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Rebel Ideas: The Power of Diverse Thinking

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  3,309 ratings  ·  312 reviews
Rebel Ideas examines the power of 'cognitive diversity' - the ability to think differently about the world around us. It explains how to harness our unique perspectives, pool our collective intelligence and tackle the greatest challenges of our age - from climate change to terrorism. It draws on a dazzling range of case studies, including the catastrophic failings of the C ...more
Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Published September 10th 2019 by John Murray (first published September 1st 2019)
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Ardon Pillay
May 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Pushing for diversity is often simply seen as a politically correct move, but Syed stresses how diversity has far greater impacts than we would gather upon first inspection.

First, because we have a tendency to surround ourselves with people similar to us, we form “resonance chambers” which simply reiterate the same old ideas, and result in us making the same old mistakes. With a more diverse team, it’s more likely that you’d have more new ideas, and a reduced rate of error propagation.

Beyond s
Oct 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Rather good... and another great read from Mr Syed. Divided into easy to read topics with real-word (and most importantly believable and well researched) sections, there is a wealth of material here for any field.

The section on recombination is outstanding and which melts perfectly into echo chambers. See how you're being lied to and how. There's also a great conclusion with a small but beautifully constructed piece on unconscious bias.

A great read for anyone!
Silvia C.
Aug 15, 2021 rated it really liked it
There are some really good insights, especially on the importance of diverse backgrounds in any team.
Oct 18, 2019 rated it liked it
3.4 / 5

I was a bit sceptical of this book at first, but I got much more into it by the end.

Syed explores 2 key themes: diversity and innovative ideas ('rebel ideas', he terms them). His essential premise is that diversity of thought is key for 'rebel ideas', but he also examines the other key factors that are necessary for innovation. Some of his arguments include:
- Hierarchy is crucial for decision-making. But if a hierarchy is too domineering, there will be too much hostility to new ideas.
- L
Anthony Kkm
Sep 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Not as good as black box thinking but better than bounce. For the price, I’d wait to pick it up from a charity shop. Syed is now well-practiced at his style of prose. The central tenant of the book is simple and he uses some good, diverse examples to make his point. Sometimes a bit too loquacious, he makes the same point several times in a paragraph or mini-chapter, before and after giving an example which seems like unnecessary padding. Overall an enjoyable read with some interesting take away ...more
Jun 21, 2020 rated it liked it

This is a good book based on a valid premise but let down by Syed's overconfidence in areas beyond his expertise.

I read Bounce a few years ago and found it utterly convincing to the point it changed my worldview quite a bit, so I was excited to get my hands on another one of Syed's books. The core idea - that cognitive diversity (which itself is highly correlated with demographic diversity) leads to better outcomes and that even groups of exceptional people underachieve if they are not div
Oct 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
What connects the tragic Everest expedition in May 1996 that consumed the lives of legendary mountain climbers such as Rob Hall and Scott Fischer, with the 9/11 catastrophe where the CIA choose to adopt a blinkered approach to the many cogent threats and chilling clues that emanated from Osama Bin Laden even as early as in 1996? Is there even a link between these two diverse, albeit tragic events? In a bold and provocative book, “Rebel Ideas”, the Sunday Times bestselling author and co-founder o ...more
Mico Go
Jan 05, 2022 rated it liked it
Felt like this could've been a lot shorter. On Syed's books, I also think this draws a lot of similarities with Black Box Thinking - though I did feel that Black Box Thinking was a lot more tight-knit, and better organized. ...more
Vanessa Princessa
I read this book thanks to Blinkist.

I am familiar with the topics & ideas expressed in this book from other non-fiction books I’ve previously read, hence the 3 stars.

The key message in these blinks:

In the past, success has been the result of intelligence, skill and commitment. This is still a winning combination of qualities when we’re faced with challenges that we can tackle alone. But the problems we face today are too complex for individuals to handle in isolation. To solve them, we must work
Matej yangwao
Sep 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Naomi Sirmans
Jan 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I have read in the past year at least! Truly fascinating, with plenty of food for thought. I found myself talking about points he brings up in many conversations. I think everybody should read this book. I also LOVED Black Box Thinking, also by Matthew Syed. I read it several years ago, and it’s impact stayed with me. Phenomenal.
Hannah Ford
Aug 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my favourite book I have read this year. I knew diversity was important, but the importance of 'cognitive diversity' has now been revealed to me. I think this book will change the way I work, socialise and interact with people for good. ...more
Feb 01, 2022 rated it really liked it
I had initially started this book a year ago and ended up forgetting about it... it started off a little drab and I didn't feel that it was telling me anything new per se. However I picked it up again recently and I am glad I did. The focus is not only on racial diversity, but looks at cognitive, environmental diversity. I enjoyed the anecdotes that Syed used to explain his points, interesting case studies from all industries. Particularly perceptive was the idea that immigrants often bring the ...more
Teodora Agarici
May 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I knew Matthew Syed from his articles in the Times but this is the first book I read from him. Due to his journalistic style, Rebel Ideas is easy to read and flows naturally which is a definite plus, especially for a book that falls under the smart thinking/ leadership category.

