The one-sentence summary
The ability to adapt faster and more intelligently is the difference between winning and just coping.
WHAT THE BOOK SAYS
- The ability to adapt faster and more intelligently is the difference between winning and just coping.
- The author outlines 17 rules in 3 sections, which are:
1. Recognize the need to adapt (many simply don’t)
- Play your own game (get better or change the game)
- All failure is failure to adapt
- Embrace unacceptable wisdom (face the uncomfortable truth)
- F*** with the rules (they are there to be broken or changed)
- Stability is a dangerous illusion (it doesn’t exist)
- Stupid survives until smart succeeds
2. Understand the adaptation required (you need to know what to do)
- Learning fast is better than failing fast
- Plan B matters most (plan A is usually wrong)
- Free radicals (mavericks need to be allowed to flourish)
- Think better together (collective action works best)
- Get a kick-ass partner (people need support to adapt)
3. Do what is necessary to adapt (you can know what’s needed but still not do it)
- Never grow up (mature companies are most likely to atrophy)
- Hierarchy is fossil fuel (usually it stifles the ability to adapt)
- Keep the ball (adaptations come from outside the game – a bit obscure this one)
- Swerve and swarm (from flash mobbing – vary things and gang together)
- Get your ambition on (you need an ambitious aim)
- Always the beginning (the process never ends)
WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT IT
- The brain can adapt, and it’s called neural plasticity. This means you are not set in your ways, and can retrain parts of the brain to do entirely new things.
- Convergents look for one answer to any problem. They tend to generate previously known or predetermined responses – accurate, but expected.
- Divergents create as many answers to a problem as possible. They are radicals who can see new possibilities. Greater diversity usually arises.
- Peter Hedstrom’s models show that the majority doesn’t need to be convinced to generate action. In a typical group of 100 (divided into gangs of 10), if six in the top team decide on something, the other 4 will probably follow. If the top team then convinces 6 other people in 5 other groups, the seeming ‘majority’ is achieved with only 36 people agreeing. Brilliant!
WHAT YOU HAVE TO WATCH
- An obsession with winning pervades much business writing, and this book is no exception.