Originals: What I Learned From Adam Grant

I found “Originals” by Adam Grant to be a frustrating, fascinating, and, ultimately, a very satisfying book.  Perhaps it was satisfying because it offers plenty of ways for validation.  However, when I reached the end I was surprised at the depth of my emotional commitment I had developed while reading.

The true confessions of a father deserve their own series of posts at some point, but let’s just say that I am not perfect.  “Originals” can be frustrating because it offers constant reminders of places where I fall short.  I should be a better teacher to my kids.  I should handle rejection and criticism in different ways.  I should be more creative and original (I’m the youngest child so I have no excuse)!  I wish the author would have delved deeper into some topics, and offered more advise on how to change if we find ourselves lacking.

Despite its limitations, “Originals” offered plenty of balm for my troubled heart.  Katie got tired of my readings that justified one behavior or another.  Procrastination can be a good thing!  The power of negative thinking (it was about here that Katie stopped listening to me)!  I confess that I loved the Bridgewater Associates section, and Ray Dalio’s insistence that the social scientists view of experimentation was not necessary (by the way, kudos to Adam Grant for publishing this part).

How to reconcile large parts of the book that were frustrating, and the other parts of the book that seemed to justify some of my questionable behavior?  The answer comes in the last sentence, “Becoming original is not the easiest path in the pursuit of happiness, but it leaves us perfectly poised for the happiness of pursuit.”  I found the book ultimately very satisfying because of its humanity.  Life is a journey that we can choose to enjoy.  We all fall short of expectations in some ways, and we all face moments of darkness.  For me, finding peace and happiness in the journey is the real lesson.

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