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AuthorsWilliam Taylor and Polly LaBarre studied dozens of trailblazingcompanies to find the most creative entrepreneurs and executivesaround. The result is Mavericks at Work: Why the Most Original Minds in Business Win ($27, William Morrow). Some key ideas:

Walk in stupid every day.That’s the motto of Dan Wieden, legendary founder of the Wieden+Kennedyadvertising agency (Nike, ESPN, Miller Brewing Company). No matter howlong you’ve been on top, say the authors, keep seeking out unexpectedideas, outside influences, and new perspectives.

What you think shapes how you talk.Create your own company vocabulary, like board-game maker Cranium did.In their lingo, customers are “Craniacs” and all products must be CHIFF— clever, high-quality, innovative, friendly, and fun.

Innovation through agitation.Employ splashy, unorthodox tactics to create buzz. The CEO of retailbank ING Direct USA led 700 Harley riders on a 700-mile jaunt; inBoston, the company bought subway tickets for all riders one morning.

Competition by not competing.Online classified-ad-busting Craigslist.org uses neither advertisingnor focus groups, has no logo, and is mostly free, but the company’syearly revenues have been estimated at $20 million. — C.T.