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The Surprising Habits of Original Thinkers by Adam Grant (Full Transcript)

Adam Grant at TED Talks

Here is the full text and summary of Wharton professor Adam Grant’s talk: The Surprising Habits of Original Thinkers at TED Talk 2016 conference.

Listen to the MP3 Audio here:


Seven years ago, a student came to me and asked me to invest in his company. He said, “I’m working with three friends, and we’re going to try to disrupt an industry by selling stuff online.”

And I said, “OK, you guys spent the whole summer on this, right?”

“No, we all took internships just in case it doesn’t work out.”

“All right, but you’re going to go in full time once you graduate.”

“Not exactly. We’ve all lined up backup jobs.”

Six months go by, it’s the day before the company launches, and there is still not a functioning website. “You guys realize, the entire company is a website. That’s literally all it is.”

So I obviously declined to invest. And they ended up naming the company Warby Parker. They sell glasses online. They were recently recognized as the world’s most innovative company and valued at over a billion dollars. And now? My wife handles our investments.

Why was I so wrong? To find out, I’ve been studying people that I come to call “originals.” Originals are nonconformists, people who not only have new ideas but take action to champion them. They are people who stand out and speak up. Originals drive creativity and change in the world. They’re the people you want to bet on. And they look nothing like I expected.

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