Adam Grant

What do you do when you’ve already written a best-selling novel? Write a book about changing the status quo, of course. Adam Grant, whose new book, Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World, will be released this month, is approaching the business world from an entirely different perspective. The acclaimed Wharton professor’s follow-up to Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success brings the idea of “what it takes to be original” to UC Santa Barbara this week.

“I’ve heard rave reviews of the audience,” Grant said of the decision to come to the university. “Several authors who went there, friends and colleagues…said you can’t find anywhere else with a more dynamic and intellectually curious group.” Grant, who comes to UCSB on February 4, said, “I’m excited to find out whether they’re right.” His new book, which he’s been researching for over a decade, presents the concepts behind providing original ideas.

The idea came to him in 2002. “I had a lot of experience where I saw people with really bad ideas, but were good at presenting them, get support from others, and I saw it vice versa,” he remembered. “I started to do research on how we can come up with original ideas…and that culminated into a book.” Originals touches on a subject that has received little attention: bringing good ideas to your superiors’ table. “People want to champion their ideas, and leaders want to know how to bring up good ones,” said Grant about the premise of his book.

With his history of working with leaders, the most frequent question he’d been asked was how to get people to bring good ideas to the table. “And from my students, ‘If I see something I don’t like…or could be better in an organization, how do I speak up?’…Those seem like two sides of the same coin,” he said.

With an audience of predominantly students, Grant anticipates a fresh perspective that many university students seldom hear. “I would like them to come ready to be surprised and entertained,” he said when asked about his upcoming appearance. Students and community members interested can see Grant speak in Campbell Hall on February 4, free of charge.


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