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Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure (English Edition) par [Harford, Tim]
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Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure (English Edition) Format Kindle

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Longueur : 320 pages Word Wise: Activé Composition améliorée: Activé
Page Flip: Activé Langue : Anglais

Descriptions du produit

Présentation de l'éditeur

Everything we know about solving the world's problems is wrong.

Out: Plans, experts and above all, leaders.

In: Adapting - improvise rather than plan; fail, learn, and try again

In this groundbreaking new book, Tim Harford shows how the world's most complex and important problems - including terrorism, climate change, poverty, innovation, and the financial crisis - can only be solved from the bottom up by rapid experimenting and adapting.

From a spaceport in the Mojave Desert to the street battles of Iraq, from a blazing offshore drilling rig to everyday decisions in our business and personal lives, this is a handbook for surviving - and prospering - in our complex and ever-shifting world.

Biographie de l'auteur

Tim Harford wrote the million-selling 'The Undercover Economist' and has won awards both for his Financial Times columns and BBC Radio show 'More or Less'.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 924 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 320 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 1408701529
  • Editeur : Abacus; Édition : 1st (2 juin 2011)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B004XCFJ4S
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
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  • Word Wise: Activé
  • Composition améliorée: Activé
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 4.0 étoiles sur 5 3 commentaires client
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°180.427 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
bien construit . Plein d'analyses - un livre qui peut être utile à tout le monde.
Absolument à lire pour les gens en transition de vie proffessionnelle
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It is incredible how much information this book gives on everyday life and therefore everyone should read it now !
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Par Axel le 25 février 2012
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Disapponted by this book, compare to "The Logic of Life". I feel that the author Tim Harford had not a lot to say in this book. The title is good. At least.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) HASH(0x937e7c90) étoiles sur 5 83 commentaires
68 internautes sur 72 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x937fe828) étoiles sur 5 A Blueprint for Adapting 4 avril 2011
Par John Chancellor - Publié sur
Format: Relié Commentaire d‘un membre du Club des Testeurs ( De quoi s'agit-il? )
You may wonder about the need for adapting. Tim Harford, the author makes a very strong case for learning to adapt. "We face a difficult challenge: the more complex and elusive our problems are, the more effective trial and error becomes, relative to the alternatives. Yet it is an approach that runs counter to our instincts. The aim of this book is to provide an answer to that challenge."

There is no doubt that the world and our individual lives are becoming more complex and challenging. The conventional approach to solving problems does not seem to work.

Mr. Harford builds a case for an unconventional approach - an experimental approach involving trial and error.

The book puts forth that there are three essential steps for successful adapting: The first is to try new things with the knowledge that some will fail; to make failure survivable since some of the attempts will surely fail and to make sure you know when you have failed.

The essential steps seem fairly straightforward. But Mr. Harford takes the reader on a journey through history, recalling many failures - Robert McNamara's handling of the war in Vietnam; Donald Rumsfeld's stubbornness dealing with the war in Iraq; The Piper Alpha rig explosion in the North Sea; and the Lehman Brothers financial meltdown.

He also recalls many things that worked and contrasts the different approaches used by the successful - trial and error and adapting.

There is a wonderful collection of historical events, psychological experiments and insights that we can put to use in our daily lives.

Some of the insights deal with large organizations and governments. Here the average reader may become a bit discouraged that those in charge, those who should know, get so attached to their own decisions that they can't/won't let go of them. Rumsfeld and McNamara come to mind.

Chapter six is particularly interesting. It deals with the recent financial meltdown and in particular the Lehman Brothers failure. There is a great insight in the need for decoupling. The concept is quite simple, separate (decouple)the transactions of financial institutions so that the failure of any one will not bring down others. Unfortunately so many banks and investments banks were so tightly connected that any adverse occurrence in one had an impact on the entire system. The decoupling concept applies not only to financial institutions but to safety concerns - think the Horizon disaster - Three Mile Island, etc.

Chapter seven and eight brings all the concepts together. Chapter seven takes all the concepts concerning organizations and chapter eight deals with the concepts as it applies to individuals.

The lessons concerning the adaptive organization might seem a little beyond the average reader. But there is no doubt that we all will benefit greatly from the lessons contained in Adapting and You (Chapter 8).

We should understand that the key to success in an ever changing world is adapting. And the key to adapting is: Try new things, try them in a context where failure is survivable and learn how to react to the failures we do encounter.

