustments and changes that can improve the prospects of success. Failures that occur along the way can be accepted as positive feedback that point toward a change in direction or perhaps ending the proposed venture before large financial losses are experienced.

There's really nothing all that new in the concept of little bets. It's actually describing the logical approach to new ventures whether in one's personal life or in business. What is new in this book are the stories, examples and cases used to illustrate the concept in a variety of domains and differing perspectives. The author's journalistic skills in reporting on these examples make the book an interesting and entertaining read. The following are some of the examples cited in this book:
- The humor publication The Onion
- Stand-up comedian Cris Rock
- Amazon.com's Jeff Bezos
- Film company Pixar and Steve Jobs
- Micro lending developed by Muhammed Yunu of Grameen Bank
- Television newscaster Tim Russert
- Architect Frank Gehry
The book's narrative follows a circular pattern where many of these examples are repeatedly revisited in subsequent chapters as they are viewed from different points of view. Forty percent of the book is taken up by notes and index. The Notes section includes some fairly lengthy elaborations which are interesting stories in themselves.
Profile Image for Marc Brackett.
Author 8 books203 followers
June 2, 2013
This was a fascinating little book. It pulls from numerous studies, books, and real life examples to make a most convincing case.

Overlooked I think were the differences between self identified lucky and unlucky people. The study had the two groups count the number of pictures in a newspaper. It took the unlucky group on average 2 minutes while the lucky group finished the task in seconds. What could possibly explain the difference in performance? Turns out on page two which had a picture that took up half the page had a very large caption underneath it, "Stop counting, there are 42 pictures."

The subtle hint is that unlucky people are that way because they focus on the problem to the extent of ignoring obvious solutions. It would seem it is possible to make your own luck. The solution would appear to be taking a bigger view of things and fully engaging with whatever you are doing versus narrowing your focus and rushing through things.

The other missed message seems to be creativity and great ideas are not instant products as the story on a model Microsoft employee showed. Richard Tait went through some very dark periods (years) before a seemingly routine activity (board gaming with another couple on a rainy day)triggered the moment of connection. Cranium has since sold millions.

In all cases there is an openness to question the existing order and not get caught up in the imperfections of what is being created. It's also not surprising that most of these people shared what could be called a diverse educational background (formal or informal)- no Warren Buffets in this crowd. I think a good follow up read after this one would be The Renaissance Soul Life Design for People with Too Many Passions to Pick Just One
Profile Image for Evan.
6 reviews3 followers
August 24, 2012
If you are the kind who actively seeks out advice on how to succeed, you won't be surprised at the advice Peter Sims has given. I most certainly was delighted by how having the mindset is so vital in succeeding in your endeavors.

In this book, there are a few mindsets, namely
1) Making little bets so that you can make big bets
2) Cultivating a growth mindset - To deal with failure / obstacles
3) Being proactive - Proactively failing so that you can learn faster
4) Knowing how to play - To make each other look good by 'plussing', and stop inhibiting ideas from flowing
5) Getting wide social networks and actively learn from them
6) Finding small social networks to test out your ideas
7) Actively seeking small wins to build yourself up.

Creating these mindsets sound so simple, but simple doesn't mean easy. It isn't easy to bounce back from failure just like that. It is a habit to develop. One needs to be aware that you need these mindsets in your consciousness. It is far too easy for one to read and forget about it, because there isn't deliberate practice to enforce these concepts.

If there is anything one should take away, it is that this book is lasting. It isn't for you to read and throw away, but it is a constant reminder for you whenever you need a direction to point the way in life. Keep reading it, and if possible, internalize it such that it becomes a part of you, and not in a superficial way.

After taking a good focused 2 weeks to read this book, I'll safely say that it is enduring and it will follow me throughout my life!

Disclaimer: It can get tempting to breeze through the book and skip the meat to see what else the author has to say. Please don't. Enjoy the meat and savor it to get its full essence.
29 reviews5 followers
February 13, 2013
I finally read another book. I'm really proud of myself. It only took a month to get through 160 pages.

