We record each session of The “I mostly Read It” Book Club and use transcription software to best collect the ideas shared and discussed each week. It’s powerfully telling that, among the keywords the software identified in Think Again by Adam Grant, were humility, engaging, identity, agreements, questions, and conversation. These are rich and engaging themes in the book. What’s more striking is they are also themes we aspire to in the book club.
There are three standout things about Think Again:
- Grant offers “Actions for Impact” at the back of the book, which neatly summarizes thirty critical takeaways from the main text. This provides an excellent guide for a book club where you don’t expect everyone to have finished the book (get out of our heads, Adam Grant!).
- Grant has a wicked good sense of humor (a tribute to NewBoCo’s Massachusetts-born Chief Relationship Officer, David Tominsky).
- It is an accessible yet well-supported and researched piece of work. Grant could have made this much harder to understand. Thank you, sir.
One of the things the book highlights is how critical we can be when people change their minds about something. We call them “flip-floppers,” or “unable to commit,” or “unsure.” Instead, Think Again promotes changing your mind and thinking about things differently than your habits may demand. What we are saying when we change our minds is “I have more information; therefore, I’m changing my stance.” Isn’t that what we want our leaders to do? The text promotes these shifts with ideas like “think like a scientist,” encouraging questions and tactics to facilitate conversations at home and work.
Grant also reminds us to laugh a bit in this process. Leslie noted, “well, first of all, I love his sense of humor—oh, God. And so, his section that’s called ‘Stranded at the Summit of Mount Stupid’ made me laugh.” The book is full of tongue-in-cheek titles, comics, and stories that punctuate key points and highlight the humility needed to rethink as a human.
Leslie went on to say the power in the section called “What Goldilocks got Wrong about Humility,” “because so much of the mythology around leadership is that you sort of automatically know, right? And, and so much of, frankly, what [is] exciting and energizing about leadership [is] the nonstop learning.”
It highlights a different way of learning, where instead of feeling the pressure to know, we get curious. We exercise our question-asking abilities, admit we aren’t walking internet reference engines, and are authentic in our conversations. If you have ever fallen prey to pretending you know something about a topic because you think you should, you are not alone.
On that same note, Grant takes on the complex topic of identity and presents identity foreclosure. Identity foreclosure is when we settle prematurely on a sense of self without enough due diligence and close our minds to alternative selves. And, how limiting that is. He frames it with the age-old question most of us probably drew a picture about in kindergarten, what do you want to be when you grow up?
He points out that asking people what they want to do rather than what they want to be is more helpful. To be something is a finite concept; to do something is more fluid and open-ended. We aren’t stuck on a course just because of one decision about the college major we chose; we can explore.
Our discussion led us down paths of constructed realities, leadership lessons, times we have fallen short, and other books connected to our studies. We both agreed this is a book we will take into the curricula we develop for clients and the work we do for different universities. As we were wrapping up, I noted, “this book prompted me to think about all the things that connect to this idea of how we think and construct the world around us and how we engage in people and engage with people as a result. I am super excited to keep digging into it, honestly. . . . I really like this one. I think this is one I’ll probably refer back to several times.”
This book was so easy to process and read in the way Grant presents it; it is timely for where we are in the world right now. Between domestic and global shifts, we have a lot to process. The thinking that got us here may not get us to where we want to be. We may need to Think Again. This book will help.
The “I Mostly Read It” Book Club thinks again every third Wednesday of the month over zoom so you can join from anywhere in the world. If you feel ready to engage in a discussion on topics around leadership and innovation against the backdrop of a great book, join us!
Learn more by visiting the NewBoCo Events Calendar and checking out our upcoming reads. And support your local bookseller by buying local! For example, we love Next Page Books here in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Thank you to our Innovation Sponsor, Frontier Natural Products Co-Op, for making this book club possible.