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Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries [NOOK Book]

Overview

What do Apple CEO Steve Jobs, comedian Chris Rock, prize-winning architect Frank Gehry, and the story developers at Pixar films all have in common? Bestselling author Peter Sims found that rather than start with a big idea or plan a whole project in advance, they make a methodical series of little bets, learning critical information from lots of little failures and from small but significant wins.

Reporting on a fascinating range of research, ...
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Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries

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Overview

What do Apple CEO Steve Jobs, comedian Chris Rock, prize-winning architect Frank Gehry, and the story developers at Pixar films all have in common? Bestselling author Peter Sims found that rather than start with a big idea or plan a whole project in advance, they make a methodical series of little bets, learning critical information from lots of little failures and from small but significant wins.

Reporting on a fascinating range of research, from the psychology of creative blocks to the influential field of design thinking, Sims offers engaging and illuminating accounts of breakthrough innovators at work, and a whole new way of thinking about how to navigate uncertain situations and unleash our untapped creative powers.
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Editorial Reviews

Peter Georgescu
"Little Bets is a timely and compelling book that will change the way you think, a roadmap to success in the 21st century. And, a very enjoyable read."
New York Times bestselling author ofThe Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything - Sir Ken Robinson
"A fascinating and revealing journey through the real-life dynamics of the creative process. Vividly written and bustling with examples from comedy to architecture, Little Bets is a wonderful example of itself: a big idea that takes shape through many small discoveries. I highly recommend it for anyone with a serious interest in cultivating creativity in business, education or in their own lives."
Howard Schultz
"I have always believed that constant innovation is core to success. The methods Peter Sims provides in the highly engaging Little Bets will help you challenge the status quo and discover extraordinary new possibilities in whatever endeavor you're engaged in."
Chip Heath
“Want a big idea? Start little. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or an artist, Peter Sims shows you how big breakthroughs start with little bets.”
Wendy Kopp
“I really can't say enough about this book; Little Bets rings so true to my own experience at Teach For America. Peter Sims does a huge service by showing the world how big entrepreneurial and innovative successes come to be — and in the process reveals ways of thinking that aren't the product of anything elusive or enigmatic but rather of traits we can all learn and foster, such as openness, inquisitiveness, and perseverance.”
Robert I. Sutton
“Peter Sims buries the myth that big talkers with brains and big ideas move industry and science forward. This modern masterpiece demonstrates that the most powerful and profitable ideas are produced by persistent people who mess with lots of little ideas and keep muddling forward until they get it right. Little Bets is easily the most delightful and useful innovation book published in the last decade.”
Daniel H. Pink
"With examples that range from traditional businesses to stand-up comedians, Peter Sims shows that the path to big success is lined with small failures. Behind every breakthrough idea is often a host of experiments that flopped — and Sims shows how to leverage these "little bets" to produce lasting results. This is a powerful and practical book."
Jonah Lehrer
“In Little Bets, Peter Sims convincingly argues that we need a new model of creativity, focused around gradual improvement and constant innovation. If you're not learning while doing, Sims points out, then you're probably doing it wrong.”
Bill George
“Peter Sims’ exciting new book, Little Bets,is replete with stunning insights about innovation and the remarkable benefits of backing many creative initiatives that yield the big breakthrough. Corporate leaders everywhere can benefit from his sound advice.”
Alan M. Webber
"'Little Bets' is a big idea. Here's my bet: if you're passionate about innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship, you need to read this book!"
From the Publisher
"Diverse and uplifting—-a veritable gumball machine of memorable anecdotes to inspire creativity." —-Kirkus
New York Times bestselling author ofThe Element Sir Ken Robinson
"A fascinating and revealing journey through the real-life dynamics of the creative process. Vividly written and bustling with examples from comedy to architecture, Little Bets is a wonderful example of itself: a big idea that takes shape through many small discoveries. I highly recommend it for anyone with a serious interest in cultivating creativity in business, education or in their own lives."
New York Times bestselling author ofThe Element Sir Ken Robinson
"A fascinating and revealing journey through the real-life dynamics of the creative process. Vividly written and bustling with examples from comedy to architecture, Little Bets is a wonderful example of itself: a big idea that takes shape through many small discoveries. I highly recommend it for anyone with a serious interest in cultivating creativity in business, education or in their own lives."
New York Times bestselling author ofThe Element Sir Ken Robinson
"A fascinating and revealing journey through the real-life dynamics of the creative process. Vividly written and bustling with examples from comedy to architecture, Little Bets is a wonderful example of itself: a big idea that takes shape through many small discoveries. I highly recommend it for anyone with a serious interest in cultivating creativity in business, education or in their own lives."
Bill George
“Peter Sims’ exciting new book, Little Bets,is replete with stunning insights about innovation and the remarkable benefits of backing many creative initiatives that yield the big breakthrough. Corporate leaders everywhere can benefit from his sound advice.”
Library Journal
Google, Pixar, Apple, NBC's Tim Russert, Chris Rock, and others are used as examples of "little bets" to create new ideas and improve them again and again. Sims (Stanford Inst. of Design, Summit Partners) presents an interesting collection of examples (Failing Quickly, Genius of Play, Design Thinking) to support the various successes. Unfortunately, the roles of timing or circumstance or dumb luck are never addressed. Therefore, one should not expect to confuse the use of little bets with sure bets in the innovation process. Read by John Allen Nelson, the audiobook is recommended with reservations for a discerning listen by innovation practitioners expecting to enhance (not replace) his/her innovation tool kit.—M. Gail Preslar, formerly with Eastman Chemical Co. Business Lib., Kingsport, TN
Kirkus Reviews