Anyways, though, this book's fine. I like the attitude of books like this, though the content never really set me on fire -- this guy seems to have interviewed like 6 subjects and just reintroduces them constantly, especially Pixar. (Every chapter, each of which teaches a supposedly different lesson, will have a moment like "....FOR INSTANCE AT PIXAR" or "...REMEMBER AT PIXAR WHEN..."). The message of, you know, small bets, fail quick, etc., all good stuff, but the truth is that one must also make huge bets, too, sooner or later. Amazon chose to gamble it all on books, whether or not they then made marginal adjustments; Starbucks on coffee; Pixar on movies. Little bets help us get there, but we gotta bet bigger eventually.
Profile Image for Ian Stewart.
53 reviews8 followers
October 18, 2018
Lively, short book on creativity, risk-taking, feedback, and making successful products. Loved it. Really encouraging.
Profile Image for Jagadish.
10 reviews65 followers
December 25, 2018
This book little bets view our experience of things in a new way .
How can errors produce perfection?How can failure fuel ambition?How can confusion enhance creativity?
The answer: little bets.
The little bets approach is about using negativity to positive effect. If your plans fall apart, refine them; if you don’t know where best to begin, just begin somewhere. Every decision is a risk: take a chance and see what happens.
Little Bets is based on the proposition that we can use a lot of little bets and certain creative methods to identify possibilities and build up to great outcomes. At the core of this experimental approach, little bets are concrete actions taken to discover, test, and develop ideas that are achievable and affordable.
Experiment: Learn by doing. Fail quickly to learn fast. Develop experiments and prototypes to gather insights, identify problems, and build up to creative ideas.
Important concept discussion
Two basic types of innovators, which he calls conceptual and experimental. Affordable loss concept
Growth mindset
Healthy and unhealthy perfectionism
Failing forward
Subtle control
Waterfall method
Smart guy syndrome
Worm’s eye view
openness to experience.
Profile Image for Corina.
133 reviews6 followers
September 8, 2016
This book collects a lot of design thinking principles together under the umbrella of "little bets," i.e. prototyping and the "fail early and often" idea. There are basically just a few case studies that get brought up repeatedly (Pixar, The Sketches of Frank Gehry, Chris Rock) but a smattering of interesting other research comes up too. Like how lucky people actually just are more open-minded/observant. So it's Malcolm Gladwell -esque but the fact that I found myself most skimming is a sign that it's less insightful/engaging than one might hope.
19 reviews
January 29, 2018
I was hoping for more of a framework, but after reading this book it turns out that I was already doing a lot of what the author was talking about and that the framework he recommends is essentially a twist on Agile development and small iterations. Oh well, at least I didn't buy this when it was brand new and full price.
Profile Image for Dan Mantena.
60 reviews2 followers
January 15, 2022
Little bets are low investment actions/ideas that have the potential to drive new creative innovation using a non-linear workflow that relies on:
1. frequent and intense feedback from market users
2. rapid optimization for what works and what does not (based on feedback)
3. deep play

my rating - overall Score: 1.8/5.0
- quality of writing (3/5)
- quality of the content (1/5)
- impact on my perspective (3/5)
- personal resonance (2/5)
- rereading potential (0/5)

Quality of writing - is the topic covered in the right amount of words? Tangentially related, is the book paperback? how smooth are the pages on my fingers? how visually pleasing is the font? can I hold the book in my hand for an extended period without my shoulders cramping up?!

Quality of the content - how rewarding was the material? did the reading help concentrate my mind and reduce attention residue from work?

Impact of my perspective - did the book cause me to re-visit my core values for adjustment?

