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 (18 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
    Summary of 5 key ideas

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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.

    Orbiting the Giant Hairball Review

    Orbiting the Giant Hairball by Gordon MacKenzie (1996) is an insightful and thought-provoking book that explores the challenges of creativity in a corporate setting. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Packed with entertaining stories and anecdotes, it provides a unique perspective on navigating the corporate world while staying true to one's creative spirit.
    • MacKenzie's unconventional approach to corporate culture encourages readers to break free from conformity and embrace their individuality, ultimately fostering innovation.
    • The book invites readers to reflect on their own creative journey, offering practical tips and inspiration for finding joy and fulfillment in their work.

    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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    Orbiting the Giant Hairball FAQs 

    What is the main message of Orbiting the Giant Hairball?

    The main message of Orbiting the Giant Hairball is the importance of maintaining creativity and individuality within a corporate structure.

    How long does it take to read Orbiting the Giant Hairball?

    The reading time for Orbiting the Giant Hairball varies depending on the reader. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Orbiting the Giant Hairball a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Orbiting the Giant Hairball is a worthwhile read for anyone wanting to explore creative thinking and unconventional approaches in the workplace.

    Who is the author of Orbiting the Giant Hairball?

    The author of Orbiting the Giant Hairball is Gordon MacKenzie.

    What to read after Orbiting the Giant Hairball?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Orbiting the Giant Hairball, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell
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    • The Making of a Manager by Julie Zhuo
    • Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert
    • Fooled by Randomness by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
    • The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
    • The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick M. Lencioni
    • The New Strategist by Günter Müller-Stewens