Adam Grant is an organizational psychologist at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and the bestselling author of Give and Take, Originals, and Think Again. I recently asked him about his approach to writing, applying principles of persuasion from his book Think Again, and how some of his ideas relate to Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism.
Jon Hersey: Dr. Grant, thank you for taking the time to speak with me.
Adam Grant: First, please call me Adam. I don’t answer to anything else. And second, thank you for your extraordinarily thoughtful review of Think Again in Quillette. It’s in a league of its own in terms of how much I’ve learned from it about my own book and my own thinking. And it’s the kind of review that I wish everyone would write when they sit down to evaluate a book.
Hersey: Well, I have to give you much of the credit because you wrote an excellent book on the power of rethinking, and it motivated me to completely rethink that review about five times before I felt comfortable with it.
Grant: I’m honored that it struck a chord, and I will try to live up to it. And don’t let your enthusiasm stand in the way of challenging me to rethink things. Frankly, one of my favorite things about talking with people about this topic is that every time I have a conversation about these ideas, it’s a chance to learn something new. So, I look forward to you pushing and stretching my thinking.
Hersey: In your book Originals, you talk about how procrastination is often part of an incubation period that enhances creativity; and with Think Again, you discuss the power of rethinking even your dearly held views. I wonder how many people come to you and thank you for giving them scientific backing for thinking that things traditionally viewed as vices—such as procrastination or indecisiveness—are actually virtues. . . .