Be Fearless: 5 Principles for a Life of Breakthroughs and PurposeBy Jean Case. Simon & Schuster, 2019.

Lots of people have great ideas for innovations and breakthroughs. But they are often stymied by self-defeating notions that they first need genius, wealth or the right social connections to make it happen. Jean Case looks at real-life success stories to dispel this myth, arguing that innovators share five important traits: They bet big, take risks, learn from failures, venture beyond their comfort zones and let the urgency for change conquer their fear. And Ms. Case should know—she left a secure GE executive gig to help lead a then-unknown startup called AOL.

 

The Creative Curve: How to Develop the Right Idea, at the Right Time. By Allen Gannett. Currency, 2018.

Conventional wisdom suggests that creativity is simply innate. Allen Gannett, named to “30 Under 30” lists by both Inc. and Forbes, instead argues that creativity is a predictable science predicated on taking the familiar and turning it into something fresh—the way Star Wars took the Western genre and set it in space. Citing examples as varied as the founder of Reddit and Michelin-star chefs, Mr. Gannett, who founded a marketing analytics firm, explains that creativity is the result of becoming familiar with a field, imitating successful predecessors, iterating and refining ideas, and finding a community of collaborators.

 

 

The Fate of Food: What We’ll Eat in a Bigger, Hotter, Smarter World. By Amanda Little. Harmony, 2019.

Droughts, floods and storms will continue to beset the global food supply. And, as the world population swells past 9 billion, food production may have to increase by up to 70%, according to the United Nations. How are we going to feed everybody? Amanda Little, a journalism professor at Vanderbilt University, traveled to 11 countries to research food-production innovations, from large-scale organic farms to labs growing cultured meat via cellular agriculture. Ultimately, a solution exists, she says—as long as we take charge and innovate.

 

 

 

This article appeared in the Winter 2020 issue of Insigniam Quarterly, with the headline “How to Stay Ahead of the Game.” To begin receiving IQ, go here.

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