What is Rookie Smarts?

Rookie Smarts: How we tend to think and act when we are doing something for the first time.

In a time of constant change, success depends on seeing the world through rookie eyes, and in this essential guide, the bestselling author of Multipliers explains why we are often at our best when we are doing something for the first time—and how to reclaim and cultivate this curious, flexible, youthful mindset called Rookie Smarts.

In a rapidly changing world, experience can be a curse. Being new, naïve, and even clueless can be an asset. Rookies are unencumbered, with no baggage to weigh them down, no resources to burden them, and no track record to limit their thinking or aspirations. For today’s knowledge workers, constant learning is more valuable than mastery.

Leadership expert Liz Wiseman argues that the most successful rookies are hunter-gatherers—alert and seeking, cautious but quick like firewalkers, and hungry and relentless like frontiersmen. Most importantly, she identifies a breed of leaders she refers to as “perpetual rookies.” Despite years of experience, they retain their rookie smarts, thinking and operating with the mindsets and practices of these high-performing rookies.

Rookie Smarts addresses the questions every experienced professional faces: “Will my knowledge and skills become obsolete and irrelevant? Will a young, inexperienced newcomer upend my company or me? How can I keep up?” The answer is to stay fresh, keep learning, and know when to think like a rookie.

Rookie Smarts isn't just for professionals seeking personal renewal; it is an indispensable resource for all leaders who must ensure their workforce's remains vital and competitive.

  • “Wiseman (co-author: The Multiplier Effect: Tapping the Genius Inside Our Schools, 2014, etc.) provides a big boost for first-time employees and others who refuse to be bound by arbitrary limits. . . .An exciting promotion of lifelong discovery and enthusiasm as answers to routine and business as usual.”
    Kirkus Reviews
  • “Wiseman masterfully shows why novices can outdo veterans, expertise blinds us to fresh ideas, and the brilliance of newbies remains untapped. With sage insights and fascinating examples, Rookie Smarts is a must-read.”
    ADAM GRANT
    Wharton professor and author of Give and Take
  • “If you want to be a learning machine, improving and growing every year, this is the book for you.”
    LASZLO BOCK
    SVP of People Operations, Google, Inc.
  • “As a company grows, nothing is more important than retaining a culture of innovation. Rookie Smarts shows how even a big company can take risks, innovate, and operate like a challenger.”
    MARC BENIOFF
    Chairman and CEO, Salesforce.com