Orbiting the Giant Hairball Book Summary - Orbiting the Giant Hairball Book explained in key points
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Orbiting the Giant Hairball summary

Gordon MacKenzie

A Corporate Fool’s Guide to Surviving with Grace

3.9 (14 ratings)
12 mins

Brief summary

Orbiting the Giant Hairball by Gordon MacKenzie is a humorous yet profound guide to surviving the corporate world. It inspires you to break free from bureaucratic thinking and foster creativity, innovation, and individualism.

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    Orbiting the Giant Hairball
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    Everyone is a creative genius, but society suppresses this talent.

    Are you an artist? Well, if you don’t make paintings or write poetry, you might be inclined to say no. But don’t be so quick to dismiss this possibility. In truth, every one of us is born a creative genius.

    Undisciplined children make rash decisions, diving spontaneously into risky situations and saying and doing whatever they like. They are driven purely by curiosity and innocent desire. These childhood tendencies are an expression of creative genius at the core being of every person. Everyone is born with this blissful “foolishness” that leads us to discover and evolve.

    However, lots of people fear that a society of “fools,” that is, one made up of people who follow their creative genius, can never function. So, they stifle their creativity in an attempt to be “normal.” This makes perfect sense from a societal perspective. After all, “fools” are seen as impulsive, unpredictable rule-breakers, and the enforcement of strict social norms is about protecting society from this unpredictability.

    Unfortunately, such protection also suppresses creative genius.

    For example, on many occasions, the author asked children from different grades if they considered themselves to be artists. When he asked first graders, they would all enthusiastically raise their hands, but when he got to the second graders, about half would identify themselves as artists. By the time he reached the sixth graders, only one or two kids would raise their hands.

    So, we can see that society suppresses creativity. But we can do something about it.      

    To break open the full potential of our creative genius, or if you prefer, our foolishness, we have to stop aiming for normalcy and stand up to the rules that enforce it.

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    What is Orbiting the Giant Hairball about?

    Orbiting the Giant Hairball (1996) is a guide to surviving at a corporation while holding onto your creativity. These blinks explain how to evade the dark, creativity-stifling vortex of corporate bureaucracy by balancing corporate restraints with personal creativity.

    Best quote from Orbiting the Giant Hairball

    Our creative genius is the fountainhead of originality. It fires our compulsion to evolve. It inspires us to challenge norms.

    —Gordon MacKenzie
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    Who should read Orbiting the Giant Hairball?

    • Employees who feel trapped by corporate bureaucracy
    • Anyone reluctant to take a corporate job for fear of compromising their creativity and originality
    • Entry-level employees at major corporations

    About the Author

    Gordon Mackenzie worked at the greeting card company Hallmark for 30 years. Starting out as an artist, his position within the company shifted over the years and he eventually became a kind of company guru with the title Creative Paradox, someone to whom people turned with their ideas.

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