Personal resonance - did I feel more connected to other people?
Profile Image for Boni Aditya.
307 reviews886 followers
November 17, 2017
The book is good, it is well structured. It has good reasoning, good research behind it and it is true about taking little risks while attempting to reach some huge goal. But, the book fails to create the WOW effect! I am happy that the author kept it short - with less than 250 pages - some authors pull it to 600 odd pages only because they can!

The concept is pretty straight forward, this was explained to my in a famous folklore of Indian History.

Alexander was Invading India, i.e. he was at Punjab and was hesitant to enter. A young prince - Chandra Gupta Maurya was dethroned after his father was killed in battle by the Nanda kings and is taken into tutelage by the greatest scholar that has ever lived in India - Chanakya - who was humiliated in open court by Nanda kings and he sought to take revenge by destroying the kingdom. Chandra Gupta Maurya and Chanakya created a huge network of spies, who disguised themselves as saints. Chanakya, at the strike of midnight on an auspicious day attacked the Nanda Dynasty Capital, and as expected was severely defeated, losing all his men, murdered in cold blood in the pitch black night by the mighty Nanda Army. Chanakya and Maurya barely escaped with their lives and covered up their wounds and went from one village to the next to escape the wrath of the Nandas who's spies were searching with an intent of kill ASAP. They halted for a night stop and sat before a home and begged for food. The woman in the house, welcomed them and poured a thick porridge into their plates right out of the hot boiling pot. As she did this, she also put the porridge into her kids plate. The kid was extremely hungry and was happy to put his hand into the porridge and cried out loud in pain as the heat from porridge stung his fingers which were dipped into it. The the mother said "You are as dumb as Chanakya and Maurya - How stupid of your to put your hands into the center. You should eat the porridge by starting from the edges of the plate"

Chanakya and Maurya over heard this and had a facepalm moment. WTF! they thought. Literally, they went to the edges. They left the Nanda lands immediately and understood that Alexander was ready to attack, so Maurya seizing the opportunity joined the Alexander's forces to learn the war tactics of the invaders. Eventually he wanted to team up with Alexander to defeat the Nanda's, but that did not materialize due to Alexander's change of heart after he faced stiff resistence from Paurava on the banks of INDUS - He decided to drop the idea of invading the massive India - defended by Nandas - Maurya siezed this opportunity to defeat the remaining forces of Alexander - stationed at punjab and married one of the daughters of a general to earn their faith. He then used these military forces to attack the and defeat the mighty Nanda Warforce. Chandra Gupta Maurya became the first Greatest emporer of India - with his lands expanding from Afghanishtan to Burma, with Chanakya at his helm - His successors expanded far into the south India - His Grandson ASHOKA the great would fight a bloody war with KALINGA before annexing into to Mauryan Empire. After the sight of such brutal blood shed of the war - Ashoka gave up his kingship and became buddhist monk.

The crux of the book - can be understood from the life of Maurya. Don't attach the center - start from the edges. An entire book to address this topic is repetitive. I wouldn't recommend this book! When someone is ready to invest a lot of effort into reading a book - They do it with an intent to learn something from it - They don't do it with an intent to learn - ONE THING AND ONLY ONE THING - in 200 pages. That is not what a book is supposed to do - More over this is not a novel - This is a business book! So there is little or no scope for entertainment.


Beginning with a stand up comedian's approach, then going forward with a war general's little wins in IRAQ, then moving on to PIXAR and the little wins with their short films, the agile and scrum methodology of software development, there are tons of examples to make the reader understand how various people used the one step at a time to get great things done.

But, what i really love about the book is the number of references to other materials are mentioned in it.

