This past week, I tried something new — I listened to an audiobook, with the intent of finishing one in a week and starting another, thereby setting up a system where I can do one per week. But, instead of using it to pass time in the car, on a plane, or while I was invested in some other activity, I listened (1.3x speed) and took notes. My thought was (1) I can spare 5-6 hours in a week and (2) I may actually retain more of the information. I was right about that second part and here are my 30 pgs of notes to prove it.
My choice was Dream Teams, the new book by Shane Snow. It looks at the make-up of the most high performing teams, in virtually any capacity. Snow weaves the usual research about brainstorming and neuroscience into his narratives, but with a twist. From taking notes, I noticed his storytelling structure. Each of the eight chapters consisted of 7-9 distinct parts, with three seemingly unrelated, yet interweaving stories. And he does it all with a serialized narrative, as each chapter presents a theory that becomes a cliffhanger for the next chapter.
As for the subject matter, Snow’s theory, whether it be office teams, police, civil and human rights movements, pirates, corporate mergers, the Wu-Tang Clan, or the Soviet hockey team, is that teams with both intellectual humility and the willingness to openly discuss disagreements are the best of the best. It made me think of the actual “Dream Team”, the 1992 USA Olympic basketball team full of the best individual players in the NBA. We tend to think the the most dense collection of the best talent would be the best team. However, being talented and being a great teammate are two completely different things. Turns out, there’a a very complicated, very human science to team “perfection”.
I definitely recommend the book and hope to do another one for next week.
Founder, The Idea Enthusiast. Speaker, Trainer, Facilitator, and writer about all things creative consulting. DC-based consultant to individuals who want to be more creative, teams who want to collaborate without fear, and anyone who wants to deliver the best pitches and presentations.