A very enjoyable read with lots of great lessons. For the individual, the last chapter is the most valuable.
99 internautes sur 108 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x93bfb2a0) étoiles sur 5 Interesting anecdotes, unconvincing thesis 22 mai 2011
Par PriceTheory - Publié sur
Format: Relié
As always, Tim Harford finds the most interesting economic research and explains it well. As I read Adapt, I was frequently inspired to go online and look up the economics he reports on. The section on evolved virtual creatures prompted me to visit YouTube and watch for myself how animal-like forms evolved through computer simulations. After reading about the unintended consequences of some foreign aid programs, I had to see what a Play Pump looks like and watch the interviews with teachers who preferred the old borehole pumps. Adapt is an excellent collection of quotes, stories, and research findings on innovation and economic evolution.

However, the book falls short in a few ways. First, although Harford's writing is generally clear, he employs some annoying rhetorical devices that should have been edited out. One is that he repeatedly withholds the name of the person whose work he's discussing until he has built up all the details of the story. Only once he's laid out the research results does he reveal that the anonymous manager is a famous figure or someone we met in the last chapter. It's as if Harford isn't confident that the research will hold anyone's attention, so he has to play games with the reader. Equally irksome is his tendency to repeat points again and again, reminding readers of things he mentioned two pages back that no one could have forgotten.

The chapter on the financial crisis was also a disappointment. It devolved into boring jargon and obscure terms for different loans and contracts. Maybe it's not possible to make subprime mortgages entertaining, and I don't know if any other writer could have done a better job. But the book would have been more enjoyable without that tedious interlude.

But the main drawback is that Harford's thesis that economic progress parallels evolution in the natural world is not fully developed or defended. Certainly, economic progress is like evolution in that bad products disappear and good technology, like good genes, is passed along. Harford's assertion that isolation is a necessary precondition of creativity seems less persuasive. He gives examples from evolutionary biology in which populations adapted differently because they were separated by physical barriers. Harford then offers the example of researchers who moved out to Utah or Arizona to get some space as proof that human innovators must be similarly isolated. But is that really true in the world of human ideas? I'm not convinced. Virtually all innovators of the last century had some kind of intellectual peer group, either through a university or social circle. And modern communications enable researchers in Utah to keep abreast of the latest ideas and theories. They're not separated intellectually from their peers the way guppies in different ponds are separated physically. Furthermore, Harford does not fully explain what process in the economy corresponds to sexual reproduction in the natural world. How do good ideas spread if they're not identified by a manager from the top? Harford alludes to imitation by other economic actors, but doesn't show how or why this occurs.

Adapt is worthwhile reading as a starting-point for investigating economic research on innovation, but its model of economic development as a corollary to biological evolution is not completely satisfactory.
21 internautes sur 24 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x937fecb4) étoiles sur 5 Important book 10 mai 2011
Par Aretae - Publié sur
Format: Relié
Adapt is a well written book with compelling examples that covers, in my opinion, the single most important topic in how to think about thinking:

To a first approximation, rational deduction fails 100% of the time, when applied to the messy real world. The ONLY path to success is to try, fail, and adapt.

The examples are engaging, the writing is pleasant, and there are soundbites throughout that are wonderful. My favorite in the second half of the book was a joke making fun of self-help and business books.

The flow of the book goes roughly:

1. What's the likelihood of getting something wrong? (~100%)
2. What can we do? (Feedback + Adaptation)
3. What about situations where we have to get it right (Nuclear power plants?)
4. How do organizations adapt (Low central control).
5. How do individuals adapt (It's hard).

The book was generally very strong. The variety of examples throughout was particularly impressive. Anyone who doesn't already understand the idea that we all are wrong up front most of the time should have this book stapled to their hands. Considering myself well read in this space, I saw a new example I was unfamiliar with every third page.

Among my favorite of the little examples that I was unfamiliar with:
Paul Ormerod ran math models of corporate extinctions that lined up pretty well with math models of species extinctions. However, the math models only worked (had decent predictivity) if the assumption was that none of them were any good at all at predicting the future:

"It was possible to build a model that mimicked the real extinction signature of firms, and it was possible to build a model that represented firms as moderately successful planners; but it was not possible to build a model that did both."

2-3 years ago, I concluded that there was a wide open market for a book on the twin topics of ubiquitous error and feedback. I started a blog partly because the topic needed addressed, and it hadn't been addressed in the modern literature. Indeed, it was contradicted by most of the modern discussions. on any topic.

