Monday, August 8, 2016

Originals--Kimberly Sabatini

I think there are a million and one things you can, and probably need to do, to be relevant in the young adult writing space. I'm already seeing some fabulous posts on the topic by my compadres here at YAOTL. But what I love the most about this blog is how we all arrive at our blog posts in original ways. Currently, I'm reading a very interesting book called, ORIGINALS by Adam Grant, that made me think about how being relevant in the YA space requires us to also be original. I'm not done with ORIGINALS yet, but I already want to share it with you. If you're a fan of Malcolm Gladwell, you will probably find this one an interesting read. 

With Give and Take, Adam Grant not only introduced a landmark new paradigm for success but also established himself as one of his generation’s most compelling and provocative thought leaders. In Originals he again addresses the challenge of improving the world, but now from the perspective of becoming original: choosing to champion novel ideas and values that go against the grain, battle conformity, and buck outdated traditions. How can we originate new ideas, policies, and practices without risking it all?

Using surprising studies and stories spanning business, politics, sports, and entertainment, Grant explores how to recognize a good idea, speak up without getting silenced, build a coalition of allies, choose the right time to act, and manage fear and doubt; how parents and teachers can nurture originality in children; and how leaders can build cultures that welcome dissent. Learn from an entrepreneur who pitches his start-ups by highlighting the reasons not to invest, a woman at Apple who challenged Steve Jobs from three levels below, an analyst who overturned the rule of secrecy at the CIA, a billionaire financial wizard who fires employees for failing to criticize him, and a TV executive who didn’t even work in comedy but saved Seinfeld from the cutting-room floor. The payoff is a set of groundbreaking insights about rejecting conformity and improving the status quo.

The reason ORIGINALS has connected with me so far, is the way it debunks some of the myths of originality. We always think being first and the most unique is the only way to be original and successful. 

Not necessarily true. 

There is also a section that references the making of the Lion King and it talks about how some of the most successful projects start with an original idea, but that idea may be too "out there" for the mainstream. Once you have a unique concept, it's helpful to then see if you can get it to fit into a construct that is familiar and relatable. With the Lion King, early drafts weren't going well. But when the writers realized the story could be Hamlet, the whole thing came together. 

This revelation on how to manage your originality has been super helpful for me in my writing. 

It's clear that being relevant in the YA world requires us to be originals. All the stories have been done before. Success comes to the person who can write one of those stories in a unique and relevant way.  Originals is a great book to read if you want to explore this area.

Hope you enjoy this one. I'd love to hear what you think about Originals and I'm also always collecting new reads to fuel my brain and my creativity. Let me know what you've got!


  1. I just read DEEP WORK by Cal Newport. Nothing groundbreaking in terms of theory, but it has some great strategies for managing distraction, which is a huge problem for me. I've been really productive this week using some of them. He cites some of Adam Grant's work.

    1. I read that one too!! And I've managed to incorporate some of his techniques in my day to day.

  2. Will check this out! Thanks for a great post, Kimmie!

  3. You've added another book to my TBR pile! Thanks for writing about Originals!