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Unlearn: Let Go of Past Success to Achieve Extraordinary Results by [Barry O'Reilly]

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Unlearn: Let Go of Past Success to Achieve Extraordinary Results Kindle Edition

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"To succeed, it's critical for everyone, from executives to entrepreneurs, to know how to let go of behavior and methods that have helped them achieve in the past but are now limiting. Unlearn explains how to enter into a continuous cycle of replacing old ideas and models with new ones in order to adapt in an ever-changing world. Founded on clear principles and filled with stories from the field, it advocates for courage over comfort not just now, but in whatever circumstances the future offers up." --Eric Ries, Founder, Long-Term Stock Exchange, and author of The Startup Way and The Lean Startup
"Surprisingly, many of the attributes that enabled small companies to scale into large ones are now the very things that impede their future prospects. Some telltale signs of trouble include administration replacing true leadership, process morphing into bureaucracy and red tape, and past successes inhibiting the ability to drive needed change. All this leads to a culture that sacrifices speed, client centricity, and innovation. Successful companies are mission driven and customer and employee obsessed, and they passionately preserve the founding mission of the organization while having the humility to unlearn the tried-and-true ways of the past. This book is an essential reminder that the ability to unlearn is an enduring core competency of extraordinary individuals--and the winning organizations they lead."--
John Marcante, CIO, Vanguard
"Many executives and entrepreneurs hang on to thinking and methods that were once useful, but may limit their future success. Apply the lessons in
Unlearn and unlock the full potential in yourself, your teams, and your organization."--Noelle Eder, Chief Information and Digital Officer, Hilton
"The only thing that is constant is change. And it's happening faster and faster. Disruption is ongoing, yet leaders tend to think incrementally about the future. Barry shows us a better way: the only way to disrupt yourself before someone does it for you is to unlearn, separate yourself from what has worked in the past in order to create an open space to shape the future. A great read for any leader in fast-moving environments faced with the realization that what worked in the past won't work in the future." --
Stephane Kasriel, CEO, Upwork, and Co-Chair, Future Council in Education, Gender and Work, Global World Economic Forum
"We work in a world of complexity, revolutionary technologies, and dynamic change. The only advantage is people--people who are engaged and can rapidly learn and unlearn. That's why I love Barry O'Reilly's new book,
Unlearn. It correctly magnifies a vital and often overlooked concept, the importance of unlearning for organizational success. Typically, organizations lose capability and innovation by their inability to unlearn ideas that are no longer relevant. This book provides guidance on the steps to take to form a culture of learning and unlearning."--Edward J. Hoffman, PhD, former Chief Knowledge Officer, NASA, and Academic Director, Information and Knowledge Strategy, Columbia University
Unlearn lays out an easy-to-use system to constantly challenge what we think we know. Barry draws from a wealth of relevant and relatable examples to help us better understand how we can apply the powerful principles in our own lives. Reading Unlearn inspired me to challenge many of my own old mindsets and ideals, and I've seen a considerable improvement in my own results and outcomes. Inspiring work!"--Stephen Orban, General Manager, New Initiative, Amazon Web Services, and author of Ahead in the Cloud
"The only way to thrive in a world of accelerating change driven by exponential technologies is through adaptability and continuous learning. Barry O'Reilly has identified the critical first step: unlearning the past.
Unlearn is a methodical playbook for breaking ourselves away from the anchors of the past and accelerating into the future." --Rob Nail, CEO and Associate Founder, Singularity University
"When you work at the intersection of technology, design, and people, change is constant, and unlearning what brought individuals and teams success in the past is of critical importance for future success. Today, every industry is changing rapidly, and the ability to learn and unlearn is a major factor differentiating the highest-performing companies and individuals from those that are falling behind. Barry O'Reilly's book,
Unlearn, with its experience-based framework, is inspiring and essential reading for all of us in leadership positions, especially within traditional industries."--Katri Harra-Salonen, Chief Digital Officer, Finnair
"Part of unlearning is not getting stuck doing only what worked in the past. When 97 percent of people think you should just go back to doing what you've been doing, or resist the change that you are trying to make, you know you're on to something, and that's where the breakthrough journey begins."--
Stephen Scott, Chief Digital Officer, Avios Group Limited
"The best way to master our ever-changing business environment is by designing--and redesigning--our deep-seated habits and routines. In
Unlearn, Barry O'Reilly explains in an easy-to-understand way how to introduce new habits into your workplace intentionally and systematically. By unlearning old habits and welcoming new routines, you have the unique opportunity to create a fast path to extraordinary results. The process Barry outlines draws on key methods from my work in behavior design, as well as techniques from my Tiny Habits(R) method. In writing this book for business leaders in every industry, Barry offers a step-by-step framework for unlocking untapped potential in your company--and in yourself." --BJ Fogg, PhD, behavioral scientist and creator of the Tiny Habits(R) method
"Barry has done it again! Leveraging his work with some of today's most innovative and successful companies, Barry has delivered the primer on digital transformation.
Unlearn focuses on the trickiest and least-obvious starting point: unlearning the habits that trap leaders and companies in past successes that no longer deliver results today. This step-by-step guide to gaining fresh perspectives provides clear and highly actionable advice on how to stimulate and incubate successful innovation throughout the enterprise, enabling breakthrough performance."--Jody Mulkey, CTO, Ticketmaster
