N4L 141: "Disrupt Yourself" by Whitney Johnson


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By Janet Perry, Janet Perry: blogger, and Nonfiction book lover. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.


Whitney Johnson, named one of 50 leading business thinkers in the world, shares her groundbreaking work in Disrupt Yourself: Master Relentless Change and Speed Up Your Learning Curve. With a new introduction, the book is endorsed by business heavy-hitters such as Eric Ries, Clayton Christensen, Liz Wiseman, Adam Grant, Steve Wozniak, Susan Cain, and Tom Peters.

Aware that all companies--large and small--need high-growth individuals to implement high-growth plans, Johnson helps us apply the theory of disruptive innovation to our own path. Specifically, understanding how to master the S-curves in our lives will propel us upward as we move forward in time. In other words, when we disrupt ourselves, we jump, learn, leap, and repeat! Johnson warns, "If you don't disrupt when you feel you are called to do so, you'll die inside just a little. There's even a name for it: the innovator's dilemma. Whether you innovate or not, you risk downward mobility."


  • Consider jumping to a new S-curve if you can’t “carry your dreams to work.” (Functional and emotional jobs both need to get done.)
  • Focus on market risks rather than on competitive risks. (“Play where no one else is playing.”)
  • Motivate yourself to jump to a new S-curve by asking, “What are the bad things could happen if I don’t disrupt myself?”
  • Other points: play to your distinctive strengths; embrace constraints; battle entitlement (“the innovation killer”); step down, back, or sideways to grow.


  • "The whole point of disruption is to move up the y-axis of success...over the x-axis of time."
  • “The fundamental unit of disruption is always the individual."
  • "When you're being disruptive, the best possible start-up scenario is to be dismissed, even ignored.
  • "A distinctive strength is something that you do well that others within your sphere don't."
  • "When we believe we are owed something by life...we get caught in a vortex of narcissism that makes personal disruption impossible."
  • "Every constraint, whether physical or mental, external or internal, can be a catalyst for moving up our learning curve."

BUY Disrupt Yourself, With a New Introduction: Master Relentless Change and Speed Up Your Learning Curve


BUY How Will You Measure Your Life?

BUY Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life

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