Author and business school professor, Adam Grant, learned the lesson the hard way after declining to invest in a startup founded by a group of students. The bunch didn’t match his image of successful entrepreneurs. They hadn’t fully committed to the startup and all had backup plans in case it flopped. The website wasn’t operational as late as one day before the scheduled launch. The team just didn’t seem to be focused enough for Grant. Warby Parker later blossomed to disrupt the eyewear industry and be crowned one of the most innovative companies in the world. A meager investment might have returned millions of dollars but Grant chose not to invest.
“Originals” is custom-made for an innovator because it provides real-world examples of influential non-conformists, dispels cartoonish assumptions about entrepreneurs, and formats the lessons so that they can be reviewed and revisited time and time again.
“Originals” explores commonly held assumptions about successful entrepreneurs and persuasive people and highlights some interesting discoveries. They are not boom-or-bust extraverts who roll dice with success. Many other than the Warby Parker team have backup plans. Apple Co-founder, Steve Wozniak, maintained a day job at HP while the startup launched. Entrepreneurs, Sergey Brin, and Larry Page chose not to withdraw from grad school until after Google entered a successful trajectory. Creativity comes in different forms. Many successful young entrepreneurs’ headline-grabbing creations are one-hit-wonders while more than 90% of successful ideas result from years of experimentation and refinement. Being second to market can be advantageous. That’s why Google is now a verb synonymous with Internet searches while Lycos, Alta Vista, or Ask.com are unmemorable. It’s why Facebook has billions of customers who barely remember its predecessor MySpace.
Grant dispels these and other myths while providing guidelines to positively influence the trajectory of your business and those around you. “Originals” is an easy read that finds a way to summarize and restate its discoveries without preaching to or dismissing the reader. It is far from a textbook but provides the same reference material a great one would contain.
The archetype of successful entrepreneurs doesn’t always match reality and Grant’s investment mistake prompted research into the traits successful entrepreneurs actually share. “Originals” is a compilation of his findings written in a warm, logical, and readable manner that weaves personal stories with detailed discoveries. It is a how-to guide for those wishing to navigate a new business idea without falling prey to commonly held and inaccurate myths about success and persuasiveness.