Steve Pollack Book Review | Rebel Talent by Francesca Gino

“When we challenge ourselves to move beyond what we know and can do well, we rebel against the comfortable cocoon of the status quo, improving ourselves and positioning ourselves to contribute more to our partners, coworkers, and organizations” Francesca Gino

The author of Rebel Talent, Francesca Gino, is a behavioral scientist and professor at Harvard Business School who spent more than a decade studying high-performing rebels from every walk of life all over the world. Gino's research led her to this conclusion: Despite being perceived as “troublemakers” who defy the status quo and disagree when everyone else is in agreement, rebels can make the world a better place with the spirit of innovation and reinvention they embody. These rebellious world-changers possess five rebel talents Gino defines as

Novelty
Curiosity
Perspective
Diversity
Authenticity

Rebel Talent: Why It Pays to Break the Rules at Work and in Life presents a number of real-life examples of successful individuals who rejected what was familiar or traditional to “break the rules.” Gino uses the craft of storytelling as a powerful tool to present her case that the future belongs to the rebel—and that there is a rebel in each of us with the potential to bring meaningful disruption that ultimately adds value to our relationships at work, at home and in the world at large.

For individuals in positions of leadership, Rebel Talent offers a rethinking of the traditional top-down management style, arguing that hierarchies can be costly and ineffective. She argues that steep hierarchies have been linked to lower job satisfaction, morale, and motivation, as well as reduced employee loyalty and more stress and anxiety among workers.

In place of hierarchical rigidity, Gino presents Eight Principles of Rebel Leadership:

1. Seek Out the New
2. Encourage Construction Dissent
3. Open Conversations, Don’t Close Them
4. Reveal Yourself – and Reflect
5. Learn Everything – Then Forget Everything
6. Find Freedom in Constraints
7. Lead From the Trenches
8. Foster Happy Accidents

Whether your goal is to inspire others to meaningful action, grow your entrepreneurial start-up, or just improve your interpersonal relationships, Rebel Talent provides an excellent guide to breaking the rules and making room for innovation and reinvention.

-Steve Pollack

 

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