Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant
Penguin Random House. February 2, 2016
Adam Grant goes beyond encouraging us to understand the non-conforming student. He shows the reader how non-conformists and those who challenge conventional wisdom can be among our most creative leaders. Grant champions the willingness to take risks with ideas as a vital skill and he shows parents, teachers and business thinkers how to increase the likelihood of raising successfully original thinkers. With a combination of resourcefulness, creativity and comfort in going against the grain, "originals", says Grant, can be found everywhere, from early years classrooms to the business world. What they can teach us breaks some long-held beliefs. Of group work, Grant says, research points to the generation of ideas being more productive when done by individuals. The group experience comes into play as superior for assessing ideas for utility, critical thinking, compiling data to support ideas and gaining the skills of argument and listening. Grant brings wisdom to the question of how to teach students to rock the boat while keeping it steady. He makes promising and practical suggestions for using his findings in classrooms. For example, in his classes at Wharton School of Business, he invites the lively presentation of completely counter-intuitive ideas that are research-based. Grant takes special care to ground each chapter of his book in his purpose in writing it: to teach people how to make a difference by learning to meaningfully and responsibly question accepted wisdom and move towards original, even impossible, ideas that can change the world.