Rookie Smarts – Liz Wiseman [Book Summary]

by Nick

The world is changing faster than ever.

Beginners and inexperienced employees have a particular advantage in the workplace, but if they are willing to learn and adapt.

The book “Rookie Smarts” – a fresh look at this system, it will help to achieve success. This is a kind of guide and a set of useful tips on how even experienced workers can develop new ways of thinking.

Liz Weisman is an award-winning author, she is also the speaker and president of the Weisman Group, a research and development company in Silicon Valley.

This book is available as:

AudiobookeBook | Print

Why in Modern Society, Many Are Faced With Many Problems

When you are writing your resume, what qualities do you highlight? Maybe you want to focus on your educational level to look more solid; Maybe you want to emphasize your personal qualities. More often than not, you do not paint your experience much.

We believe that most employers do not look at experience, they need modern, young specialists. Know-how is now most valued, and experience can be gained in the learning process in a new place. For a long time this approach was considered correct, but is it so?

In today’s world, experience is not the most important criterion. Instead, you, as a new employee, must be enthusiastic and flexible. This is a vivid example of how the future work of a company or organization will depend on new employees.

From this book you will learn:

  • How one seemingly small violation can lead to several more.
  • How can we be an “eternal” beginner?
  • Why even a successful employee rereads this book again and again.

Why Jobs Are Changing Fast and Hiring New Recruits is a Competitive Advantage

If you come across a stack of resumes, take a look at the “experience” column. Preference is most often given to people with no experience. Why? This is because the technique of hiring has changed and there are three inherent reasons for this, which allow beginners to gain an advantage.

Firstly, the whole world is developing every day, as well as knowledge. Every year or half, the skills and knowledge of humanity are doubled.

Secondly, due to constant development, old information becomes false. Thus, old skills are no longer needed and the attitude to such an experience is devalued. Take, for example, a 2005 study that showed that the relevance of knowledge over that period fell by 15%. This applies to information and technological progress. So that if workers do not constantly learn and develop, their knowledge will be incomplete 100%. This may not sound very problematic, but imagine what will happen to the skills of this employee in 5 years.

The third reason is technological progress, which is modernizing even faster. Technologists allow you to go beyond five days, and employees receive appointments from management at any time of the day or night. Due to such changes, experienced workers have tried and are trying to deal with the new system. Many of them believe that it’s very difficult to learn something again when you already have knowledge in you at the very beginning of your career.

It is difficult for such people to seek a new job and adapt because they are used to working according to the old method, which was once relevant.

On the other hand, there are beginners for whom such introductions are not something strange and difficult. They are ready to learn and work, learning new things. For job search, these traits lead to success.

But many of them forget that their enthusiasm is not just one working day, but thousands. New information, an approach and constant development lead to frequent layoffs at first.

What makes newbies so valuable?

Read on to find out how fresh thinking of some of them can lead to real success.

Beginners do not cling to the status quo, which allows them to innovate and surpass experienced workers

This is a common opinion: if the method worked in the past, then it will work today. However, history has proven that old ways are not always the best.

So, who can recognize new enhancements and opportunities? Only newbies, because they are not fixated on the status quo.

Take, for example, the story of the famous Swedish runner Gunder Hagg. In 1945, he broke a world record by running a mile in the shortest possible time. But, medical student Roger Bannister decided to improve the result and bypass Hagg. He developed his unique training program and in 1954 broke the previous record.

Just 46 days after the Bannister record, a new winner was found. Hagg was not the first. So people saw that the record of a famous athlete can be broken by beginners who have a special thinking and a peculiar approach.

Beginners see the situation differently, so they make other decisions. They do not know the consequences, and are not afraid to tarnish their reputation.

Consider the story of the Greek politician, Haara Kefalidou, who was the first to enter politics during the financial crisis without any work experience. Government spending has been cut, and ties with Mediterranean countries have been cut. Kefalidow, thanks to her freshman status, was able to make valuable suggestions. She pointed out unnecessary costs for politicians who received income from ordinary Greek taxpayers.

For example, Greek lawmakers were paid for attending committee meetings. Kefalidow considered this unacceptable because each of them had to be present there because of the importance of his work, and not for the sake of additional payment. She was just a beginner and was not used to such an old system that had been operating in the country for decades. After a while, this bill was approved, thereby slightly regulating the economic crisis.

