Originals Book Summary, by Adam M. Grant

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1-Page Summary of Originals


Originals: The Innovators, the Rebels, and the Inventors Who Changed Our World is a book that investigates why some entrepreneurs were able to successfully transmit an idea or develop a product with mainstream acceptance while others were not. It also explains how even risk-averse people can try to become originals in their own right.

Original thinkers are not born, they’re made. They make themselves different from others by making choices that no one else would consider. Original thinkers are creative and bold but not reckless; they don’t expose their ideas to danger and actively seek feedback to improve their ideas further. Originals may appear slow at times because of the time it takes them to mull over an idea or concept before moving forward with it. Similarly, originals may seem like procrastinators because of the amount of time it takes them to complete a task—they have more important things in mind than completing tasks on time! They work towards original goals when everyone else is working toward traditional ones.

Some of the best ideas in society have come from those who are willing to do things differently. They may not be inherently brave or brilliant, but they’re willing to take action when others hesitate.

Key Takeaways

Original ideas challenge the status quo and go against what other people believe.

Curiosity is the starting point for original thinkers. Original thinkers are able to navigate risk better than others because they have a specific way of processing information.

Anyone can be original. It’s a choice, not something pre-wired in your DNA. To assess whether you’re an original or not, one must take into account all the feedback from others when deciding to do something new or different. For originals, public familiarity with a concept is not the enemy: it’s a useful tool toward getting people comfortable with something new. Procrastination is important for being an original because it helps you step back and really think about what will make your idea unique before moving forward on it. Birth order could impact whether someone is more likely to become an original because firstborns tend to have higher IQs than later born children and are more likely to be leaders of groups as they grow up than their younger siblings would be at that age if they were also firstborns like them.

Key Takeaway 1: Originals challenge conformity and willfully pave a new path that upends the status quo.

To be an original, you have to challenge the status quo. People who bring something new are more likely to succeed than those who try to improve on existing products or services. Warby Parker was able to change the way people buy eyewear by challenging the traditional business model of optometrists and optical shops. By doing so, they were able to offer glasses at a lower cost and become very successful in their market.

Many other companies have followed the model of Birchbox, which was founded by Katia Beauchamp and Hayley Barna. They were able to build their company into a billion-dollar business because they had an idea that people would want something like it. Birchbox is a subscription service that sends out samples of beauty products for customers to try before buying them.

When Birchbox first started, it was dependent on the founders’ willingness to question whether women would pay for beauty samples. It turned out that they were willing, and now Birchbox is successful.

Other companies have tried to sell sample subscriptions. However, Birchbox is different because after trying the samples from that subscription box, consumers can buy full-sized versions of those products directly from their website. This led to Birchbox becoming a successful original brand in the beauty industry.

Originals Book Summary, by Adam M. Grant