Rebel Talent looks at why the happiest and most successful professionals are those that break the rules presenting a series of narratives, scientific studies and practical advice for those seeking to push the boundaries of their field.
Rebel Talent by Francesca Gino
Rebel Talent is a book on the power and the nature of human creativity.
Exploring the idea that it pays to break established norms, traditions, rules and rituals, Francesca Gino uses examples from art, science, business, cooking and filmmaking to explore how the most creative professionals often seek to break convention in order to create something truly original.
Below are some of the key insights I took from this book:
Napoleon revolutionised the principles of modern warfare by introducing the corps system which afforded greater freedom down the chain of command.
Like Mark Zuckerberg’s hoodie or shoppers in Milan, those that are seen to break the rules are assumed to be more powerful and high status then others.
Improv works on the principle that it is ok to be uncomfortable prompting novelty, pleasure and surprise which self-perpetuates creative output.
Many successful companies and professionals become staid and lose their way when they lose their ability to stay curious about the world around them.
Instead, be like Picasso who mastered the rules, never lost his curiosity and even invented false restrictions like painting in blue for a full year.
Knowledge and formal training automatically filters our reality and impacts performance so instead engage in counterfactual thinking to stay humble like an amateur.
Diversity in the workplace doesn’t always lead to cognitive diversity as a result of unconscious bias yet when a workplace is truly diverse then better ideas are able to come to the fore as at Pixar.
Authenticity is just as important in creativity as we often improve in areas that we are strongest faster than areas where we are weakest.
The power of narrative is highly important in creating and maintaining a creative culture where ideas, opinions and criticisms can be openly expressed with genuine respect.
To be a creative leader it’s important to seek out the new, encourage creative criticism, ask questions and lead from the front mimicking the approach of Blackbeard or Napoleon whose credibility rested on their talent rather than formal hierarchy.