Review: Disrupt Yourself by Jay Samit

When it comes to the way we work in the world, we have a lot of thinking about what we are capable of and a lot of identification with our professional personas and titles. So what happens when we work within an industry that is shutting down or get let go of by the company we lead or what we have always done just doesn’t work anymore? We disrupt ourselves.

The great disruptors constantly reinvent themselves and their careers. They never fear losing their jobs, because they create their jobs.

Jay Samit is the master of professional and personal disruption and guides others to analyse production chains to identify weak spots they can find new solutions for, often bringing an end to entire industries, shifting and reshaping how certain sectors operate and creating new opportunity as they do. And he helps people do this by first and foremost disrupting themselves.

True disruption alters a market or system forever.

Distilling his 30 plus years of experience into a fast paced, engaging and insightful book introducing the concept of market disruption and encouraging his readers to disrupt themselves, Disrupt Yourself: Master Personal Transformation, Seize Opportunity and Thrive in the Era of Endless Innovation provides evidence of monumental successes by disruptors, stories of their journeys, insights into their inspiration and continual tips on how we too can disrupt ourselves and innovate our careers and industries. Warnings about refusing to innovate, staying comfortable despite disruption that should be taken account of and clinging to illusions of security are given through examples of huge businesses going bust or losing money because of a failure to identify imminent disruption and adapt to changing times.

The majority of people are not willing to risk what they have built for the opportunity to have something better.

A disruptive product creates a new market, transforms an existing business model, repurposes existing products or innovates design by finding solutions to problems that consumers experience. Samit wants us to know that everyone is able to disrupt the world in some way, if only we don’t quit at the first hurdle, learn from our mistakes, are willing to continually reinvent ourselves and challenge our ideas of what is possible in the world as well as examine and re examine our assumptions about who we are and what we can achieve professionally.

Failing is trying something that you learn doesn’t work. Failure is throwing in the towel and giving up.

For any of us who have wondered, what next, what steps do I take from here, how can I become more successful, what can I do to get noticed and make a better living, this book may just provide the inspiration and guidance we are searching for. From getting clear on opportunities that exist that we hadn’t considered previously to embracing a new role or career to looking at a market trend and ways to divert capital to our own ventures to utilising pre existing research and design to trying to kill an idea before the market does to pivoting at the right moment to crowdsourcing support and development, disruption demands change, evolution and a willingness to expand beyond the box we have become so comfortable in.

Disruption isn’t about what happens to you; it’s about how you respond to what happens to you.

Rather than observe problems, disruptors see opportunities and they do this precisely because they have disrupted themselves and have no perceived limits when it comes to who they think they are professionally and what they think they can achieve career wise. Samit urges us to get out of our comfort zones and unlock our potential by thinking of our identities as internal value chains, analysing each link from research and development to design and marketing and determining which is holding us back so that we can disrupt the chain and unlock its potential.

You get what you believe you deserve.

This could be an unsettling book if we believe that our circumstances or upbringing have determined our sense of self because Samit hammers the point home that we are who we create ourselves to be. However, the message here is empowering and exciting: We do not have to remain wielded to a point of view or mode of being just because it has somehow made sense to us until now, instead we can change the way we view ourselves and our opportunities in order to disrupt and innovate and inspire the world with our potential and genius.

The joy of disruption comes from accepting that we all live in a temporal state.

For those of us thrilled by the knowledge that we have the power to change our minds about who we are and what we can create and achieve in the world, this book is a motivating force for putting this understanding into practice and using it to carve out a successful career. We are ever evolving beings able to adapt and successfully respond to life by analysing what is holding us back and unlocking the value we have to offer the world. Samit suggests we have the potential to be at our most brilliant under pressure by adopting a mindset of creativity and innovation that leads to life changing ideas and solutions. He urges us to test them, implement them and be willing to transform them if feedback suggests they are obsolete but at the very least to have them and explore them and consider the option to pivot when change demands.

Those who recognize the inevitability of changes stand to benefit the most.

Main points are repeated throughout the book and illustrative quotes highlighted in an effort to get us to understand and explore how disruption occurs personally and professionally. The premise here is that we live in exciting times and we all have the potential to disrupt ourselves and the world in positive ways if we can just get beyond who we think we are, continually re examine our strengths and reinvent ourselves to become “visionaries, unfettered by the limitations of the past, who will solve the issues other generations thought impossible.”