Book review: Best Practices are Stupid by Stephen Shapiro

Innovation is a term that gets thrown around a lot but it also seems like there is very little new in this area. You keep hearing the same old advice, the same brainstorming exercises, the same admonitions to just open that suggestion box and get everybody in the workplace to contribute their ideas.

In other words, it seems like the field of innovation is somewhat lacking in innovation.

Well, today an excellent new book comes out to change all that. It’s called Best Practices are Stupid – 40 Ways to Out-Innovate the Competition by Stephen Shapiro and it will challenge everything you think you know about innovation.

I’ve had a chance to read and advance copy and I was blown away by all the great advice in the book. It outlines clearly what any workplace – big or small, private or public – needs to do to become more innovative.

The book is easy to read and the advice is clearly outlined and accessible. It has 40 chapters each of which challenges one of our preconceived notions about innovation.

Here are some of my favorite examples from the book:
Hire people you donít like. Because the people you like the least are the people you need the most.

Asking for ideas is a bad idea. Define challenges more clearly. If you ask better questions, you will get better answers.

The performance paradox. When organizations hyper focus on their goals, they are less likely to achieve those goals.

Expertise is the enemy of innovation. The more you know about a particular topic, the more difficult it is for you to think about it in a different way.

Basically, this book should be your new innovation bible. Read more about the book and buy it here.

3 thoughts on “Book review: Best Practices are Stupid by Stephen Shapiro”

  1. I totally agree that a narrow focus on goals doesn’t lead to the results you want (either on a personal or corporate level). The greatest focus should be on the purpose – the bigger picture of why you are doing what you are doing rather than just the individual milestones.


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