This book is easily the most important of the modern big idea-books. Malcolm Gladwell's minor insights are tiny details in comparison.


I was less than impressed by his treatment of point 3 above...but I'm less than impressed by my treatment of the topic as well...I don't think there is a good answer, and while Harford seems to admit as much at the end of the chapter (6), the rest of the chapter seems to be attempting to suggest a solution.

If I had written the book...I'd have pulled in 2 additional topics:

What does this mean for government?
My favorite prior thinkers in this direction are: John Boyd, W. Edwards Deming, and Kent Beck, and Frederich Hayek. Only Hayek is referenced, and lightly.

Minor quibbles aside...the book is required reading.
7 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x93802930) étoiles sur 5 A fantastic look at what works in the real world 31 mai 2011
Par Jeffrey Yutzler - Publié sur
Format: Relié
Tim Harford's new book examines how variation, selection, and decoupling combine to allow organizations to adapt to meet complex challenges. Variation is all about encouraging innovative approaches, some of which defy conventional wisdom. Selection is the dark art of figuring out what works and doesn't. Decoupling applies at two levels. The first is making experiments small enough that if they fail, they can be closed at minimal cost. At a lower level, decoupling is about designing systems whose parts are independent enough so that if one fails, the failure does not cascade to catastrophic levels. Harford uses a wide range of scenarios to describe each tenet and illustrate how they have worked in the past and how they can come together in the future to the benefit of all.

Harford's writing style is something every author in a technical field should aspire to. He uses everyday language and a clever sense of humor to explain complex concepts in the simplest terms possible, avoiding the jargon that makes many books impenetrable to the layperson. Perhaps more importantly, the book is carefully researched and sourced. Many of the examples will not be new information to the well-informed reader, but few of us have sources to back up the points at our fingertips. For someone like me who likes to debate some of these topics, the book is a gold mine of references.

To me the most important message is implied throughout the book but spelled out in the last two chapters. What does it mean to be adaptive, either as a person or as an organization? At its core, it is not a book about adaptation but about leadership. He takes dead aim at by-the-book top-down management approaches, providing a compelling argument that these approaches are part of the problem and must be eradicated to allow us to solve our toughest problems. He shows how many of the best ideas are developed by experts at lower levels of the organization. It is a lesson that every leader should take to heart.

My biggest issue with the book is the title. It goes beyond "Why?" to what I consider to be the far more important question, "How?". To me, a more appropriate title is "Adaptation: How Allowing Failure Leads to Success." Because of this, I find the book to be not just entertaining but important.
18 internautes sur 22 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x93802ae0) étoiles sur 5 Tim Harford's "Adapt" a study of failure, reward. 10 avril 2011
Par Barb Caffrey - Publié sur
Format: Relié Commentaire d‘un membre du Club des Testeurs ( De quoi s'agit-il? )
Tim Harford's "Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure" is a book about economic case study, written in an engaging, fast-moving way but without losing any of its erudition. Harford discusses many different types of business models, including the United States Army (the chapter about how the Army needed to adapt, pronto, in the Middle East is must-read stuff), various scientific endeavors (including one gentleman who studied mouse genetics, who succeeded by refusing to adapt, realizing that the world would adapt to him, not the reverse), and all sorts of economic pursuits. And in all of them, one thing is continuous: we fail. Again, and again, and again. And a smart manager, or businessman, or Army Captain on up, realizes this and either learns from his mistakes in order to succeed, or he'll fail over, and over, and over again.

The trick of life, Harford says, is to learn from your mistakes. This is such a truism that you'd not think anyone could hang a book around it except a feel-good psychologist -- but Harford is an economist (one of his other books is called "The Undercover Economist") and he looks at things more scientifically and rationally than I'd expected when I'd ordered this book.

I appreciated the insights being given here in "Adapt" precisely because Harford used case studies that were provable and relevant. It added a great deal to the readability of this book by covering topical subjects (including the TransOcean fiasco which poured billions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico) in an entertaining, fast-moving, yet brilliant way . . . all I can say is bravo to Harford, and bravissimo to his editor.

A shade under five stars (rounded up for Amazon's purposes), highly recommended for anyone who wants to understand the economy a little better -- or better yet, wants to figure out how to learn from his own mistakes in order to succeed the next time out.

Barb Caffrey
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