There are some insightful notes that make you stop and question your own naivety. It is, in fact, a very welcome wake-up call to your own blindness.

I was particularly struck by the idea of collective intelligence in the
Helen Castle
Jan 09, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
‘With homogenous groups people tend to get stuck in the same place. Diverse teams, on the other hand, come up with fresh insights, helping them to become unstuck. Rebel ideas are effectively firing the collective imagination.’

So illuminating and engaging is Syed’s argument for cognitive diversity that he not only shifts your thinking, but also makes you thoroughly question how you should approach any complex problem or decision-making in your working and everyday life.

What remains to be worked
Sara Vicente Barreto
Sep 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business-growth
I was enticed by this book by Matthew Syed. Each time I thought an example had left it plain and simple for anyone to see the benefits of diversity, yet another one came along to add to it. We all heard the numerous stories that diversity can bring, such as the hiring of someone good at crosswords for the team that cracked the German code in WWII. But the book starts instead with examples of potential consequences of the lack of diversity in places like the CIA pre-9/11 or in an Everest climbing ...more
Berislav Babic
Oct 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book was mentioned by a coworker and the premise looked so inspiring that I had to jump into it and read it immediately. I don't regret that decision at all since the book paints an amazing picture of how we can easily get stuck trusting our tunnel vision and confirmation bias. The story takes our through some very bad moments (big and small) that could have been changed just if there was someone of a different opinion and if they spoke up. It's not about diversity in teams not just for the ...more
Stanley Prescott
Sep 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful novel detailing the concept of cognitive diversity and the case for it across the increasingly complex problems we navigate as one or a group. Notably, it defines the difference of cultural diversity and makes a case for when both are further relevant to close invisible gaps in our problem solving. I would highly recommend this book; especially notable for those working in teams on a regular basis, or those tasked with complex, multi-faceted problems.
Dominic Gardner
May 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Several excellent concepts presented in a very readable style. Interesting insight into the power of diversity in our daily lives and the teams that form within them. Highlights the importance of exposure to a diversity of ideas and the damage that can be done when people choose to surround themselves only with others who support their agenda.
Domas Gerta
Feb 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really interesting book changing the way we think about success. Showing importance of the collective intelligence over individualistic for innovation as well as complex problems solving organisations. It is also emphasised why diversity shouldn’t be seen as politically correct move but a necessity having a deeper, much greater benefit to organisations and society. Author presents ideas through the real life examples (some are tragic events), thus in some places I felt like reading a thriller.
Felix Arris
May 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychology
Syed’s books are always a stimulating read and this was no exception. The behavioural science insights he revealed around collective intelligence, diversity, and the risks of standardisation question what you thought you knew about team formulation. I hope this man continues to write!
Nov 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
More excellence from Matthew Syed. His writing is intriguing and informative in equal measure.
I was feeling like 4 stars until the chapter on echo chambers. It gives a great insight into the challenges of current times and methods of communication.
Suraj Amlani
Feb 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book, especially the wide range of new stories to make his points. Thoroughly researched.
Mar 08, 2021 rated it liked it
The sort of diversity Matthew is trying to promote here for innovative outcomes and creative solutions isn't directly demographic (related to race, culture, religion, gender, etc.) in nature. It's cognitive diversity he tries to build a case for. Cognitive diversity, as he suggests, is related to ideas and perspectives. But it indirectly relies on demographic diversity. Why? Because how people think is directly influenced by their habitats, socialization, and identities. Makes sense to me.
I am
Jan 17, 2022 rated it it was amazing
great insight into cognitive diversity and much more !!! definitely recommend
Mar 03, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook-read
Lots of arguments and counterarguments about diversity in all settings.

Gave reasonable real-world examples and scenarios. Started strong with the 9/11 examples.

Would read it again.
May 23, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2022
Shoutout to everyone I’ve been retelling chapters of this book to over the last week.
Alexander Miguel Roscoe
Feb 19, 2022 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rosanna Cocks
Jul 09, 2021 rated it liked it
Some parts very interesting but other parts I felt like just stated the obvious. Maybe I'm just really clever. ...more
Aayush bhatia
Apr 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book can really help you out in enhancing your cognitive capabilities.

Definitely a must read!
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Matthew Syed is an author and highly acclaimed speaker in the field of high performance. He has written six bestselling books on the subject of mindset and high performance – Rebel Ideas, Bounce, Black Box Thinking, The Greatest, and his celebrated children’s books, You Are Awesome and The You Are Awesome Journal – and has worked with many leading organisations to build a mindset of continuous im ...more

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“John Cleese? ‘Everybody has theories,’ he said. ‘The dangerous people are those who are not aware of their own theories. That is, the theories on which they operate are largely unconscious.” 1 likes
“Justice Antonin Scalia for the Supreme Court. You can either choose diversity, he contended, or you can choose to be ‘super-duper’. If a diverse workforce, student population, or whatever, emerges organically through the pursuit of excellence, that is one thing. But to privilege diversity above excellence is different.” 0 likes
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