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Originals by Adam Grant
January 28, 2020
By Brett Grischo


Originals by Adam Grant is a big-time thumbs up; must read. This book has my wheels spinning and it applies to my world both professionally and personally. I like to take notes when I read non-fiction and if quantity of my chicken-scratch is any indication, then this is the best book I’ve read in a long time.

The definition of an Original in the context of this book is: A thing of singular or unique character; a person who is different from other people in an appealing or interesting way; a person of fresh initiative or inventive capacity. I love hanging out with Originals and I think I may fit the bill as well. The book cover alone captured my attention: “How non-conformists move the world.”

If I had to give you the elevator speech, or rather the stair-walk speech (not a lot of tall buildings in Denver, plus I like the exercise – and I’m a non-conformist!!!), I’d say the whole book discusses, supports and explains how people that think differently, take chances and aren’t afraid to go against the status quo are the ones that make positive things happen in this world. If it weren’t for these people, evolution would slow to a crawl, discoveries would dwindle and the great things that happen in this world would be much more few and far between.

From the book: “Conformity means following the crowd down conventional paths and maintaining the status quo. Originality is taking the road less traveled, championing a set of novel ideas that go against the grain but ultimately make things better.”

Grant utilizes a ton of real-life examples on group-think, conforming and the opposites to make his points and eloquently describe the benefits. Some of the seemingly simple concepts he discusses are: the starting point is curiosity, being different, natural devils’ advocates, argue like you are right and listen like you are wrong, limit group-think, and acting in the fear of risk. These topics are presented, explained and rationalized as productive, creative and exciting ways to live one’s life.

Grant also talks about types of Originals, such as Shapers. They are independent thinkers; curious, non-conforming and rebellious. Okay, that also describes every single three-year old kid but maybe that’s what us adults need to do. Free our brains from logic, assumptions and the easy way, right?

“The greatest Shapers don’t stop at introducing originality into the world. They create cultures that unleash originality in others.” Love it, Adam!

Another subject Grant covers is fear. He leads with a Nelson Mandela quote: “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it… The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” Yes!!!

Amongst a lot of the material Grant delivers, my favorite on fear was his point about how to handle fear. Instead of trying to relax or calm down when nervous, get excited. Reframe fear as excitement!

I love books, people, music, art and experiences that inspire me. All it takes is one or two things to get me going and to appreciate the source. Originals was filled with inspiration. Cover to cover. Thank you Adam Grant!

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