Beginners Are More Likely to Have More Experience Because They Often Ask Questions and Ask for Help.

We can assume that experienced employees with more experience know more than beginners. But this is not entirely true. Why? Because experienced workers have already received their body of knowledge and can be said to fall into stagnation. They consider their experience and their opinion correct, stubbornly ignoring everything else.

Their confidence and information could help develop new ideas. If they used old knowledge in combination with new innovations, new effective working methods would appear.

They themselves choose this path – to sit in stagnation. Not bad, it would be to direct their skills and a certain complacency towards improving labor efficiency. But they do not have such an aspiration.

On the other hand, there are newcomers who often ask for help and find out a few opinions of others. They want to know the circle of people, their opinions and experience, thereby collecting information. Such employees are more open and they cannot object or leave to their previous occupation since again they have no experience.

For example, a study showed that in a new place, newcomers are 40% more likely to become specialists than experienced workers do. In addition, 6 of them become real experts in the new field, while new employees with experience occupy only one expert position.

Such information was collected from many sources and people surveyed. The author believes that people without experience can outshine experienced workers in terms of expert work. To do this, think of the Sistine Chapel of Michelangelo. She is considered one of his best works, and you can’t say that this is the work of a beginner.

Before the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo worked with sculptures and never with a fresco. He did not even know where to start and decided to hire a team of experienced assistants who worked as mural experts. They worked with him shoulder to shoulder for several weeks to get everything perfect.

Lack of experience and pushed him to seek help. Gradually, he mastered the technique and was able to draw on his own.

Beginners Force Themselves to Make Bold Decisions

Think about how an experienced worker works. This is a certain pace that he set during his training. He does not need to rush or be distracted, he is used to it and knows that he will be in time because he always did this.

At the modern workplace, experienced employees cannot cope with the current speed and attitude to work. The pace is gaining momentum, and a quickly completed plan brings quick money. This speed pushes experienced workers beyond their comfort zone.

This situation can be seen in the example of a data processing company – DATAPROF. The organization wanted to open a new headquarters in order to improve its public image. Jack Peterson, an experienced asset manager, took on this task.

After 12 months of work, Jack presented a potential project that was financially ideal. But he did not take into account another most important factor: appearance. The fact is that his project looked exactly like all the other buildings of the company.

Unlike experienced workers such as Jack Peterson, newcomers seek to prove themselves, so they are not afraid to overdo it. They absorb and learn, thanks to their ambitions. Beginners do not know the limitations, so they reveal their potential. After Jack’s presentation, DATAPROF hired a new recruit for this project and he made a real slam dunk.


He simply did not have enough experience, and he asked for help and advice from employees of the same company. They talked about their needs and in which building they would like to work. Therefore, the new designer realized that the image is of paramount importance. He collaborated with people who know the company well, it was their experience and views that were very useful to him .

A Beginner Can Become an Ideal Employee if He Simply Asks Questions and Considers All Options.

Beginners succeed in innovation because they often start from scratch.

Experienced employees, as most say, are bogged down in a protocol. For them, everything that they learned seems safer. Unfortunately, the scope of this safe zone limits their desire to expand innovative potential.

For example, an experienced sales manager in New York receives a promotion for fulfilling a plan to increase sales in the region. In the past, he worked in an office in a small town with a narrow sales network. But his scope expanded, and he had to adapt to new conditions. Now he has more contacts and more work, for this he needs to grow and adapt.

Unlike this experienced manager, newcomers always improvise and create something out of nothing. Of course, they lack knowledge, but routine and teamwork allow them to master.

Consider a different situation with the example of a student at Stanford University, Jane Cheng. She went there to create a children’s incubator. Jane and her team did not have a research center or a million-dollar budget, they were driven by curiosity and desire.

And what did they do?

They went beyond the scope of their plans and decided to go deeper into the cities where they were going to supply the incubators. It turned out that many of them have local problems, such as a lack of electricity. Do they really need a $ 20,000 incubator?

The university team has developed another incubator model that will be multifunctional, but at the same time economical. So many cities will be able to afford such devices to save kids. An incubator will cost $ 25; it can maintain a warm temperature for 4 hours, and can also be cleaned by itself using hot water.

