Unsafe Thinking

How to be Nimble and Bold When You Need it Most

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How can you challenge and change yourself when you need it most? We're creatures of habit, programmed by evolution to favor the safe and familiar, especially when the stakes are high. But this bias no longer serves us in a world of constant change. In fact, today, safe thinking has become extremely dangerous. Through stories of trailblazers in business, health, education and activism, and leveraging decades of research into creativity and performance, Unsafe Thinking reveals a path to achieving breakthroughs for anyone ready to step out of their comfort zone. I offer firsthand accounts of breaking from the status quo from a Nobel Prize-winning doctor who nearly got himself thrown out medicine, a two-time NBA championship coach who brought joy back to his team by tuning down the focus on competition, a CEO who rebuilt her reputation and life from the ashes of one of the biggest flops in internet history, a Colombian mayor who started an incredibly successful career of political reform by mooning an angry crowd, and many more. I reveal counter-intuitive insights that will challenge you to rethink how you work. You'll learn:

•    Why your area of deep expertise is often where you'll find your biggest blind spots

•    Why anxiety can be fuel for creativity

•    When to trust intuition and when to challenge it

•    How collaborating only with those that share your values stunts your creativity

•    How to build an organization that embraces intelligent risk .

An inspiring and accessible read, Unsafe Thinking has the power to change the way you approach your work and your life.

Praise for Unsafe Thinking:

“An enchanting book about how to question the conventional, challenge the status quo, and unlock the creative solutions right under your nose.” —Adam Grant, author of Originals, Give and Take, and Option B with Sheryl Sandberg

“Unsafe Thinking will propel you out of your rut and onto a path of better, sharper thinking.” —Daniel H Pink, author of When and To Sell is Human

“A blazingly original book. In crisp, breezy prose, Sachs details winning strategies from explorers and business organizations through history. I found the stories themselves riveting, and Unsafe Thinking is destined to become a classic in creative thought.” —Mary Karr, author of The Liar’s Club and Lit 

“A deeply insightful book for creators that only a creator could write.” —Peter Sims, founder & CEO, Parliament, Inc., author of Little Bets

“A practical and truly entertaining roadmap to becoming more creative and productive. A must read for anyone facing a changing world.” —Jonah Berger, Wharton Professor, author of Contagious

“All innovators have to have very tough skins. But beyond the peril of going against the crowd is the joy of fresh creation. Read this book and reflect on your own life. It could make a big difference.” —Former U.S. Senator Bill Bradley

“Unsafe Thinking provides an inspiring and practical guide on how to truly think outside of the box and stay in productive flow. Master storyteller Jonah Sachs combines the latest research with accessible best practices to help us all become more comfortable being uncomfortable.” — Lisa Kay Solomon, Chair, Transformational Practices, Singularity University, coauthor, Moments of Impact and Design a Better Business


Winning the Story Wars

Click here for Story Wars Worksheets and Storytelling Tips

Trying to get your message heard? Build an iconic brand?
Welcome to the battlefield.

The story wars are all around us. They are the struggle to be heard in a world of media noise and clamor. Today, most brand messages and mass appeals for causes are drowned out before they even reach us. But a few consistently break through the din, using the only tool that has ever moved minds and changed behavior—great stories.

With insights from mythology, advertising history, evolutionary biology, and psychology, viral storyteller and advertising expert Jonah Sachs takes readers into a fascinating world of seemingly insurmountable challenges and enormous opportunity. You’ll discover how:

  • Social media tools are driving a return to the oral tradition, in which stories that matter rise above the fray
  • Marketers have become today’s mythmakers, providing society with explanation, meaning, and ritual
  • Memorable stories based on timeless themes build legions of eager evangelists
  • Marketers and audiences can work together to create deeper meaning and stronger partnerships in building a better world
  • Brands like Old Spice, The Story of Stuff, Nike, the Tea Party, and Occupy Wall Street created and sustained massive viral buzz

Winning the Story Wars is a call to arms for business communicators to cast aside broken traditions and join a revolution to build the iconic brands of the future. It puts marketers in the role of heroes with a chance to transform not just their craft but the enterprises they represent. After all, success in the story wars doesn’t come just from telling great stories, but from learning to live them.

Here's what people have said:

Dan Heath, coauthor, Switch and Made to Stick
“Jonah Sachs knows stories. He’s responsible for some of the most popular and respected viral messages of all time: The Story of StuffThe MeatrixGrocery Store Wars, and others. This book is a storytelling call to arms, an appeal to tell the stories that matter. So read Winning the Story Wars—and join the fray.” 

Deepak Chopra, founder, The Chopra Foundation—
“Great leaders transform the world through stories that inspire hope, stability, trust, compassion, and authenticity. This important and thought-provoking book shows that leadership in marketing will require the living and telling of such stories as well.”

Bill Bradley, former US Senator; Managing Director, Allen & Company—
“We know about who we are both individually and as a society through stories. In this brilliant book, Jonah Sachs tells us how we lost our storytelling capacity and how we must regain it, constructing our own myths and living the truth of the stories we tell.”

Paul Hawken, author, The Ecology of Commerce and Blessed Unrest
“In the current maelstrom of media babble and corporate deceit, Jonah Sachs makes sense where none appears to exist. Winning the Story Wars explains why we respond to lies—whether in political or product ads, campaigns or speeches—and how truth ultimately trumps all. This remarkable book delivers on that rare promise of changing how you see the world.”