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December 1, 2004

Excerpts: 10 Lessons from History's Innovators - Part VII

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 2:55 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

Lesson #6 - NEW IDEAS DISTURB. There are a hundred Cassandras for every change. Raymond Damadian was a screaming lunatic for thinking nuclear magnetic resonance might be used for medicine. Theodore Judah was crazy Judah for advocating a railway line over the High Sierra; Edwin Drake crazy for believing he could drill for oil. Giannini was a hothead (and worse) for thinking banking should be for the masses. The flat-earth dogmatists can never remember their predictions when success is achievedbut they serve a purpose. Something like 90 percent of new ventures do fail, so the odds are with the naysayers; they are only going to be disproved once in ten times. Ted Turner put it this way to me: If youve got an innovative idea, and the majority does not poohpooh it, then the odds are you must not have a very good idea. When people thought I was loony, it did not bother me at all. In fact, I considered that I must really be onto something. From the book THEY MADE AMERICA by Harold Evans, with Gail Buckland and David Lefer. (c) 2004 Little, Brown & Co.

About Dylan Schleicher


Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.