Simply Brilliant: How Great Organizations Do Ordinary Things in Extraordinary Ways

The cofounder of Fast Company shows that opportunities for breakaway performance may be closer than you think.

Why should game-changing innovations and high-powered success stories be the exclusive domain of a few technology-driven start-ups or a handful of Silicon Valley billionaires? Today, argues bestselling author William C. Taylor, the thrill of radical creativity can be summoned in all sorts of industries and all walks of life, if leaders can reimagine what’s possible in their fields. Taylor goes inside fifteen unique organizations that are doing extraordinary things in some pretty ordinary fields. For example:

  • An award-winning hospital and healthcare system in Anchorage that has produced remarkable health outcomes among the long-troubled Alaska Native population. The secret is not advanced technology, but a renewed sense of humanity.
  • Miami Beach’s 1111 Lincoln Road is a parking garage that also serves as a wedding venue, shopping center, and social hub. Its design turns something drab into something fab.
  • USAA, the legendary financial-services brand for soldiers, teaches employees to relate to their customers by immersing them in military culture. It’s more than just a company, it’s a cause.
  • Pal’s Sudden Service, a fast-food chain with a cult following, delivers such unprecedented order speed and accuracy that other companies pay to learn from its success.

Taylor demonstrates that these very different organizations share a set of principles that allow them to break new ground in traditional fields. They don’t try to be the best at what others already do; they strive to be the only ones who do what they do. They don’t let what they know limit what they can imagine. They don’t just think differently from the competition, they care more as well. They understand that the allies they enlist matter more than the power they exert. By embracing these strategies, Taylor argues, leaders in any field can win big and prosper.

What others are saying about Simply Brilliant:

A fascinating look inside companies that are rewriting the rules of success. If you’ve ever wondered whether imagination trumps knowledge and passion beats ambition, drop what you’re doing and read this book. –Adam Grant, Wharton professor and New York Times bestselling author of Originals and Give and Take

Simply Brilliant is, well, simply brilliant! Bill Taylor empowers us with a set of basic, first-order principles in action—on the virtues of kindness, humility, and empathy—that turbocharge, and often trump, all of the more complex ideas we teach in business schools. A must read! –Len Schlesinger Baker Foundation Professor, Harvard Business School, and President Emeritus, Babson College

Simply Brilliant is just that--real examples of the journey from ordinary to extraordinary. Bill Taylor challenges us to think differently about elevating our organizations to be truly distinctive in what we do and how we do it. His book inspires us to accept that challenge. –Sandra L. Fenwick President and CEO, Boston Children's Hospital

I love this book so much. Greatness (!) from real people (!) in the most un-Silicon Valley (!) markets and locations imaginable. Wow! –Tom Peters, coauthor of In Search of Excellence

Bill Taylor has done it again. This book is going to change your business forever—when you read it, you'll understand. –Seth Godin, author of Linchpin

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,Simply Brilliant is essential reading for leaders in every industry. –Daniel H. Pink, bestselling author of DRIVE and TO SELL IS HUMAN