Create the Future
I have to start this review with a true story that occurred just minutes before I started reading this book and taking notes for the book review.
So, You Think You’re Already a Disruptive Thinker? Think Again.
When I opened the envelope from the publisher, this is what I pulled out. I placed it on a pile of books just like that.
When I finally picked up the book and opened it —
I saw this write up.
But wait! The book title I’m looking at says “The Innovator’s Handbook”. The summary they sent me says “Create the Future”.
Did they send the wrong summary with the book?
So, I go to Amazon to pull the link for The Innovation Handbook by Jeremy Gutsche, Forward by Malcolm Gladwell.
Wait? What? White book? Why does it say Create the Future + The Innovation Handbook by Jeremy Gutsche, Forward by Malcolm Gladwell?
Where is the BLACK BOOK that I have sitting in front of me?
It took me about 15 minutes to realize that this was really two books in one.
So here’s what happened.
I thumbed through the black book from beginning to “end” and then realized that the book ended halfway through and the next page was… UPSIDE DOWN
They got me!
I always thought I was a creative or innovative thinker. And my assumptions about how things are made me experience the very purpose of this book.
I’m almost sorry that I spoiled the experience for you. Perhaps you’ll forget all about this, other than to realize that you want this book.
Let me tell you how to use it.
Read the white side first, “Create the Future”. This is where you’ll find the forward by Malcolm Gladwell and the intellectual set-up for the black part of the book, which is a sort of workbook.
Once you get through Gladwell’s forward and Gutsche’s personal story, you get to the meat and purpose of “Create the Future” which is “The 7 Traps of Path Dependency”.
- The Subtlety of Opportunity. Where you realize that you aren’t stupid you’re just missing the subtle clues of shift leading to opportunity.
- Neurological Shortcuts: Where you learn that your brain is constantly sabotaging your creativity.
- The Ease of Inaction: Where you realize you don’t really like learning new things.
- Optionality: Where you realize that choices you make daily can radically impact the future.
- The Traps of Success: Where you learn to swap doing what make you successful in the past, to taking on what will create opportunity in the future.
- Linear Thinking: Where you should be preparing for acceleration rather than change.
- Discomfort vs Breakthrough: Where you embrace that breakthroughs happen outside your comfort zone.
Then, flip the book over and dig into Part 2.
The second side of the book, “The Innovation Handbook” is really the award winning book, “Exploiting Chaos” by Jeremy Gutsche.
Tactics and Ideas If You Dare
This part of the book contains 150 ways to spark innovation. In this section, you’ll find interesting stories, facts and tidbits that are curated for the sole purpose of making you stop, think and reflect.
Each page starts with an instructive header and then follows with a short story designed to prompt reflection.
As you move through the second part of the book, you are introduced to little exercises and tactics that you can swipe and adapt for your own business.
One of the things that drives me crazy is when experts and authors collapse strategies and tactics. When you can’t tell the difference between strategies and tactics, you’re bound to bring confusion and overwhelm into your business.
Gutsche doesn’t do that.
What you’ll get are thoughts, questions and challenges that you can use to shift your perspective and framework.
Trend Hunting — It’s a Thing
While I wasn’t immediately familiar with Jeremy Gutsche, I was already a big fan of Trend Hunter where he is the CEO.
TrendHunter.com is a crowd-sourced trend firm with 200,000 idea hunters spread around the world. It’s an exceptional source of information and inspiration for a business of any size.
His journey into coming up with creative ideas was inspired by his dad’s skill of always looking for overlooked opportunities.
But Gutsche wasn’t just an idea guy, he had plenty of corporate experience, too. At the age of 28, he was one of Capital One’s youngest directors in charge of innovation.
Now, in this super-two-fer book combination you can benefit from Gutsche’s collection of advice and exercises that just might crack open a new opportunity that you hadn’t considered.
The Most Frustrating Thing is the Best Thing
The most frustrating thing about this book is also what makes it so successful.
They two books in one flip format does two things; proves the point of how fixed we are in traditional formats of
how things are supposed to work” and it can be a bit challenging to navigate if you haven’t been told “how to read the book.”
The table of contents is a bit confusing depending on which side you start reading first. So if you’re one of those people who doesn’t “do directions”, you might be a bit confused to start.
But, this is a very petty criticism.
Overall the heft, the design, readability and applicability of the book is outstanding.
Create the Future is a Keeper
I’m very particular about the books I keep. If I’m not careful, I could literally bury myself in books.
This is why I always ask myself this question.
Is this book something I’m going to need to reference again?
I promise, your answer will be yes and here’s why:
It’s two books in one. There are thought-prompts that you’ll want to come back to over and over and you’ll use it to help your business, to creatively innovate with customers and clients.
“Create the Future” is a book you’ll want to pick up on one of those rainy weekends as you sit and ponder on the couch. But be sure to have a notebook with you so that you can jot down your ideas!