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J.J. Abrams

How do people with groundbreaking ideas bring them into reality?

Adam Grant is not your typical business school professor. Just 34, he reached tenure while still in his 20s and finished his doctorate in less than three years. He writes op-eds with Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and got a book blurb from the likes of J.J. Abrams, the director of the new "Star Wars" film. His 2013 book, "Give and Take," which challenged the old adage about nice guys finishing last, was translated into 27 languages.

So it shouldn't come as a surprise that unconventionality is the topic of his new book. In "Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World," Grant examines how people with groundbreaking ideas make them...