Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World, has been kicked around a lot recently on various lists and circles as a real "hot" book this year in the non-fiction realm. After a few others I know suggested I pick it up after raving about, I felt I should check out. I was very, very happy about my choice!
To be blunt, this is a fantastic read. It's one of the more enjoyable books I've read in the past few years, and gets one of the highest ratings since this blog began seven years ago. What makes it such a great read? A number of things. To begin with, it's got a great premise: originals/creative individuals are critical to our world but are often misunderstood and/or challenged to allow their creativity come out. Grant does a great job of expressing early just how critical and underrated originality truly is. After selling us about the many benefits of "non-conformists" he then goes through and explains to us how to better leverage our own creative attributes and support others in those areas.
If the previously mentioned summary was not enough, the book stands out because of the many specific ideas and actions that can be taken from the reading. That's what I most liked about the book, there were specific things offered that can have an immediate impact in a personal or professional setting. Often I remember highlighting a passage or idea and reflecting about how useful it was in the moment I was in or for the future. This is perhaps why the book is so impressive. I've read many books that fall under "workplace culture" and often they are interesting but lack specific and readily actionable take-aways (I'm looking at you lately, Gladwell). Not true here, this book had so many wonderful and specific things that you can take from it to improve and change your life (I know that sounds cheesy, but it's true in some small (and maybe larger) ways).
Let me continues to gush. The book is a very accessible and easy read. The writing style is simple but interesting and Grant's stories and anecdotes he uses to prove his points are fascinating and well researched. Speaking of research, Grant is a researcher by training so you can also trust that the information learned and points can be a bit more trusted (again, I'm looking at you Gladwell). Also, there are some wonderful endnotes included that often will include additional research that are fascinating.
So, any negatives? Not many I can think of. Perhaps some of the stories are a bit slow or don't have an obvious connection to a point he makes. Or maybe the focus of some of the stories are skewed. I don't know, I'm picking nits, really. Honestly, this book could have easily earned 5 stars but I just didn't feel it was on the same level of the few fictional epics that earned the highest rating. The bottom line is, I highly suggest picking this up and reading it immediately. I sincerely doubt you'll regret your time and more likely will come away better understanding about the importance of originality in our world!