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Imagine It Forward

Courage, Creativity, and the Power of Change
Narrated by: Beth Comstock
Length: 12 hrs and 34 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (162 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From one of today's foremost innovation leaders, an inspiring, personal approach to mastering change in the face of uncertainty.

Named a 2018 Best Business Book Pick by Fast Company and Wired UK.

Confronting change is incredibly hard, both organizationally and personally. People become resistant. They are afraid. Yet the pace of change in our world will never be slower than it is right now, says Beth Comstock, the former vice chair and head of marketing and innovation at GE.

Imagine It Forward is an inspiring, fresh, candid, and deeply personal audiobook about how to grapple with the challenges to change we face every day. It is a different kind of narrative, a big-picture audiobook that combines Comstock’s personal story in leading change with vital lessons on overcoming the inevitable roadblocks. One of the most successful women in business, Comstock shares her own transformation story from introverted publicist to GE’s first woman vice chair and her hard-won lessons in shifting GE, a 125-year-old American institution, toward a new digital future and a more innovative culture.  

As the woman who initiated GE's Ecomagination clean-energy and its (and NBC’s) digital transformations, Comstock challenged a global organization to not wait for perfection, but to seek out emerging trends, embrace smart risks, and test ideas boldly and often. She shows how each one of us can become a “change maker” by leading with imagination.   

“Ideas are rarely the problem,” writes Comstock. “What holds all of us back, really - is fear. It’s the attachment to the old, to ‘What We Know.’”

As Comstock makes clear, transforming the mind-set and culture of a company is messy. There is no easy checklist. It is fraught with uncertainty, tension, and too often, failure. It calls for the courage to defy convention, go around corporate gatekeepers when necessary, and reinvent what is possible.

For all those looking to spearhead change in their companies and careers and reinvent “the way things are done”, Imagine It Forward masterfully points the way.

©2018 Beth Comstock and Tahl Raz (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“If there is one skill that more individuals and companies need to hone it's imagination. And if there is one person who can teach us how to do it, it’s Beth Comstock. Woven together through own journey, Comstock offers us simple and practical steps on things we can all do to prepare ourselves for the future...or even invent it.” (Simon Sinek, optimist and New York Times best-selling author of Start with Why and Leaders Eat Last)

“Beth Comstock has written a wonderful book, full of excellent insights and lessons from her hugely successful career. She has recently been elected to the advertising all of fame, and after reading this you will know why. This book is of great value to almost virtually any leader and her stories and examples are told in a breezy way that makes it a joy to read.” (Phil Knight, founder of Nike and New York Times best-selling author, Shoe Dog)

Imagine It Forward is like having a coach on your shelf to help you lead forward. Beth shares her lessons on summoning candor, courage and action to make meaningful change happen in any organization.” (Kim Scott, New York Times best-selling author of Radical Candor

What members say

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Simply Awesome

Beth takes us on a magnificent journey of GE during the time of Jeff. There is lot to learn from this book and Beth’s experience of becoming the change during turbulent times. #Masterpiece #ChangeMaker

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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phenomenal and practical guide to strategy & story

by far, one of the best books I've ever heard on the exploration and application of lean startup, storytelling, and entrepreneurial efforts at scale. Beth's story is intensely personal and she brings you along

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Ready for change?

Very good learnings in the book on how to really learn the mechanisms of change both privately and professionally. Great experience!
Beth does a great job as the narrator.

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  • Laura K
  • Delran, New Jersey, United States
  • 07-09-19

An intertesting read with some real gems in it.

This book was a fascinating read. The book contained a wealth of good information and useful techniques for navigating the thorny road of change management and future focus within a company, a few key ideas leapt out at me as being vital to keep in mind and particularly relevant for my role as a PM.

The value of identifying and nurturing “Sparks” within your team or organization. Those individuals who can imagine future improvements to the organization or project. The value of these individuals cannot be overstated, and if you find a good one it’s well worth it to nurture them and to help them keep the faith.

The encouragement to continually revise your pitch and engagement strategy, to always adapt your message appropriately to an audience. The ability to simplify and Reframe is a valuable skill for a PM to develop and can make the difference between running a successful project and stakeholders becoming dissatisfied or hostile to your progress. Keep telling the story until everyone knows it.

Finding ways to actively recruit and weaponize the gatekeepers within your company to improve the overall health of your project. I’ve run many projects over the years and by far the worst experience is when you have people who are simply naysaying and telling you why it can’t be done without offering anything in return. Someone standing in your way for no reason other than “We’ve always done it this way” offers nothing to you or the company. If you can turn them into someone who has a stake in your operation and a legitimate critique that lets you make your project better everyone wins.

The 1% improvement analysis section actually blew my mind. I’m a big fan of process improvements and making things better and more efficient. However, it’s very difficult to justify a lot of work over such small, incremental improvements. Unless you can bring the analytics in house and start putting numbers onto the smallest easy to understand improvement metric, you might be left in the cold for process improvements.

While the advice was generally compelling, one aspect I found truly interesting, and would have liked to have read more of, was the cognitive dissonance and resistance that the mere idea of change can provoke in an organization. A peek into the strain and dysfunction that a desire to innovate and stay relevant causes at an organization as entrenched as GE was fascinating to read about. The author was engaged in one of the world’s largest corporations for many formative years leading up until now, and It was a fascinating look at corporate culture at that time being forced to evolve with the times.

All in all I’m glad I read this book. It offered a different perspective on the corporate world than I typically hold and helped to put some higher-level decisions in context for me, which will let me appreciate the logic behind them when they happen within my organization.

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amazing story

I felt like I got to know Beth, her victorys, her defeats--learnes a great deal!

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wow! powerful story.

Wow! what a powerful story of change and and the courage it takes to stay the course just what I needed to hear!

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Use these principles daily

I used to want to have my own business... but with having the dream of wanting stability and a more consistent schedule I went with a traditional corporate job.

Beth Comstock’s book truly allows you to understand how you can be a positive catalyst of change within your company and understand the value of having patience while doing it.

I can’t begin to express how much love I have for this book. It’s hard to find books on intreprenuerahip specifically.

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Inspiring personally

The author really puts her own story forward and without referencing new generations of people joining the workforce, her advice and experiences are extremely applicable for those looking for advice in that area as well.

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Be the Unicorn.

Not often does a book captivate exactly how you feel in your own journey. This novel is a MUST buy audiobook, that is relatable to anyone at any point in their career (especially if you're the creative type). This novel is read with passion, innovation, and provides tangible action you can take today in your own business.

"If failure is not an option, then neither is success." If you can only choose one book to listen to this year, let it be this one. This isn't your cookie cutter self-help book, this is a career built with facts, failure, success, & plenty of lessons.

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I want to learn more from Beth Comstock...

This was an amazing book and by a true leader that any confident person can get behind. This will be a good book for any leader looking to grow in order to continue to lead today and the future.

Dustin Lee