In the book, you can read other interesting stories about how people are reaping the fruits of fresh thinking of beginners.

A Novice is a State of Mind, So Anyone Can Be a Beginner

The novice’s advantage is his thinking, most often it’s young people. But you can also have this advantage if you are a new older employee.

There are eternal beginners – people who are able to combine work experience with the beginner’s thinking. They are special because they have a curious mind, always ready to do something new. But they are very humble to ask for help and let others teach them.

Wayne Bartholomew can be considered an excellent example of an “eternal” newcomer. He takes the most top ratings of highly qualified surfers but always avoids high waves. Usually, everyone wants to conquer the highest wave, and Wayne often trained in Huntington Beach. According to him, only there he was inspired by newcomers who made grandiose successes on small waves.

There is another way to keep your mind fresh. To do this, imagine that you are doing this or that job for the first time. Suppose you have an important project and you are trying to improve it a hundred times, but ideas do not occur. Imagine that you see all this work for the first time.

Such a business trick was invented by a professor named Prahalad. He regularly printed small notes that the same course could be taught in a new way.

Fresh ideas of beginners can completely “crush” your usual thinking. But there are several ways and methods of how to learn to listen to a new opinion.

Put your mind in training mode, then you can regain the beginner’s thinking

Do You Feel You Have Lost the Fresh Mind of a Beginner?

Do not worry, there are many ways to get it back!

The first step is to put the mind into training mode. Discover something new, new plans or ideas. Forget old troubles, muffle your arrogance and use any available source of inspiration.

This method was used by coach Jim Harbo to train his players. Jim saw enthusiasm and drive even inexperienced players who were already called professionals at that time. He decided to put a school photo in each player’s locker so that they would not forget how easy it was for them to be children. Thinking about children’s thinking, they looked at the world and the game differently.

There is another way to take a fresh look at things. Try to swap places with someone during the working day. You will be in a new environment and in a new circle of people, work and questions. So you can feel like a newbie again and take advantage of these benefits.

You can also just turn on your imagination and work on your mind. Fool your mind, go back to the time when you were a real newbie.

The famous director Francois Truffaut began his career from scratch. Once he went to a bookstore and bought a movie book there. This book impressed the future director so much that for a quarter of a century he made great films. When his hands fell, he imagined himself entering the store again, reading that book, and that same inspiration and desire for a new one came to him.

If newcomers are given a chance, they are able to organize a profitable company

So How Can Newbies Be an Important Element of Organizational Performance?

It is important to remember that newcomers not only bring new ideas for projects, they also work and inspire entire teams of employees.

For example, Nike was led by Peter Hudson in 2003. He brought this brand back to the high position of this industry. He recruited older employees to recruit young people with creative thinking.

They came up with new models of clothes and shoes, making changes to the structure of the company. Now it is already a large corporation that works directly with factories. But it was not always so. The company began to better adapt to consumers, reducing the process from design to the release of the finished product to a few weeks.

It is important to remember that in order to make newcomers successful, management needs to point them in the direction. Beginners need clear goals, and they themselves will find an easy and profitable path.

So that newcomers can prove themselves, you need to remind them of their responsibilities and responsibilities. This is necessary so that they do not go beyond, as their fresh thinking and ideas may not end. In order not to harm the organization itself, superiors must control new employees.

When it comes to the hospital, there are problems too. Experienced city doctors often make complaints to doctors in towns and villages because they did a poor job. A gloomy scenario is when a patient dies on the operating table. But such an outcome is only 5%. The remaining 95% of saved lives most often belong to novice doctors.

So the next time you need dedication, creativity, and enthusiasm, try considering a newbie. He or she can surprise the whole organization!

The Final Words

In a fast-paced modern society, learning and innovation are keys to success. This means that newcomers often outperform experienced employees. Fortunately, some leaders recognize these people with fresh ideas and inspiration.

In the office, take someone else’s work for yourself. Or volunteer outside the office. Maybe someone goes on vacation, and you can offer to replace him. So you help yourself, again feel like a beginner and will train your thinking. Ask questions, communicate, enjoy again your advantage of a new employee.

Why You Should Read “Rookie Smarts”

  • To be able to replenish staff with new talents.
  • To change career or open your own small business.
  • To get a special advantage in your work.

This book is available as:

AudiobookeBook | Print