William Taylor

Founding Editor, Fast Company and Best-Selling Author, Mavericks at Work, Practically Radical and Simply Brilliant

William C. Taylor is an agenda-setting writer, speaker and entrepreneur who chronicles the best ways to compete, innovate and succeed. His new book, Simply Brilliant: How Great Organizations Do Ordinary Things in Extraordinary Ways, offers a set of messages and a collection of case studies about how to unleash breakthrough creativity and cutting-edge performance in even the most familiar, slow-to-change fields. Simply Brilliant (2016) offers leadership lessons from organizations that are doing exciting, compelling, truly extraordinary things, but in traditional, accessible, ordinary settings. It draws on in-depth access to retail banks, insurance companies, fast-food joints, department stores, an office cleaning service, heartland manufacturers, industrial distributors and even a parking garage. It also draws on case studies that are not businesses per se: a nationwide campaign to end homelessness, the health-care system for Native Alaskans and a project to revitalize a major city.

Simply Brilliant is a sequel of sorts to Taylor’s most recent book, Practically Radical: Not-So-Crazy Ways to Transform Your Company, Shake Up Your Industry, and Challenge Yourself, which was published in January 2011. Best-selling author Daniel Pink called Practically Radical “the most powerful and instructive change manual you’ll ever read.” Anne Mulcahy, former chairman and CEO of Xerox, called it “a handbook for successful transformation and a great tutorial for implementing your change agenda.” Arianna Huffington says: “The ideas are fresh, the advice is stuff you can actually use, and the results will be tangible.” Before Practically Radical, Taylor published Mavericks at Work: Why the Most Original Minds in Business Win. “I didn’t just ‘read’ this book, I devoured it!” declared Tom Peters when Mavericks appeared. Just weeks after its release, Mavericks became a New York Times bestseller, a Wall Street Journal business bestseller and a BusinessWeek bestseller. The Economist called the book “a pivotal work in the tradition of In Search of Excellence and Good to Great.” The Economist also named Mavericks one of its “Books of the Year” for 2006, as did the Financial Times.

Bill’s three books are just the latest chapter in a career devoted to challenging conventional wisdom and showcasing the power of business at its best. As co-founder and founding editor of Fast Company, he launched a magazine that won countless awards, earned a passionate following among executives and entrepreneurs around the world, and became a legendary business success. In less than six years, an enterprise that took shape in some borrowed office space in Harvard Square sold for $340 million.

Fast Company has won just about every award there is to win in the magazine world, from “Startup of the Year” to “Magazine of the Year” to three National Magazine Awards. In recognition of Fast Company’s impact on business, Bill was named “Champion of Workplace Learning and Performance” by the American Society for Training and Development. He has published numerous essays and CEO interviews in the Harvard Business Review, and his column “Under New Management” ran in the Sunday business section of The New York Times. He now writes a popular management blog for Harvard Business Review.

A graduate of Princeton University and the MIT Sloan School of Management, he lives in Wellesley, Massachusetts, with his wife and two daughters.