Disrupt Yourself Book Summary By Whitney Johnson

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Disrupt Yourself (2015) is a comprehensive guide to finding and unlocking the full potential of your career.

This book shows you how to embrace change, take calculated risks and develop new skills in order to stay ahead of the rapidly changing landscape we live in.

It also provides an insight into how other executives have successfully navigated through complex changes, while inspiring readers to seek out their unique talents and interests.

Lastly, it encourages one to meticulously prepare for any endeavor so that they can make most of the opportunity presented to them.

From managing relationships with others to being intuitive with yourself, this book promises a wealth of knowledge that will lead you down the path of success!

Disrupt Yourself Book

Book Name: Disrupt Yourself (Putting the Power of Disruptive Innovation to Work)

Author(s): Whitney Johnson

Rating: 4.3/5

Reading Time: 15 Minutes

Categories: Career & Success

Author Bio

Whitney Johnson is a well known name in the business and investment world, having co-founded Rose Park Advisors and been a contributor to the Harvard Business Review.

Perhaps more importantly, she is an advocate for those looking to disrupt themselves by finding ways to keep their journey of life and work moving forward.

Her other works include multiple best-selling books, such as Dare, Dream, Do, which reinforces her message on disrupting one's self.

With her latest book Disrupt Yourself: Master Comfort And Joy Of Change, Johnson guides readers through a journey of disruption that is sure to have lasting impact.

How To Disrupt Yourself: The Secrets Of Personal Disruption For More Success


Are you ready to break through the status quo and become the master of your own destiny? If so, get ready to be disruptive!

Disruptive thinking and behaviour can help you become successful in ways that were previously unimaginable.

And with all the advancements in technology, there is no reason why you shouldn’t test the limits and disrupt yourself.

Take one lawyer for example: She was able to successfully disrupt her career and was promoted to partner shortly afterwards.

Not only that, but it was discovered that 72 percent of successful new businesses have an unexpected shortage in common – which is something to definitely keep in mind if you’re looking for more success!

And don’t forget – sometimes taking a step back from everything can lead to the most successful disruption.

So what are you waiting for? Get ready to disrupt yourself!

The Benefits Of Taking Market Risks Over Competitive Risks In Business

As we all know, taking risks is part of starting a business.

However, not all risks are created equally and depending on the type of risk you take, it could make a difference in how successful you become.

According to Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen’s landmark study on the computer industry, there are two main types of risk: competitive and market risk.

Competitive risk occurs when you have an idea for a great product but other companies might be developing something similar.

Whereas market risk occurs when you have an unique idea that hasn’t been tested yet so you can’t be sure if it will generate revenue or not.

When it comes to these two types of risk, studies have shown that start-up companies tend to perform better if they take the market risk.

According to Christensen’s findings, only six percent of competitive risks made it past the $100 million mark whereas 37 percent of the companies that had taken a market risk hit above this same benchmark.

That being said, when considering whether or not to take a business move, it’s important to remember that there are many types of risks out there – some more significant than others – when trying to become successful.

Develop Your Unique Strengths To Achieve Success In A Highly Competitive Marketplace

In order to be successful and stand out in today’s competitive marketplace, it’s crucial to identify and leverage your unique strengths.

Look for untapped needs in society that you can fill with your own particular brand of expertise.

As an example, consider the story in The Hundred Foot Journey.

Hassan was a talented Indian cuisine chef who had the ability to combine the spices of his homeland with French flavors.

By utilizing this distinctive ability he created something nobody else could, and it ended up becoming a huge success!

This same idea can be used by anyone looking to break into new markets.

Jayne Juvan turned heads when she started at law firm Roetzel & Andreas in Cleveland, Ohio.

Even though she was surrounded by conservative males, she saw an underserved market which was people not using social media, so she decided to try advertising legal services on Twitter and Facebook which quickly caught attention from big clients.

Her bosses were so impressed they made her partner at the age of 32!

Limited Resources, Limited Experience: How Money And Lack Of Knowledge Can Lead To Business Success

Business Success

Having limited money and experience in a certain field can be tricky, but it can also serve as powerful motivators.

Just look at the success of real estate manager Nick Jekogian’s business when he had limited funds to run his business.

He was forced to become creative and ensure that employees put in quality effort so mistakes were avoided.

A 2007 study by Entrepreneur magazine showed that 72 percent of the most successful new businesses don’t have access to money from private investors or bank loans.

Athelia Woolley LeSueur was an experienced international relations specialist who eventually ventured into fashion due to health issues.

Her lack of experience in the field actually worked out for her, as she skipped all of the customary practices like hiring representatives and expensive wholesalers which enabled her to save time and money.

Over time, this strategy paid off and Shabby Apple is now worth over $47 million!

So, if you’re ever feeling overwhelmed with financial or experience constraints, use them as positive sources of motivation instead.

