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Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  40,547 ratings  ·  2,726 reviews
In Originals the author addresses the challenge of improving the world from the perspective of becoming original: choosing to champion novel ideas and values that go against the grain, battle conformity, and buck outdated traditions. How can we originate new ideas, policies, and practices without risking it all?
Using surprising studies and stories spanning business, pol
Hardcover, 326 pages
Published February 2nd 2016 by Viking
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Feb 12, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I beg to differ with Sheryl Sandberg. This isn't a cutting-edge primer on what it takes to be "original." It's a pleasantly readable, if mediocre, collection of findings and anecdotes that are more-or-less related to the notion of fostering creativity/success.

Earnest? Yes. The author applies his formula with zest: he starts each chapter with a "hook," spaces out his anecdotes, sprinkles in previews to build suspense, and distills each story into a pithy moral. He tries hard to keep us engaged a
Bill Zoelle
Feb 23, 2016 rated it it was ok
I got the sense that this book was yet another compilation of blog posts with examples cherrypicked from successful books to support ideas with very little first hand research. The author is critical of other formulaic authors, such as those that write self help books, yet he follows the same formula that those in the pop psych genre have relied upon. The book is a collection of anecdotes slathered with confirmation bias in place of a logic rooted argument.

The examples are written in more of an
Michael Payne
Jan 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
“Fools rush in.” Those 3 words are the foundation for the recurring theme that Adam Grant reveals through studied research which shakes the dominant mythology of our modern dogma on what it takes to succeed.

The myth is that first movers gain a first-to-market advantage. The fact is that “settlers” who enter later, lower their risk of failure compared to the early “pioneers.” The slow-movers also raise their yield of measurable returns. Who is really laughing first and last here?

The myth is that
Feb 07, 2016 rated it it was ok
Ironically, this book contains very few original ideas on it's own ...more
Mar 19, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Strikingly unoriginal for a book on originality. This is a mash-up of other books on pop psychology and whatnot with some personal anecdotes about other people who are original. It's entertaining enough because it's got these counterintuitive ideas like "procrastination is good." The problem is that these are just teasers, because they get hedged with "except when it isn't" or they're just overall gibberish.

Take the procrastination example. Grant talks about MLK's famous "I have a dream" speech
Lloyd Fassett
Jan 31, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business
1/31/16 The author wrote an interesting synopsis for the nyts here: How to Raise a Creative Child. Step One: Back Off

I appreciated learning about a company that seriously promotes dissenting opinions as well as social science experiments. It's great to know they exist, but the book didnt match my expectations set by the title at all. These are anecdotes about successful people. It's not about nonconformists or originals.

There are many Social Science tests discussed.
Jim Lavis
Feb 20, 2016 rated it it was ok

Two stars are generous. The first 3 or 4 chapters had some value, but the examples that were used, in those chapters, were dated and generic. The author’s credentials seem steer and the reviews were quite good, so you can imagine my surprise when I found the content to be so remedial.

The remaining chapters seemed trite and had little value. It’s sad. I love to find something worthwhile in this subject matter, so please recommend something if anyone knows of anything worth reading.
Richard Newton
This is a book full of well written chapters with interesting insights based on solid research.

It could have been a 5 star book, but struggles for a few reasons. Firstly, it wanders around bringing in some topics which seem to have little to do with the topic of originality. The second issue is similar, it can't seem to decide if it wants to be a book about originality in the situation of entrepreneurship and business, or originality in terms of wider creativity and innovation. Thirdly, some of
Jan 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I read this book in two days. Several times while in the middle of reading it, I had to remind myself that I wasn't reading a book written by Malcolm Gladwell. Then, I realized something just as good: I was reading a book by Adam Grant. Grant is quickly becoming one of my favorite thinkers in the field of social science. Pick this book up—it's wildly entertaining, and you'll get so much out of it. ...more
Liza Fireman
Nov 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best books I have read lately. It has a lot that I already knew, but it added important principals, told great stories, and wrapped it all in great structure.

When was the last time you had an original idea and what did you do with it?

Originality is scary, and it is conventional wisdom that some people are innately creative, while most have few original thoughts. This is of course far from being the truth, but it is the easy way out of being original. People are afraid to spea
Ian Kelly
Jun 14, 2017 rated it it was ok
Read this for the EY book club at work. I found it to be mostly weak connections and psychological claims with no real support. It is like a BuzzFeed article turned into a book. There are better books in this genre.
Maciej Nowicki
Dec 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World is about creativity, risk-taking and conformity. The book is written by Adam Grant an American psychologist who is also a professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania specialising in organisational psychology. In the book, he studies a relationship between entrepreneurship and risk-taking. Most people think that extremely successful entrepreneurs are risk-takers, however, the data provided in the book shows something completely o ...more
Aug 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is one of the few self-helpy books that is actually worth reading. Great stories and great tips and very well-written. I really enjoyed it and have thought a lot about it since I read it.
Joy D
“By my definition, originality involves introducing and advancing an idea that’s relatively unusual within a particular domain, and that has the potential to improve it. Originality itself starts with creativity: generating a concept that is both novel and useful. But it doesn’t stop there. Originals are people who take the initiative to make their visions a reality. This book is about how we can all become more original.” – Adam M. Grant, Originals