"In a world where the pace of change is so fast, it is difficult to keep up, leaders often unknowingly get in their own way. To stay competitive, they must build the skills to continuously evolve and embrace the unknown.
Unlearn provides a structured framework to help individuals and the organizations they lead adapt to the changing times by unlearning and then relearning the skills to help themselves break through and stay competitive. It will get everyone on the road to lifelong learning in a safe and systematic way."--Reshma Shaikh, VP Strategy and Operations, Office of the COO, Springer Nature
"Barry's book plays a key role in my assignment--leading a large enterprise through digital transformation--not only on a personal level but especially on an entrepreneurial level.
Unlearn is a universally applicable principle for successful transformation. A must-read for business leaders."--Nils Stamm, Chief Digital Officer, Deutschland Telekom, and Board Member, Münchner Kreis
"We are living through an unprecedented period of disruption. The challenge for many organizations and individuals is how to move from their current landscape to a new landscape without any guide. Many are falling back on outdated business models and processes that are not delivering the outcomes they hoped for. This book presents an alternative view that begins with unlearning the old and adapting to what is required for the future."--
Jora Gill, Chief Digital Officer, The Economist
"We have all been there: that feeling of facing challenging obstacles, environments, and circumstances, but knowing we must do something to overcome. Transforming big organizations starts small, by transforming ourselves. Barry O'Reilly challenges us all to unlearn and innovate our own game. In this comprehensive and insightful book, he provides an actionable framework to help us to unlearn, do things differently, and win."--
Lea Hickman, Partner, Silicon Valley Product Group, and former VP of Product Management, Adobe
"So many organizations are rooted in what has made them successful in the past that it is difficult for them to explore new approaches. This institutional knowledge becomes so ingrained that transformation almost becomes impossible.
Unlearn is a great reminder to leaders that we need to face the future versus dwelling on the past. With a world that is constantly changing, unlearning becomes a critical tool for holding teams accountable for their future strategy and growth."--Andrew Meyer, Director, NHS Digital
"We have all seen industry titans fall due to their inability to change and adapt to what is happening around them. They all saw exactly what was going on, but were locked in their past behaviors and ways of operating. In
Unlearn, Barry provides real-world examples of how leaders can avoid this trap and redefine how they operate. The book provides very practical steps on how to unlearn what has made us all successful in the past and relearn new ways of thinking and working. It is a must-read for anyone who wants to help themselves and their companies stay ahead of their competitors in a fast, ever-changing environment." --Jeff Reihl, Executive VP and Chief Technology Officer, LexisNexis
"In fast-paced digital environments, we constantly need to innovate and think differently to drive growth. By applying the three steps--unlearn, relearn, and break through--you can let go of old approaches that may no longer drive success, unlearn old behaviors, and adapt to your situation to achieve extraordinary results. Barry provides relevant examples that brings the system of unlearning to life with tools to apply both in business and your everyday life."--
Sarah Bartlett, former CMO, Time Out Group,, and Travelocity International
"History has shown us that past performance does not guarantee future success. Barry reminds us how important it is to challenge our assumptions, continuously seek new information and different perspectives, and decide what to unlearn. We can all look back at examples where we were held back by what we believed to be true, selecting data and input that validated our opinion and hypotheses, rather than deliberately seeking that which may challenge us. The skill to unlearn knows no organizational or role boundaries. A great read for anyone who seeks to flourish in our world of perpetual change, and break through the repeated cycle of stifled innovation." --
Jenn Bennett, Technical Director, Office of the CTO, Google Cloud
"You don't add innovation to a business; you get out of its way. To do that, you need to unlearn all the accumulated cruft that's slowing you down. This book will guide you and help you make the case ."--
Adrian Cockcroft, cloud computing pioneer
"I believe in the truism that 'conventional thinking tends to yield conventional results.' In that light, Barry O'Reilly is an unconventional thinker and
Unlearn is the extraordinary result. If you are a business leader striving to hit hypergrowth or do something significant, you should read this book as a toolkit for unconstraining your thinking and pushing yourself, your team, and your company to reach new heights."--Breanden Beneschott, Cofounder and COO, Toptal
"Barry's innovative system highlights the importance for both individuals and the organizations they lead to unlearn once useful practices that have become inhibiting and limit their future success in the new (and ever-evolving) paradigms in which they operate." --
Terren Peterson, VP of Cyber Security, Capital One
Unlearn is compelling, whether you are an executive trying to move your organization to the next level or simply interested in better understanding how to unlock your own potential. The concepts in Unlearn make complete sense. They seem almost obvious. Yet it pushes us way outside of our comfort zone and shows us how to do this systematically. Barry provides a powerful system to break down the principles of unlearning and put them back together using pragmatic techniques that feel doable. Unlearn isn't just intellectually stimulating; it is essential for anyone wanting to understand and surpass the maximum we all hit at some point--in a project, in a career, in our life."--Jerome Bonhomme, CTO and EVP, American Specialty Health
