Adam Grant is Wharton’s top-rated teacher. He has been recognized as one of HR’s most influential international thinkers, BusinessWeek‘s favorite professors, the world’s 40 best business professors under 40, and Malcolm Gladwell’s favorite social science writers. Grant was tenured at Wharton while still in his twenties and has been honored with the Excellence in Teaching Award for every class he has taught.

Here I show 7 lessons you can learn from his book:


1) Question the default

Instead of taking the status quo for granted, ask why it exists in the first place. When you remember that rules and systems were created by people, it becomes clear that they’re not set in stone – and you begin to consider how they can be improved.

2) Come up with more ideas

On average, creative geniuses aren’t qualitatively better in their fields than their peers. They simply produced a greater volume of work, which gives them more variation and a higher chance of originality. Many people fail to achieve originality because they only generate a few ideas and then obsess about refining them to perfection.

3) Immerse yourself in a new domain

Originality increases when you broaden your frame of reference. You could learn a new skill, change your job, or experience a different culture.

4) Procrastinate strategically

When you’re generating new ideas, deliberately stop when your progress is incomplete. By taking a break in the middle of your brainstorming process, you’re more likely to engage in divergent thinking and give ideas time to incubate.

5) Seek helpful feedback

When we’ve developed an idea, we’re typically too close to our own tastes – and too far from the audience’s taste – to evaluate it accurately. Run your pitches by peers who can spot the potential and possibilities.

6) Balance your risk portfolio

When you’re going to take a risk in one domain, offset it by being unusually cautious in another realm of your life. This can help you avoid unnecessary gambles.

7) Lead with your weaknesses

When you’re pitching a new idea or speaking up with a suggestion for change, your audience is likely to be skeptical. Being upfront about the downsides of your ideas makes you more trustworthy.

Check 5 more important lessons at

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