Dream Teams Book Summary - Dream Teams Book explained in key points
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Dream Teams summary

Shane Snow

Working Together Without Falling Apart

4 (47 ratings)
25 mins

Brief summary

Dream Teams by Shane Snow is a guide to creating successful teams using diverse perspectives, and productive conflict resolution. Through case studies, it highlights how seemingly contradictory ideas often lead to the most innovative solutions.

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    Dream Teams
    Summary of 8 key ideas

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    Key idea 1 of 8

    Dream teams benefit from diversity of background, gender and opinion.

    In 1974, the FBI was trying its hardest to serve a subpoena to a Mafia boss based out of Newark, New Jersey. In those days, the law was pretty clear: only if the subpoena was given directly and personally to somebody was it necessary for them to obey it and appear in court. So the Mafia boss came up with what he thought was a winning strategy: he surrounded himself with bodyguards. No subpoena-wielding FBI agent was going to get close to him!

    In the end, it was a young female agent, Chris Jung, who came up with a plan. She’d go undercover to the wedding of the Mafia boss’s daughter. She’d make out that she was one of the wedding guests and deliver the subpoena to the boss herself as he welcomed the guests.

    She was able to succeed because she was a woman in a male-dominated profession and so managed to achieve her goal without causing undue suspicion at the Mafia wedding.

    There are two lessons here. Firstly, generally speaking, diversity among team members will increase the chances of finding the right solution. Secondly, as Jung showed in this case, diversity can bring new ways of thinking to teams.

    Jung demonstrated that agency work didn’t have to be a show of strength and brawn. Disguise, intrigue and clever maneuvering could also reap rewards.

    These lessons don’t just apply to women in male-dominated teams.

    Gender and racial diversity within your team will add the kinds of perspectives that foster problem solving. That’s because your lived experiences shape the way you see the world, the way you think and, ultimately, the way you solve problems.

    A greater range of diverse opinions from different backgrounds will challenge people to re-evaluate entrenched perspectives and prejudices.

    In 2013, four different US universities invited around 200 people who self-identified as either Democrats or Republicans. They were to participate in a murder mystery scenario.

    Interestingly, even though the scenario didn’t involve politics at all, when the participants were told they'd be explaining their solution to the murder mystery game to people of opposing party allegiances, they prepared themselves better and worked on stronger arguments.

    The study showed another benefit of diversity: if a team is more diverse, the decisions that are presented will have been strength-tested for success.

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    What is Dream Teams about?

    Dream Teams (2018) highlights what it is that makes for a truly great team. Replete with quirky and interesting examples from different times and industries, Snow shows the science behind dream teams, what made them so fantastic and how their strategies can be applied today.

    Dream Teams Review

    Dream Teams (2018) explores the power of diverse collaboration and how it can lead to extraordinary outcomes. Here's why this book is definitely worth reading:

    • Discover the key ingredients that make up a successful team, and learn how to assemble and lead a group of talented individuals towards a common goal.
    • Through fascinating case studies and real-life examples, the book reveals the challenges and triumphs of some of history's most remarkable teams.
    • Uncover the secrets to creative breakthroughs and how to foster a culture of innovation that encourages collaboration, risk-taking, and open-mindedness.

    Best quote from Dream Teams

    When steel rubs against steel, it makes both blades sharper. - RZA, Wu-Tang Clan

    —Shane Snow
    example alt text

    Who should read Dream Teams?

    • Frustrated underlings
    • Company managers
    • Chinstrokers skeptical that management books can be fun

    About the Author

    Shane Snow is an award-winning journalist, and the cofounder of the content technology company Contently. He’s the best-selling author of Smartcuts (2014) and the coauthor of The Storytelling Edge (2018).

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    Dream Teams FAQs 

    What is the main message of Dream Teams?

    Success comes from diverse teams that collaborate effectively, leveraging their unique perspectives and skills.

    How long does it take to read Dream Teams?

    The reading time for Dream Teams varies depending on the reader, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just a few minutes.

    Is Dream Teams a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Dream Teams is worth reading as it provides valuable insights into building high-performing teams and achieving exceptional results.

    Who is the author of Dream Teams?

    The author of Dream Teams is Shane Snow.

    What to read after Dream Teams?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Dream Teams, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Elevate Your Team by Robert Glazer
    • The Power of a Positive Team by Jon Gordon
    • A Team of Leaders by Paul Gustavson and Stewart Liff
    • Team Genius by Rich Karlgaard and Michael S. Malone
    • Great People Decisions by Claudio Fernandez-Araoz
    • How to Talk to Anyone by Leil Lowndes
    • The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin
    • You're Not Listening by Kate Murphy
    • Social Empathy by Elizabeth Segal
    • Feedback (and Other Dirty Words) by M. Tamra Chandler and Laura Dowling Grealish