ROOKIE SMARTS by Liz Wiseman


Why Learning Beats Knowing in the New Game of Work
Email this review


Wiseman (co-author: The Multiplier Effect: Tapping the Genius Inside Our Schools, 2014, etc.) provides a big boost for first-time employees and others who refuse to be bound by arbitrary limits.

The author poses a fundamental question: “If the amount of information in science doubles every nine months and decays at 30 percent a year, how long does one's expertise last?” She contends that as technology continues to advance, the time frame dramatically shortens. People will be lucky to be current on just 15 percent of what they knew after five years. Therefore, the premium on new knowledge, as opposed to experience, is growing. Wiseman presents an array of case studies, including those from her own experience with Nike and her organization of Oracle's in-house university. These demonstrate that leaders who understand how to unleash the potentials of their rookies and junior people can reap outsized results. At Nike, rookies were given the task of educating a conference of executives on their views of the future. They performed so well that they were organized into an informal group called the “New Crew.” The group is now formalized and contains 300 members, “with top-performing employees contributing and then rotating out of the group after one year, making way for other fresh talent.” Wiseman points to global organizations that are opening up their leadership ranks to younger people, and she highlights studies about how, in certain nations, when “ruling elites have pulled up the ladder and kept newcomers from getting a foothold, their economies have suffocated and died.” The author views rookie smarts as a “state of mind” characterizing open-minded love of inquiry into the new. She examines four different profiles of this state of mind, each of which encompasses its own set of defining characteristics, and she highlights how they may be encouraged and strengthened.

An exciting promotion of lifelong discovery and enthusiasm as answers to routine and business as usual.

Pub Date: Oct. 14th, 2014
ISBN: 978-0062322630
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Harper Business
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 2014


NonfictionGOOD FOR YOU, GREAT FOR ME by Lawrence Susskind
by Lawrence Susskind
NonfictionA BIGGER PRIZE by Margaret Heffernan
by Margaret Heffernan
by David C. Baker