"When we look at our life clutter, we can easily understand that purging stuff we don't need helps make room for what's important. The same can be said for our learning. Yet we often find it hard to let go of our habits, at times even to the detriment of our own future success. Barry's book guides us through identifying how to unlearn our past habits so that we can relearn new ways of thinking and accomplishing our goals. I highly recommend this book for anyone experiencing or leading structural changes in their workplace."--
Thaniya Keereepart, Head of Mobile and Platforms, TED
"Operating effectively in a global and increasingly decentralized world means unlearning old behaviors, biases, and gut instincts. Our challenge is to be more aware, experimental, and open to change.
Unlearn is an outstanding read, and reminds us that change, feeling comfortable with being uncomfortable, and learning through trying new things is the best way to build new behavior and improve the way we work together."--Ron Garrett, Founding Partner, ConsenSys Labs
"The magic of this book is how it shows that growth, change, and progress come not from learning more but from unlearning that which restricts us, keeps us in our comfort zone, and ultimately, sidetracks innovation and our own careers. This book shows you the way forward."--
Jack Tatar, bestselling coauthor of Cryptoassets: The Innovative Investor's Guide to Bitcoin and Beyond
"Gosh, how I wish that I had access to a book like this at the beginning of my career. Now I know why my leadership behaviors, style, and even biases can hold me back. Learning to unlearn teaches you how to be productive, avoid psychological barriers, and pivot quickly by using new mental models in order to power your career development, improve your social interactions, and really help you to enjoy your work."--
Fin Goulding, International CIO, Aviva, and coauthor of Flow: A Handbook for Change-Makers, Mavericks, Innovation Activists, and Leaders
"I've spent 20 years in the business of IT trying to make the cultural shift that propels great leaders forward. Barry's book provides the tools to break down the aging perceptions of leadership and cut to the heart of what works.
Unlearn sheds the comforts of conformity and delivers the framework for evolving and growing with each and every challenge. Innovation and transformation are the products of our willingness to seek out the change both we as leaders and the business need to be successful."--Aaron Gette, CIO, The Bay Clubs
Unlearn is a powerful gem that offers a practical way to deepen innovation and achieve outstanding performance on all fronts. The three-step model--unlearn, relearn, break through--is a crucial system for success that's both easy to digest and easy to execute. Want to perform at top levels? You need the ability to unlearn and Barry O'Reilly shows you how!"--Karen Martin, President, The Karen Martin Group, Inc., and author of Clarity First and Shingo Award-winning The Outstanding Organization and Value Stream Mapping
"We all want to work smarter, but Barry O'Reilly offers a powerful mindset shift: You can't just add new techniques--you must also consciously destroy the often-invisible habits that are tripping you up. Unlearning is a powerful concept, but what I love about this book is that it's not just one concept, it's a master course in leadership that efficiently synthesizes many of the best books and practices in the business world. Unlearn is like 30 great books in one."--
Jake Knapp, bestselling author of Sprint and Make Time
"Simple and obvious changes are not always easy, and obvious is in the eye of the beholder. I'm fond of saying you haven't learned anything until you change behaviors, but the impediments to change are often anchored in our past success and our current identity. What we do is who we are. Unlearning solves this problem with a feedback loop revisiting assumptions about what we do and why. The most profound progress rarely comes from adding more but from removing the unnecessary and the useless. If we want to be more in the future, we need to unlearn what holds us back today. Filled with relatable anecdotes and real-world examples, unlearning provides an actionable model while being accessible and fun to read."--
Andrew Clay Shafer, Senior Director of Technology, Pivotal, Cofounder, Puppet, Core Organizer, DevOpsDays, and author of Web Operations: Agile Infrastructure
"Barry provides an actionable system for unlearning successful habits of the past that are hobbling leaders and organizations from dealing with today's challenges."--
Chivas Nambiar, Executive Director, Cloud and Platforms, Verizon IT
"Barry hits on a key element of learning that's easy to overlook. We can't just add new knowledge to our repertoire. We have to take the time to examine what's no longer working for us and unlearn those patterns and behaviors, before we can learn new patterns and behaviors. Barry provides a crisp and clear model to help leaders do exactly that.
Unlearn is a must-read for growth-minded professionals." --Teresa Torres, Founder and Product Discovery Coach, Product Talk
"Barry's message for leaders is simple and understated, but contains deep truths about innovation and growth. Sometimes the best way forward is a step back."--
Josh Seiden, coauthor of Sense & Respond and Lean UX
"So many times our teams, leaders, and cultures resist new ideas--not because they don't inherently believe in them but because they force us to behave in ways that conflict with 'the way we've always done things.' This, more than any other issue, is the reason organizations struggle to evolve and survive. Amazingly, this is exactly what this book tackles head-on to ensure that you and your teams unlearn the behaviors that keep you from your true potential."--
Jeff Gothelf, coauthor of Sense & Respond and Lean UX
Unlearn is a must-read for every leader who is looking to grow. This book gets deep into the core of where people--and the organizations they lead--fail to adapt to new situational realities and transform. It's not just about learning new ways of working, but effectively unlearning our outdated habits that limit our mindset and actions, so that we can thrive in the face of uncertainty as we build the future."--Melissa Perri, CEO, Produx Labs, and author of The Build Trap
"The new competitive advantage is not learning faster than your competition, but rapidly putting that learning into action. Barry's book is the definitive guide on how to do exactly that."--
David J. Bland, Founder, Precoil, and author of Testing Business Ideas
"This is the book you need when you realize that doing what you've always done isn't enough anymore." --
Jonny Schneider, Principal, ThoughtWorks, and author of Understanding Design Thinking, Lean, and Agile
--This text refers to the hardcover edition.

