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Little Bets

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Little Bets

How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries

Free Press,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Text available

What's inside?

Great ideas don’t start out that way. You have to build them.

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If you think you have nothing in common with comedian Chris Rock, the late Steve Jobs, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, architect Frank Gehry, or the geniuses at Google or Pixar, think again. Each of these stars from the worlds of business and entertainment achieved success through “little bets” – a creative, small-steps approach to thinking that helps them develop their products, services, or art. Innovators who use little bets are not afraid to experiment, to take chances or even to fail. They don’t start out with a big idea – they discover it along the way. In this brightly written, fast-paced book, author and entrepreneur Peter Sims explains the secrets of small risks and how they can help you realize your dreams in business, art, or whatever field you choose. getAbstract learned from this eye-opening primer on creative thinking and places a little bet that budding entrepreneurs will, too.


What Are “Little Bets”?

Chris Rock is a successful comedian, but inventing his routines is still an arduous process. Rock visits small comedy clubs to try out rough, untested material. These raw, new jokes, whether they succeed or fall flat, are Rock’s little bets – guideposts that give him creative direction. Little bets work for Rock because he is, says economist David Galenson of the University of Chicago, an “experimental innovator” – like the founders of Google, Jeff Bezos of Amazon or even Ludwig van Beethoven. Experimental innovators don’t burst forth with new ideas all at once; instead, they use incremental, see-what-works methods to hone their crafts.

Little bets are effective because people “don’t know what [they] don’t know.” These steps are small achievements that unveil, try out, and build onto creative thoughts and concepts. Little bets are useful in multiple fields, from entertainment to the military to business. They give innovators experience they can use as a foundation for reaching their goals. Little bets are part of “design thinking” – an approach to resolving challenges that mandates working toward answers rather than beginning with them. This...

About the Author

Peter Sims is an acclaimed author and entrepreneur. He's the co-founder of Fuse Corps, an innovative social venture, and was also the co-author of True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership.

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