Fog of War

The structures of Frank Gherry

The Pixar Touch

Banker to the Poor

Learning to eat soup with a Knife

Route 66 - The mother road

Inside Steve's Mind

The audacity of Hope

The Group Genius

Seven Pillars of Wisdom

Medici Effect

Cities and the Creative Class

Good to Great

IN search of Excellence

The Luck Factor

The diffusion of Innovation

The Tipping Point

Crossing the Chasm

Made to stick


Life Entrepreneurs

Sway and Click

Pour your heart into it


- There are a lot more mentioned - but I could not get them all - But I appreciate the author for curating them all!
Profile Image for Jon Marks.
59 reviews2 followers
November 15, 2022
This was fine. I liked the idea a lot but felt like it had to be stretched to make a full on book. The author really focused in on Pixar and Chris Rock (pre-slap).
Profile Image for João Oliveira.
21 reviews2 followers
November 27, 2022
Good compilation of stories from people applying continuous improvement, agile and iterative innovation across in different industries from standup comedians like Chris Rock to Pixar.
Profile Image for Ryan Macdonald.
8 reviews1 follower
January 15, 2023
The concepts are decent. I found the auther used too many examples to illustrate his points. The content was repetitive and unconvincing. Maybe 20% of the book was worth the read.
Profile Image for Thai Son.
180 reviews51 followers
November 19, 2020
Small little book I curated from some random lists I can't remember, then found to be mentioned in Carl Newport's So Good They Can't Ignore You. I love the presentation, but the text started off really dry.
The ending chapter where he did small paragraph reviews of the books that informed the writing of this book was excellent though. On the money.
Profile Image for Taka.
684 reviews507 followers
September 5, 2011
Cool concept, not very detailed--

The book's concepts are all cool and interesting.

The book combines the findings of Carow Dweck (fixed vs. growth mindsets), Eric von Hippel (active users and innovation), Csikszentmihalyi (problem finders vs. problem solvers), Richard Wiseman (being open to experiences increases your luck), and other research and innovations in psychology, economics, and business.

The concept of little bets is basically this: creative things emerge from random, non-linear, unpredictable processes, and so experimenting with something is crucial in coming up with something creative. It is, as Ed Catmull at Pixar says, "going from suck to non-suck." The original idea may suck, but through other people's input, you can make it into something "non-suck," and that takes a lot of openness, playfulness, and determination to fail quickly to learn faster.

Other cool things to be learned from this book include:

-ask if you can afford it, not if you can profit from it
-"smallify" problems and add constraints to boost creativity
-learn little from a lot to increase your luck

But the central problem with this book is that it seems to lack elaboration and applications of the concept of little bets. I was left a little dissatisfied with the contents, though I found the concepts covered very interesting.

Overall, an interesting read that would've been satisfactory with a little more elaboration.
2 reviews
November 1, 2020
Some interesting examples on big successes from starting small and learning quickly along the way.
An excerpt from Little Bets to illustrate what the book is about:

Fundamental to the little bets approach is that we:

Experiment: Learn by doing. Fail quickly to learn fast. Develop experiments and prototypes to gather insights, identify problems, and build up to creative ideas, like Beethoven did in order to discover new musical styles and forms.

Play: A playful, improvisational, and humorous atmosphere quiets our inhibitions when ideas are incubating or newly hatched, and prevents creative ideas from being snuffed out or prematurely judged.

Immerse: Take time to get out into the world to gather fresh ideas and insights, in order to understand deeper human motivations and desires, and absorb how things work from the ground up.

Define: Use insights gathered throughout the process to define specific problems and needs before solving them, just as the Google founders did when they realized that their library search algorithm could address a much larger problem.

Reorient: Be flexible in pursuit of larger goals and aspirations, making good use of small wins to make necessary pivots and chart the course to completion.

Iterate: Repeat, refine, and test frequently armed with better insights, information, and assumptions as time goes on, as Chris Rock does to perfect his act.
Profile Image for John.
88 reviews1 follower
June 30, 2011
This book is about using small failures to define the path to large successes.

It's OK to feel around in the dark with the only plan to move forward once the path becomes clear. This is not a passive strategy by any means; but it respects that you can't plot a straight course from where you are to where you want to be, and that this is acceptable.

