Mavericks at Work: Why the Most Original Minds In Business Win is a MUST READ business book! The book’s co-authors Polly LaBarre and William C. Taylor are Fast Company alums – Taylor being the co-founder and founding editor of the magazine and LaBarre serving as a senior editor for over a decade.
Are you ready to put your “maverick” boots on, find out what your company’s true offering is and take the steps you need to harness the power of your business at its best?
Are you interested in how Southwest Airlines, HBO, Whole Foods Market, GSD&M, Craigslist, Potbelly Sandwich Works, Vermont Teddy Bear are mavericks? This book provides fantastic coverage of how those companies and others tapped into their unique offerings to build amazingly successful companies.
The book profiles thirty-two diverse and inspiring organizations, some with as few as a hundred employees and millions in sales and others with thousands of employees and billions in sales.
The book project took the authors over 18 months of traveling the world, logging thousands of miles, researching and interviewing “maverick companies.” In the book’s introduction the authors define maverick companies as the following, “Maverick companies aren’t always the largest in their field; maverick entrepreneurs don’t always make the cover of business magazines. But mavericks do the work that matters most – the work of originality, creativity and experimentation.”
As LaBarre said in our interview, “It’s the authenticity of your value system. You can’t just create these “maverick” ideas, it really does come from examining who you are as an organization and a team and finding those distinctive things about that and making sure you are true to those things.”
“Our definition of success for the book’s project was, “Can we engage people’s imagination and inspire them to be bolder, more ambitious in the right ways and think bigger after they’ve finished the book.”
The answer is YES! This book absolutely engages you to truly understand that at the root of the new business playing field are the companies willing to push the envelope in not only the range of ideas, but in the authenticity and value of those ideas.
According to LaBarre, what pulls all these companies together is the power and originality of their ideas. “The defining idea is the notion that in this world of hyper-competition and non-stop innovation the only way to stand out from the crowd is to do something that’s truly unique.” LaBarre says the authors think of that as “thought leadership.” “You can’t do big things in the marketplace if you’re only content with just doing things a little better than everyone else. Originality — standing for a set of ideas that reshape the sense of what’s possible in your industry is the acid test of strategies.”
“Having the courage to be different, makes all the difference. Mavericks aren’t rebels without a cause, or the sort of rule-breaking revolutionaries in the 90s who just wanted to upset the industry for the sake of breaking rules. It’s companies really standing for something specific like Southwest Airlines standing for democratizing the skies. They’re in the freedom business, not the airline business. One of the most important things about thought leadership is that your value system, those ideas you stand for, define your economic system,” says LaBarre.
This book is applicable to any entrepreneur, company profit or non-profit. The company stories will urge you to identify what your goals are, how you’re going to achieve those goals, and how you’re going to compete.
Get this book, get your boots on, get your iPod tuned to These Boots Are Made for Walking (I prefer the Nancy Sinatra rendition), and start your own maverick journey!
As LaBarre says, “The book is great evidence that small groups of passionate people can do bigger and bigger things.”
Now go and be passionate!