After finishing Black Box Thinking (see review here) I read another book by Matthew Syed:

Rebel Ideas: The Power of Diverse Thinking

The diversity the author refers to in his book is cognitive diversity, which is for example the way we handle problems, from looking at them until solving them. This can include gender and racial diversity. But gender and racial diversity as only perspective for diversity is too narrow.

What can happen when a person has knowledge about something that no one in the group has, but because of the hierarchy does not dare to express it? 🤔

Answer will follow shortly…

“Cultures that encourage new ideas, foster dissent and have strong networks through which rebel ideas can flow, innovate faster than those held back by cultures of intellectual conformity.”

Matthew Syed in Rebel Ideas

Applying diversity can help to solve problems of any kind. Syed uses political, social, scientific, and sporting examples.

The book consists of following chapters:

  1. Collective Blindness
  2. Rebels Versus Clones
  3. Constructive Dissent
  4. Innovation
  5. Echo Chambers
  6. Beyond Average
  7. The Big Picture


The book did not disappoint me. It is written in a captivating way. The exciting examples explain the arguments for diversity in a way that is easy to follow. I finished reading the book in several sittings to let certain thoughts sink in again and again. The topic is well researched and therefore easy to understand.

So let’s ask the question again:
What can happen when a person has knowledge about something that no one in the group has, but because of the hierarchy does not dare to express it?
Syed describes a tragic example with the 1996 story on Mount Everest.

Hierarchy is the main barrier when it comes to diversity. In addition, we naturally tend to surround ourselves with like-minded people. By doing that, we form a thing which Syed calls “echo chambers”. In these chambers, the same old ideas are reiterated, leading to the same old mistakes again. New ideas are missing…
The 1996 disaster on Mount Everest could have been avoided if the lower ranked members of the rope team had spoken up and shared their knowledge about the changing weather conditions or full oxygen bottles.Diversity brings other perspectives and new ideas to the problem field, which can lead to better decisions and better solutions.

The book encourages to have confidence in your own views/ideas and to speak up.

“Diversity, in a real sense, is the hidden engine of humanity.”

Matthew Syed

Although the other book was already great, I thought this one was slightly better. It is packed with fascinating, sometimes tragic examples and explanations that make the subject easy to grasp. It’s also written in a compelling way that makes it almost impossible to put down.


Rating: 5 out of 5.


Master in Business Innovation. B.Sc. Business Engineering|Innovation. Blogger. Traveller. Product Owner. Technology Strategy Manager. #ginvibes. Knight of Taste. Sports enthusiast. Foodie. Creative Kid. #iger. The guy behind inspiique.


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