About the Author

Barry O'Reilly is the founder and CEO of ExecCamp, an entrepreneurial experience for executives, and the management consultancy Antennae. A business advisor, entrepreneur, and sought-after speaker, O'Reilly has pioneered the intersection of business model innovation, product development, organizational design, and culture transformation. He works with the world's leading innovators, from disruptive startups to Fortune 500 companies. He is a frequent writer and contributor to The Economist, Strategy+Business, and MIT Sloan Management Review, as well as a coauthor of the international bestseller Lean Enterprise: How High Performance Organizations Innovate at Scale--included in the Eric Ries Lean series and a Harvard Business Review must-read for would-be CEOs and business leaders. He is also an executive advisor and faculty member at Singularity University. --This text refers to the audioCD edition.

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B07HYBYBW7
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ McGraw Hill; 1st edition (27 November 2018)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 3721 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Screen Reader ‏ : ‎ Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 241 pages
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.5 out of 5 stars 90 ratings

About the author

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Barry O’Reilly is a business advisor, entrepreneur, and author who has pioneered the intersection of business model innovation, product development, organizational design, and culture transformation.

Barry works with business leaders and teams from global organizations that seek to invent the future, not fear it. Every day, Barry helps with many of the world’s leading companies, from disruptive startups to Fortune 500 behemoths, break the vicious cycles that spiral businesses toward death by enabling culture of experimentation and learning to unlock the insights required for better decision making, higher performance and results.

Barry is the author of Unlearn: Let Go of Past Success to Achieve Extraordinary Results, and co-author of the international bestseller Lean Enterprise: How High Performance Organizations Innovate at Scale—included in the Eric Ries series, and a Harvard Business Review must read for CEOs and business leaders. He is an internationally sought-after speaker, frequent writer and contributor to The Economist, Strategy+Business, and MIT Sloan Management Review.

Barry is faculty at Singularity University, advising and contributing to Singularity’s executive and accelerator programs based in San Francisco, and throughout the globe.

Barry is the founder of ExecCamp, the entrepreneurial experience for executives, and management consultancy Antennae.

His mission is to help purposeful, technology-led businesses innovate at scale.

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Reviewed in Australia on 6 August 2019

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2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 17 December 2018
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5.0 out of 5 stars Make sure you read the whole book.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 12 January 2019
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Daniel Breston
5.0 out of 5 stars Unlearn big, learn small
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 26 December 2018
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Conor Stapleton
5.0 out of 5 stars What got you here, won't get you there.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 21 September 2019
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Vadym Kazulkin
5.0 out of 5 stars Unlearn is even more important to learn
Reviewed in Germany on 17 January 2019
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