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Rare Breed

A Guide to Success for the Defiant, Dangerous, and Different

By Sunny Bonnell and Ashleigh Hansberger
13-minute read
Audio available
Rare Breed by Sunny Bonnell and Ashleigh Hansberger

Rare Breed (2019) is a guide to business and personal success for those who march to their own beat. This bold manifesto asks you avoid conformity and instead embrace the qualities that set you apart.

  • Entrepreneurs looking to stand out
  • Creative thinkers who want to capitalize on their capabilities
  • Anyone who wishes to honor their own unique spirit

Sunny Bonnell and Ashleigh Hansberger are the founders of Motto, an award-winning digital branding agency. Their dynamic approach to business has netted them positive coverage everywhere from the Chicago Tribune and Forbes to the Huffington Post and the Wall Street Journal.

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Rare Breed

A Guide to Success for the Defiant, Dangerous, and Different

By Sunny Bonnell and Ashleigh Hansberger
  • Read in 13 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 8 key ideas
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Rare Breed by Sunny Bonnell and Ashleigh Hansberger
Synopsis

Rare Breed (2019) is a guide to business and personal success for those who march to their own beat. This bold manifesto asks you avoid conformity and instead embrace the qualities that set you apart.

Key idea 1 of 8

Rebelliously defying norms can open new paths to success.

It’s fourth down and the Pulaski Academy Bruins need to move the ball ten yards upfield or turn it over to the other team. Any other high school football team would simply give up and punt the ball. After all, convention states that this is the smart move. 

But, the Bruins don’t follow conventional wisdom. In 2009, their coach, Kevin Kelley, looked at three years’ worth of game statistics and made a decision: his team would never punt, ever. 

And it worked. The unusual strategy caught other teams off guard, and the Bruins racked up win after win. By 2018, the team had an overwhelmingly positive record, including seven state championships. 

The key message here is: Rebelliously defying norms can open new paths to success.

Our society encourages conformity through strict social norms. It enforces rigid policies and rewards proper etiquette. Starting from a very young age, we’re encouraged to do as we’re told or we’ll suffer the consequences. Even in a modern workplace, rules rule. One study from the Harvard Business Review found that fewer than 10 percent of companies actually encourage workers to break the mold.

However, rebelling against conventions can be an asset when done strategically. Take the television show Girls. This provocative series told the story of young women in New York City, but it avoided all the classic tropes. Instead of showing their lives as glamorous, it focused on their mistakes and minor humiliations. And the show was a hit! People loved the unconventional approach and unique characters.

Still, it’s no good to break rules for no reason. The key to rebelling is thinking strategically. First, know exactly what rules you want to break and why you want to break them. Then, think through what you’re going to do differently and what the consequences will be. This way, you’re not just blindly smashing norms, but creating your own conventions.

For instance, entrepreneur Matt Scanlan wanted to disrupt the exploitative Mongolian wool industry. The old industry model used dozens of middlemen to get Mongolian wool to market. It was inefficient and expensive. 

Scanlan came in with a better plan. He broke the old mold and set up a new system to pay herders directly. As a result, his company, Naadam, can now offer the finest cashmere at a low cost, and Mongolia’s herders earn up to 50 percent more.

Obviously, breaking the rules takes a little bit of audacity. In the next blink, we’ll see how that ambitious spirit is also a rich resource. 

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