Original thinking

Richard Branson's Literati book club November 2020 pick - Originals by Adam Grant
Virgin Galactic
Richard Branson's signature
Published on 2 November 2020

After launching hundreds of businesses – from airlines to trains, music to mobile, health clubs to spacelines – my biggest challenges and successes have come from convincing other people to see the world differently. 

Adam Grant’s book Originals will show you how that can be done and will help you inspire creativity and change. It’s the reason I picked it for my second Literati book club choice.

Richard Branson's Literati book club choice - Originals by Adam Grant

Adam is one of the most original thinkers I’ve had the chance to meet. You can almost see his mind ticking over and processing information in original and fascinating ways when you talk to him. He interviewed me onstage when I released Finding My Virginity and I was just as keen to ask questions of him as he was of me. Adam’s book is full of intriguing case studies of people who have gone against the grain, backed their unique ideas and improved the world by doing so. It’s an eye-opening read, and as a non-conformist myself, it reminded me just how wonderful it is to be different.

One of my favourite discussions in Adam’s book is around the theme of creativity. He explains how the more familiar you are with something, the less creative you are likely to be. He uses thoughtful examples to show how creativity can charge innovation – Galileo’s skills as an artist allowed him to see mountains on the moon, for example, when many of his colleagues couldn’t. 

Adam Grant and Sara Blakely cheer on their team during the 2019 Strive Challenge for Big Change
Adam Slama

This doesn’t mean that being creative always yields good ideas – in fact, Adam dispels this myth by showing the amount of ideas many great innovators and creatives have produced (think of Edison’s 1,093 patents) before they landed on the brilliant one. 

Being creative and trying new things is also the central theme of Finding My Virginity. I agree that it can be really easy to get comfortable in life and to only do things inside your comfort zone. But, like Adam, I’m convinced the magic doesn’t happen here.

A young, bearded Richard Branson in the studio with his arm raised

I’m looking forward to discussing the book throughout November. If you want to join in, head over to Literati.