There are countless books on creativity out there, so in a way you could say that Adam Grant’s Originals isn’t, well, entirely original. But then Grant would probably admit that himself, since he acknowledges that because nobody thinks in a vacuum, there really is no such thing as a fully original idea. But what he does is explore how concepts that are “relatively unusual” come about. More than that, he explores how some of the world’s most renowned innovators have actually done something with their ideas.
Feverishly grabbing lessons from business, politics, management theory, psychology, sport and film, the book challenges assumptions about original thinking. Young people are more likely to be innovative? Not necessarily. First-movers have a market advantage? This could be overstated. Procrastination is the mother of sub-par work? Not if it’s done “strategically”, says Grant. He suggests that Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech might not have become so iconic had King not delayed polishing it off until the very last minute
And while there’s a skew towards examples from across the pond, it’s a worthwhile read if you’re in a creative rut, want to establish a culture of curiosity at work or if you’re trying to pluck up the courage to act on a bold idea.