cover image Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World

Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World

Adam Grant. Viking, $27.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-525-42956-2

Wharton professor Grant (Give and Take) considers himself a huge fan of innovation—yet, as he confides in this solid business guide, he passed up the opportunity to invest in eyeglass brand Warby Parker in its infancy, the “worst decision” he ever made. He goes on to propose that the trouble with how innovation is currently viewed in contemporary society is that both consumers and investors undervalue anything that is less of a game-changer than the new iPhone. In fact, inventors don’t need to be cliff diving risk takers, and originality is far more common than is generally thought. Emphasizing the human tendency to take the default action, the book shows that it takes real verve to overcome that inertia and seek out the better option. Grant’s topics include the need for patience while publicizing an idea, the disadvantage of being the first in with a new idea, and the importance of creating and supporting fans and evangelists. He also discusses nurturing originality in young people and avoiding the pitfalls of close-knit corporate cultures. His approach is mainly descriptive, but does include some concrete steps for would-be innovators to develop their ideas, and for business leaders to support them. With a foreword by Sheryl Sandberg, Grant’s second book should attract as much attention as his bestselling first. Agent: Richard Pine, InkWell Management Literary. (Feb.)