"The best way to predict the future is to invent it." -- Alan Kay, technologist & inventor

I had an epiphany while reading it; I left a job of 18 years for many reasons, but this book crystallized for me one of them. For the first 15 years of my career, it was OK for me to look dumb: I could ask questions of anybody at any time -- I was dumb but trying to get smarter -- and such self-improvement was encouraged by the culture. Around 2007, this changed, probably due to the intense pressure the firm was under. If you looked dumb, maybe you were, so people stopped asking questions and started covering their a$$es. It seemed to me that folks there have stopped allowing themselves to make the necessary small errors. Too bad.

(A similar theme emerges in Rework. Small companies make mistakes on purpose; in big companies, failures are not tolerated. Perhaps that's because in big companies the failures are bigger.)
Profile Image for Lance Willett.
167 reviews13 followers
August 31, 2021
Goal: Replace your linear thinking with a more experimental approach to learn faster. Do things to learn and discover what to do.

Key point:

Being able to create, navigate amid uncertainty, and adapt using an experimental approach will be a vital advantage.

Fundamentals of the little bets approach:

1. Experiment: Learn by doing. Fail quickly to learn fast. Develop experiments and prototypes to gather insights, identify problems, and build up creative ideas.
2. Play: A playful, improvisational, and humorous atmosphere quiets our inhibitions when ideas are incubating or newly hatched, and prevents creative ideas from being snuffed out our prematurely judged.
3. Immerse: Take time to get out into the world to gather fresh ideas and insights, in order to understand deeper human motivations and desires, and absorb how things work from the ground up.
4. Define: Use insights gathered throughout the process to define specific problems and needs before solving them.
5. Reorient: Be flexible in pursuit of larger goals and aspirations, making good use of small wins to make necessary pivots and chart the course to completion.
6. Iterate: Repeat, refine, and test frequently armed with better insights, information, and assumptions as time goes on.

Hat tip: Ian Stewart. Read free copy from my local library.
Profile Image for Heather.
979 reviews7 followers
February 17, 2012
Good book. I like the premise and reminder of looking for small connections that lead to innovation....and practicing in small arenas where you can learn from your mistakes quickly in order to move on and grow and improve. There are some great references and stories and examples of innovators who were willing to learn. I like the tie to anthropology and social science and how people use their diverse experiences to make connections and create something new, as well as the examples of people talking to and learning from everyone and then going out and making things happen and learning and adapting from there. Good ideas. "'The best way to predict the future is to invent it.' After all, life is a creative process. It all begins with one little bet. What will yours be? (p. 162)."
Profile Image for John Britto.
44 reviews2 followers
September 25, 2015
"Little Bets" is good motivational book by Peter Sims. Though out this book Peter talks about how the great innovators/successors have reached that level is that they dreamt of the success at initial step itself or they started with small idea and that payed off and emerged as great thing. Entirely this was like an argument to achieve innovation in a particular way. There are so many examples that authors brings to user's consciousness like growth of Pixar, comedian Chris Rock, architect Frank Gehry, etc... Peter Sims has given a guidelines to innovation through this book......
Profile Image for BLACK CAT.
525 reviews12 followers
November 4, 2014
Fixed vs. growth mindset (Carol Dweck): develop growth mindset.
Embrace failure and learn from it.
Don't build a whole final solution, iterate through small experiments (bets) and see what works.
Minimum viable product: prototyping, fail fast/fail forward, learn, pivot...
Be a curious person and question everything to learn more. Meet new and different people, diversity will bring creativity.
Small Wins: signs that you are on the right track.