By doing so, you can turn limited resources into great opportunities!

Don’T Fall Victim To Cultural And Intellectual Entitlement: Why It’S Important To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone For Innovation

Feelings of cultural and intellectual entitlement can be killers when it comes to innovation and leadership.

That’s because those suffering from such feelings only surround themselves with like-minded people who share their same values and ideas, instead of looking outside the box for alternative sources.

The Kellogg School of Management looked into this phenomenon, finding that the most successful scientific papers were those that combined well-established academic sources with a small amount (10 to 15 percent) of unique or alternative sources.

This shows that the successful authors had taken a chance on different voices in order to come up with something new.

On the other hand, if leaders operate under a feeling of intellectual entitlement, their ego prevented them from listening to any suggestions or critiques presented by others.

This is what happened to Brooksley Born, former chairwoman of the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission prior to 2008 economic crash – her warnings about regulations in the derivatives market was shot down by Chairman Alan Greenspan and Treasury Secretary Larry Summers due to their superiority complex.

Overall, it’s very important for individuals in positions of power not fall prey to feelings of cultural and/or intellectual entitlement as it will kill creativity and prevent them from being effective leaders.

Achieving Success Through Knowing When To Step Down: The Carine Clark Story

If you’ve ever watched divers at the Olympics, then you know how much skill and precision it takes to execute a successful dive.

The same level of poise and control is also needed when making career-altering moves, such as stepping down from your position or taking a different route in terms of increasing success.

Carine Clark demonstrated that it is indeed possible to turn stepping down into a great opportunity – she was able to go from a senior manager at Novell, which she stepped down from after launching an $80-million marketing campaign, to becoming CEO of Altiris following its acquisition by Symantec for 6 billion dollars.

It’s also possible to make positive changes even if you’re forced out of your job against your will.

After being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009 and taking some time off to recover, Clark built her own software company from scratch – only for it to be acquired 3 years later by MaritzCX where she was then made head of the new company.

This goes to show that knowing when to take a step back and start anew can lead to great things, but such decisions should not be taken lightly.

It’s important to weigh up the risks attached with making such moves carefully before doing so; however, looking at the situation objectively can help make the right judgement calls and ultimately result in increased success!

Hard Work And Perseverance Can Lead To Success Despite Setbacks


Studies have repeatedly shown that intelligent people are often particularly afraid of failure, and yet it can be the key to success.

This is exemplified by a study conducted by child specialists Carol Dweck and Claudia Mueller.

In the study, two groups of fifth-graders were given different types of praise after successfully completing an easy task.

One group was told they were “smart” while the other was praised for working hard.

The groups were then asked to complete a difficult task none of them could get right.

Finally, in the third round, they completed an easy task again—this time, the “smart” group performed 25 percent worse than before, while those who had been praised for hard work showed 25 percent improvement!

This shows us that praising intelligence can discourage people when faced with a roadblock or failure; it’s important instill that as long as one works hard even if they fail, lessons learned from such experiences can help them achieve future successes.

As entrepreneur Nate Quigley demonstrated despite his unsuccessful attempts at launching Folkstory and JustFamily apps, persisting until he created Chatbooks—which was widely successful—proved especially beneficial.

Be Adaptable And Flexible; It’S The Key To Career Success

Discovering new things and being open to change is what often drives the most successful careers and companies.

This was proven by the story of Linda Descano, a geology student who wound up in various kinds of work, from environmental consulting to legal counseling and asset management, before finally landing at Citigroup as their lifestyle blogger.

She exuded curiosity as she took on different roles that tested her knowledge and skills.

Similarly, Millennial Pharmaceuticals is an example of how a business can adapt with success.

Starting out as a biochemical company, they recognized that other treatments were more important to their target population, branching out into research and evaluation of new drugs.

Eventually, they developed Velcade, a new drug for multiple myeloma which proved successful in treating cancer.

These changes prove that progress isn’t always linear–seizing opportunities for change can prove very beneficial for growth.

These stories demonstrate just how essential it is to have a spirit of discovery when contemplating careers and businesses alike.

Staying open-minded will ensure you can explore new avenues without limiting yourself and potentially missing out on major successes down the line!

Wrap Up

The book Disrupt Yourself offers valuable advice and insights into personal growth in professional and private life.

The key message of the book is that it’s important to take risks, challenge yourself, and be brave enough to start from scratch if necessary.

Additionally, it encourages learning from your failures and taking a close look at your unique talents in order to use them for a great life mission.

To sum up this book: Keep listening to your inner voice and never forget about your own capabilities.

The actionable advice is to have the courage to stay with your ideas even when you think they don’t fit into any obvious business model, as was the case with Susan Cain who wrote a best-selling book despite her idea being unconventional at first.

At all costs, keep developing yourself!

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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