Friday, December 2, 2016

Mike Polen's Reviews > Messy: The Power of Disorder to Transform Our Lives

Messy: The Power of Disorder to Transform Our LivesMessy: The Power of Disorder to Transform Our Lives by Tim Harford
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book entertained, educated and inspired me. It is relatively short (265 pages) and has a simple premise: openness and adaptability are inherently messy and that is a good thing. The book is full of interesting stories I fully enjoyed. The Introduction starts with the the background to the Köln Concert by the pianist Keith Jarrett. Wikipedia says it "went on to become the best-selling solo album in jazz history, and the all-time best-selling piano album" and that's not the interesting part. Each of the nine chapters has a one word title, BTW this makes for fun word combos at the top of each page (e.g. Messy Winning), which tell a series of stories wrapped around the main point to tell a sub point.

The chapters (Creativity, Collaboration, Workplaces, Improvisation, Winning, Incentives, Automation, Resilience, and Life) have a wide range of anecdotes. The ones that spoke to me covered the founding of the SAS, King's "Normalcy, Never Again" speech that ended with the best Improvisation ever, Brian Eno's crazy,musical genius, Muzafer Sherif's Robbers Cave Experiments, MIT's building 20, John Boyd's OODA loop, Earl Wiener's laws especially "Digital devices tune out small errors while creating opportunities for large errors.", Diederik Stapel's fraud, Flight 447 and Monderman's "Squareabout". This book gave me hope that the current craziness of data-driven, top-down, mega-management has a kink that hopefully will be cracked by passionate, messy pioneers.

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