• Simply Brilliant

  • How Great Organizations Do Ordinary Things in Extraordinary Ways
  • By: William C. Taylor
  • Narrated by: Mark Deakins
  • Length: 6 hrs and 47 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (74 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

There's no such thing as an average or old-fashioned business, just average or old-fashioned ways to do business. In fact the opportunity to reach for extraordinary may be most pronounced in settings that have been far too ordinary for far too long.

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 belong just 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, traveled 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 financial-services giant that provides soldiers and their families with insurance and banking products, inspires frontline 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 ultracompetitive 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.

©2016 William C. Taylor (P)2016 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

“A fascinating look inside companies that are rewriting the rules of success. If you’ve ever wondered whether imagination beats knowledge and passion overcomes ambition, drop what you’re doing and read this book.” (Adam Grant, Wharton professor, author of Originals and Give and Take)

“We've all heard of the garage startup that spawned tech giants like Apple, Amazon, Google. But what about the startup that's actually reinventing the garage? Everyone needs to think and act more like an entrepreneur these days, and Simply Brilliant provides a roadmap for finding inspiration and innovation in the unlikeliest, everyday places.” (Linda Rottenberg, cofounder of Endeavor, author of Crazy Is a Compliment)

"Bill Taylor is back - and he's better than ever! Simply Brilliant describes how to make your organization truly extraordinary by focusing on the values that set you apart from the pack. Brimming with fascinating case studies, this book is essential reading for leaders in every industry.” (Daniel H. Pink, author of Drive and To Sell Is Human)

What listeners say about Simply Brilliant

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Exceptional information

The information was very delightful. The examples he gave makes one want to do more in your organization.

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Very Inspirational

i found this to be very inspirational! many great ideas to take with me for leadership principles.

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Lives up to its name

Fantastic read (listen). Whether you're in business or not, the lessons shared from the role model organizations profiled in this book can be game changers for your organization.

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Simple and Brilliant

Lives up to its name. I've spent years studying how great organizations do ordinary things in extraordinary ways, and I was still surprised and delighted by several of the case studies in this book.

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written by Karl Marx?

I snagged a copy of this book because my company was featured in here. The message was completely distorted. There are a couple of gemss within these pages but it takes a tremendous commitment in time to find them. I recommend moving on to a different book.

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