Small, calculated risks lead to game-changing innovation in this collection of case studies from the co-author ofTrue North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership(2007).

Readers who wonder how Amazon reached its first $10 billion quarter while Borders filed for bankruptcy will want to read this guide to sustainable growth culled from interviews with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and 200 other leaders in innovation. According to Sims, Amazon developed its Associates program, which rewards other websites for sending buyers to Amazon, using the same method of trial and error that comedian Chris Rock uses to hone his stand-up routine. The key, as the title suggests, is to make a series of little bets that turn small losses into big wins over time. The author draws from a wide range of sources, from micro-lending to military operations, to illustrate the creative process that turned Pixar from a struggling computer-hardware company into a popular animated-film company and inspired architect Frank Gehry to build the spectacular Disney Hall in Los Angeles. Citing the wisdom of Everett Rogers, who coined the term "early adopters," and contemporary thinkers like Silicon Valley's Eric Ries, Sims packs a lot of scholarly research into a short number of pages and comes up a little disjointed. But the back stories are impressive. By showing how experimentation has been instrumental not just in Silicon Valley, but all over the world and long before the Internet, Sims' research could inspire even the stodgiest corporation to take a risk.

Diverse and uplifting—a veritable gumball machine of memorable anecdotes to inspire creativity.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781439170441
  • Publisher: Free Press
  • Publication date: 4/19/2011
  • Sold by: SIMON & SCHUSTER
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 317,693
  • File size: 4 MB

Meet the Author

Peter Sims is the coauthor with Bill George of the Wall Street Journal and BusinessWeek bestselling book True North.  His work has appeared in the Harvard Business Review, Fortune, and TechCrunch and he is a contributor to the Reuters and Harvard Business Review blogs.  He received an M.B.A. from Stanford Business School where he and several classmates established a popular course on leadership.  He has spoken or advised at such organizations as Cisco Systems, Eli Lilly, Current Media, Molson Coors, Qualcomm, and Frost & Sullivan.  Previously, Peter worked in venture capital with Summit Partners, a leading investment company, and was part of the team that established the firm’s London Office. 
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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

1 Big Bets versus Little Bets 19

2 The Growth Mind-set 35

3 Failing Quickly to Learn Fast 51

4 The Genius of Play 65

5 Problems Axe the New Solutions 77

6 Questions Are the New Answers 97

7 Learning a Little from a Lot 117

8 Learning a Lot from a Little 131

9 Small Wins 141

10 Conclusion 153

Further Readings and Resources 163

Notes 179

In Gratitude 203

Index 205

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2012

    Encouraging read

    You'll feel much better about doing smaller incremental steps after reading this book. Nice counterpoint to "go big or go home" pundits.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2011

    Terrific writing, wide range of great stories

    This is an incredibly well written book that debunks the idea of the "lone genius" and shows you how to use calculated small bets to make changes or improvements in your work which will eventually reveal your big breakthrough idea. Sims is a passionate advocate for rethinking our outmoded notion of creativity which limits its use to so-called creative fields. Highly recommend for people in all lines of work and at all level of the management food chain.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 7, 2011

    I really enjoyed this book

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    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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