Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Just reviewed Tim Harford’s “Adapt” for SBR

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Folks, I just wrote a review for economist Tim Harford’s ADAPT: WHY SUCCESS ALWAYS STARTS WITH FAILURE for Shiny Book Review.  Here’s the link:

http://shinybookreview.wordpress.com/2011/07/02/economist-tim-harfords-adapt-trial-and-error-the-only-path-to-success/

Now, as to why you should drop everything and read this book?  It’s a witty, interesting look at how big companies and organizations, like the United States Army, Whole Foods Market, and TransOcean either succeed, or fail, depending on how well they adapt to changing circumstances.  In addition, Harford points out that there’s great value in iconoclasm (he spends time discussing mouse geneticist Mario Capecchi, who’s “adapted” over time by refusing to adapt — an unusual strategy, but the right one for him), and an even greater value in speaking your mind because the right commander (like David Petreus or HR McMaster) or captain of industry (think Whole Foods here) does not want “yes-men” and indeed, cannot use them — instead, they want a clear-eyed sturdy rationalist to check them on occasion and help refine their thinking most of the rest of the time.  (I’d venture a guess that scientist Capecchi is likely to value clear-headed rational thinking, for that matter; indeed, in his line of work, a “yes-man” would be entirely useless.)

So, please, do go read ADAPT.  Then keep it on your shelf for ease of consultation, while appreciating it more over time for its witty language and wry irony.

Written by Barb Caffrey

July 2, 2011 at 11:06 pm

Posted in Book reviews

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