Imagine it Forward with Beth Comstock

Not known for ever fully finishing business nonfiction books, I am proud to say I did finally complete Beth Comstock's book, "Imagine It Forward." And it is FABULOUS. As a young woman trying to drive innovation within a large, old, company, it was so relatable in so many ways, I found myself underlining something on almost every page. Not to mention the fact that she grew up in Winchester, Virginia, which is where my paternal grandmother - another firecracker - spent most of her youth (continuing to call it "home" after spending 60+ years in Florida).

In reading this I am also reminded of how lucky I have been in recent years, meeting people and making connections in ways often made possible by Columbia Business School. For instance, she talks about her time working with Steve Liguori (whom I had as a professor and reconnected with while at NYL), David Kidder and Eric Ries (who both guest lectured in Steve's class; David also founded Bionic, which I almost hired for work at NYL), Ben Kaufman (I attended a Quirky product pitch/vote night while in school), and Bre Pettis (I visited Makerbot's offices and sat in Bre's Delorean).

There are many great nuggets of wisdom throughout the book, but here were a few of my big takeaways, or things that most resonated:

  • "The pace of change is never going to be slower than today"

  • "Real innovators can be disagreeable; they don't require the social approval of their peers to move ahead with disruptive ideas"

  • "Developing a habit of self-permission will instill in you the belief that you are in control of your career and your life, regardless of what is going on around you"

  • "Living deep on the inside is too dark - 'what might be' is incapacitated by what's already worked. Living on the outside, however you have no influence. It is on the edge between the inside and outside where you can get things done"