Profile Image for Mary.
629 reviews
October 18, 2015
This was interesting and entertaining. I liked the approach of the book and the tons of examples.
Profile Image for Siri Arntzen.
47 reviews
December 31, 2021
It's a good book making some good points. I'm just a tad bit sick of books on innovation talking about Steve Jobs, Amazon, Pixar, HP, Silicon Valley - only the usual suspects.
Profile Image for Cindi.
2 reviews
June 29, 2019
What is The process of creating? How do these innovators succeed? Peter Sims, in a very affirming, non judgemental way, shines a light on these questions, by bringing understanding to the bumps and starts and ups and downs of innovation. Using humor and everyday analogies, a bit of tongue in cheek humor and candor.The author takes you into the studio of creativity, you see the messes and false starts and courage brave souls had. People from all walks of life have to take risks, small steps, face setbacks and decide to get up again. This book inspires the reader to do this, not in a cookie cutter fashion, but to follow in the lead of others by choosing to step out and try things that are in your passion to do, and how others have rekindled their fashion when it has almost been snuffed out or lost.

Peter Sims is an innovator who is willing to take risks and learn from mistakes. He willingly takes a step back to survey and ask the questions to see if he is heading where he wants to in life . Mentors have described him as one who is part of: “a global community of creative misfits that seeks to unlock the inner artist in everyone, recognizing that no one does that alone.” I wholeheartedly agree, his writings and research affirms how he himself embodies the 21st-century learner. His background in leading and inspiring comes from the choices and leaps he has made through his own journey, and partnerships and leadership in his chosen ventures. The success he has found through his selfless style allows him to be an adviser and speaker, inspiring communities and CEO’s. He has studied at Bowdoin College, Stanford Business School, and at Stanford’s Institute of Design.

Rather than just being built on successes, Mr. Sims’ credibility comes because he not only has done due process, he has tried the usual way of mainstream expectations when it comes to seeking success: attending college, studying traditional majors , working a steady job with increasingly long hours. Sims found breaking the mold to be the key to succeeding in true fashion. His honesty and authenticity makes him credible to be listened to and heard, He models grace worth emulating , because he acknowledges his humanity also.

Sim’s writing style reflects this, he invites you into the stories, to make your own connections and to see how what seems impossible, is actually possible by small acts of courage on a continual basis.
Profile Image for Anoop Dixith.
81 reviews6 followers
February 24, 2020
I liked the theme of this book very much! The book is divided into, in my opinion, themes and basic principles that lead to success in business and innovation, and then mounts tons of real life examples to justify them. I'd call it a near-perfect blend of "theory-example", 'near' only because the examples given are quite repetitive.

Without spoiling much, I'd summarize the themes mentioned in the book are - how a plethora of eventual gigantic products initially started out of little experimentation that were backed by experimental-minded leaders; how being ambitious is okay, but at the same time why it's important to graciously learn from an over-ambitious project; how diversity in thoughts helps drive innovation and consequently, success; how successful people are mostly the people with exceptional perseverance etc.

But what is more captivating is the examples and real life stories that are given to build upon the above mentioned themes. Chris Rock is a recurring character, virtually being mentioned in all the ten chapters, and rightly so. I learned a lot about his personal journey overcoming all the obstacles to become who he is now. 

Even more enthralling are the stories related to the evolution of Pixar, the highly innovative mountain bikers that made the first mountain bikes by making a series of modifications to regular bikes, the story of 3M, Belkin etc. I was so impressed by some of these stories that I literally watched two documentaries - The Pixar Story and The Klunzers (the latter about the mountain bikers) after reading this book, just to savor them more. P&G's legendary CEO A.G. Lafley's efforts in promoting creativity at P&G is yet another engrossing tale of paving the way for the impossible. The book also does highlight the necessity of social-innovation, and rightly takes the example and evolution of Grameen Bank, which is a simple, yet highly effective idea that was instrumental in helping small business and poorest of the poor of India and Bangladesh in achieving financial freedom. 

Incidentally, one of the best sections of the book is the "Further Reading" section at the end of the book, which lists some of the mind-blowing books written on the lines of innovation, ideas, and breakthroughs, and many of them are certainly going into my to-read list, starting with Scott Belsky's Making Ideas Happen. But before that, a huge kudos to the author Peter Sims for this book. 
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