A Financial Times Book of the Month: "An enchanting book about how to question the conventional, challenge the status quo, and unlock the creative solutions right under your nose." --Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Originals, Give and Take, and Option B with Sheryl Sandberg
"Unsafe Thinking delivers an array of fresh insights on creativity, motivation, and staying in 'flow.' Packed with powerful case studies, it will propel you out of your rut and onto a path of better, sharper thinking." -- Daniel H. Pink, author of When and To Sell Is Human
How can you challenge and change yourself when you need it most? We're creatures of habit, programmed by evolution to favor the safe and familiar, especially when the stakes are high. This bias no longer serves us in a world of constant change. In fact, today, safe thinking has become extremely dangerous.
Through stories of trailblazers in business, health, education and activism, and leveraging decades of research into creativity and performance, Jonah Sachs reveals a path to higher performance and creativity for anyone ready to step out of their comfort zone. He introduces troublemakers willing to challenge corporate culture like the executive who convinced CVS to drop its multibillion-dollar tobacco business. She now leads the pharmacy giant. Readers will get firsthand accounts of breaking from the status quo from a Nobel prize winning doctor who nearly got himself thrown out medicine, a two-time NBA championship coach who brought joy back to his team by tuning down the focus on competition, a CEO who rebuilt her reputation and life from the ashes from one of the biggest flops in internet history and a Colombian mayor who started an incredibly successful career of political reform by mooning an angry crowd.
Unsafe Thinking is full of counter-intuitive insights that will challenge you to rethink how you work. You'll learn:
Why your area of deep expertise is often where you'll find your biggest blind spots Why anxiety can be fuel for creativity When to trust intuition and when to challenge it How collaborating only with those that share your values stunts your creativity How to build an organization that embraces intelligent risk. An inspiring and accessible read, Unsafe Thinking has the power to change both the way you approach your work and your life.
Posing the question of why so many people get stuck in conventional, old-fashioned thinking when it comes to work, journalist Sachs argues, energetically but sketchily, that the answer lies in a mixture of fear and habit. He writes that everyone has an ingrained bias to seek safety and approval, and that one needs to develop the courage to approach new challenges in a novel, unproven way. To furnish his audience with examples of people who've done exactly this, Sachs searched for and interviewed innovators identified here as those who eschew safety for breakthrough work. Asking another question is this ability inborn, or can it be learned? Sachs finds that, luckily, it's the latter; and by learning the emotional and intellectual skills needed to take these risks, one can develop the ability to think "unsafely" and pursue one's creativity and passion. Sachs walks through the key components of unsafe thinking, namely courage, motivation, learning, flexibility, morality, and leadership, using his interviewees' stories such as that of a 15-year-old who invented a new method to detect the onset of Alzheimer's to illustrate his points. The writing is lively, but the information is more generically inspirational than it is concrete. Aspiring innovators may have more success looking elsewhere.