Adam M. Grant pieces together research on the s
Henry David
Mar 21, 2016 rated it it was ok
I'm going to have to disagree with Sheryl Sandberg on this one. Not cutting-edge on what mavericks of the society have done to make it big. Grant tells a curated set of stories of familiar heroes that are mostly white guys, except of course of MLK. I wish he included a broader range of stories from other incredible black figures and figures of color -- Native Americans, Latinoamericanos, Asian Americans. Moreover, women of color were entirely written out and only mentioned as "double minorities" ...more
Conor Ahern
Nov 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
So I really enjoyed this book, and I can't really figure out why. It's not profound in any way, and a lot of it even takes the form of a shopworn case study, well told. But the best reasoning I can come up with was that it was flattering to me...!

Not because I'm particularly original--I'm an attorney, after all--but because it actually lauded a certain kind of restraint that I believe I'm possessed of. The book did not exhort throwing out all conventions, but rather to be sensible and accept res
Nov 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Pavel Grecu
May 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must-read for any person who strives to change the status-quo.
W. Whalin
Apr 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What does it take to act on an original idea? Are entrepreneurs risk-takers or calculating risk-taker? We learn from the careful research of Adam Grant in ORIGINALS that successful entrepreneurs are careful risk-takers. Instead of jumping off a cliff, these entrepreneurs took calculated risks to begin their business. For example, everyone likes to talk about how Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard to begin Microsoft. It was through listening to ORIGINALS, I learned Gates took a calculated risk and ...more
Masatoshi Nishimura
Mar 11, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: psychology
He tackles lots of popular misconceptions about what it needs to become successful. It shows that you don't need to follow the media image. His writing style is similar to Malcolm Gladwell in that he introduces academic research and creates a compelling story that can stick. Overall, I find this approach really difficult to follow. He throws in lots of numbers, but I don't know which one is based on proper study or just based on 1 case study. He mixes those 2 up so much that I had to be extra ca ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Jan 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Deborah R.
I am always on the hunt to learn more about creativity, particularly in the context of leading a team of Outreach librarians and staff. It is one of our top values as a group, even if all of our ideas don't always make it all the way to the top.

I appreciated that while Grant starts with startups and well-known innovators, he moves from that angle through many other scenarios - the work place, the CIA, even revolutions! If you haven't read much on creativity lately, he does a good job at consoli
Lea Espinal
Aug 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Following some of the book's advice, which says to ban the words "like", "love" and "hate" when talking about ideas, I'll just say this book presents its ideas on originality and creativity in a palatable way, gives practical advice on how to put them into practice, and connects them to real life examples. It's quickly become one of my non-fiction favorites. ...more
Brad Meltzer
Oct 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a nonfiction guide to making a meaningful difference, inspiring creativity and finding one’s own gifts. It’s how to be truly different by one of my favorite thinkers.
3.5 stars

This is my first audiobook and I think I lost something in the switch from print to spoken voice. This is a book which demands to be read, at least for a person like me who absorbs more from reading than listening. Listening, I felt like I was back in college, especially as I listened in 30 or 45-minute chunks while commuting to and from work. At times I felt it was hard to concentrate (there goes that visual learning bias again - not having a professor standing in front of you, gesturi
Jan 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is a very well written interesting analysis of the origins of originality and how our society can foster it. I would recommend this book to basically anyone. The author uses fascinating anecdotes to get his points across and writes in a clear and concise manner. Great book!
Guilherme De Azevedo
Feb 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great book.
Check out a 4 minute video review and summary I made on Youtube.
It will give you a good overview to decide if you want to further explore it, or it can also refresh your memory if you have already read it.

the cover is the best part of this book.
Andrea McDowell
I enjoyed this book a lot. Not as much as Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success, which was amazing and I think I pestered everyone I knew about it for a solid three months after I finished it, but it was still a solid and engaging read with good information written well.

I think I have credibility when I say that I already have a good track record in speaking out on subjects I care about regardless of whether or not they are popular or will make me well-liked, so in some ways, I wasn
Femina Ernest
Feb 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Author Adam Grunt's diversified knowledge and analysis for this book is awesome. From "Creative Destruction" to "Rocking the Boat keep it steady" chapters, he is continuously trying to make us acknowledge "Yes, he is correct" kinda of nod. When talks about, One eyed Investors I felt it can be done better than that, but apart from that his concepts and studies are fabulous. Comparative facts like, chrome/Firefox, first born/later born, investors, Rethink/Group think etc are trying to showcase aut ...more
This started off with a forward by Sheryl Sandberg, giving this book gushing praise, saying that this is one of the most important and captivating books that I have ever read. (Note to self, skip forwards.) I am naturally skeptical of self-help books, and I was ready to find issues. Instead I found a very straightforward, informative and helpful book about how with ideas on how I might be able to boost my innovation and creativity. As someone who has worked for the same employer for 30 years (!! ...more
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Play Book Tag: [Poll Ballot] Originals by Adam M. Grant - 3.5 stars 1 5 Jun 05, 2020 09:30AM  
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Original value driven vision 1 18 Mar 01, 2016 01:10PM  

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