Tim Harford’s Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure

Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with FailureAdapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure by Tim Harford
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I like Tim Harford’s books, and this is no exception: an entertaining and informative read on a new paradigm for success. Harford argues that you should avoid single, big, top-down, long-term strategies in favour of many, localised, small experiments that you can afford to have fail. Good experiments will succeed, bad ones will fail. This will give rise to emergent strategies – bottom up, localised approaches to solving problems that really work. If, during this process, you fail multiple times this should be both expected and planned for. Adaptability is key. Harford illustrates his idea with several intriguing case studies, including the war in Iraq and oil platform accidents. Highly recommended for those dealing with organisational strategy, innovation or just tackling the sorts of problems that are common in business.

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