Simply Brilliant: How Great Organizations Do Ordinary Things in Extraordinary Ways. William C. Taylor. Portfolio.

Simply Brilliant: How Great Organizations Do Ordinary Things in Extraordinary Ways Book Cover Simply Brilliant: How Great Organizations Do Ordinary Things in Extraordinary Ways
William C. Taylor
Portfolio
September 20, 2016
Hardcover
272
9781591847755

Far away from Silicon Valley, in familiar, traditional, even unglamorous fields, ordinary people are unleashing extraordinary advances that amaze customers, energize employees, and create huge economic value. Their secret? They understand that the work of inventing the future doesn’t just belong to geeks designing mobile apps and virtual-reality headsets, or to social-media entrepreneurs hoping to launch the next Facebook. Some of today’s most compelling organizations are doing brilliant things in simple settings such as retail banks, office cleaning companies, department stores, small hospitals, and auto dealerships.

William C. Taylor, cofounder of Fast Company and best-selling author of Practically Radical, travelled thousands of miles to visit these hotbeds of simple brilliance and unearth the principles and practices behind their success. He offers fascinating case studies and powerful lessons that you can apply to do ordinary things in extraordinary ways regardless of your industry or profession. Consider, for instance, how…

  • Miami Beach’s dazzling 1111 Lincoln Road reimagined the humble parking garage as a high-profile public space that hosts weddings, yoga classes, and celebrity gatherings.
  • USAA, the financials-services giant that provides soldiers and their families with insurance and banking products, inspires front-line employees to deliver legendary service by immersing them in military culture.
  • Pal’s Sudden Service, a fast-food chain with a cult following, serves up burgers and fries with such speed and accuracy that companies from other industries pay to learn from its astonishing discipline.
  • Lincoln Electric, a manufacturer based in Euclid, Ohio, dominates its ultra competitive markets with a fierce devotion to quality and productivity. But the key to its prosperity is a share-the-wealth model that gives everybody a sense of security and a piece of the action. It has maintained a strict no-layoff pledge since 1958.

As Taylor writes: “the story of this book, its message for leaders who aim to do something important and build something great, is both simple and subversive: in a time of wrenching disruptions and exhilarating advances, of unrelenting turmoil and unlimited promise, the future is open to everybody. The thrill of breakthrough creativity and breakaway performance… can be summoned in all sorts of industries and all walks of life, if leaders can reimagine what’s possible in their fields.” Simply Brilliant shows you how.

William C. Taylor is the cofounder of Fast Company, author of Practically Radical, and co-author of Mavericks at Work. He has published essays and interviews with CEOs in the Harvard Business Review, and blogs regularly for HBR. He has written management columns for the Sunday Business section of the New York Times and for the Guardian. A graduate of Princeton and the MIT Sloan School of Management, he lives in Wellesley, Massachusetts, with his wife and two daughters.