Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure by Tim Harford

The World is Really Complex.

  • It’s so complex that expert predictions are often wrong and are only a little better than chance. The solutions to complex problems evolve much the same way life evolves. New ideas are analogous to the mutations that drive evolution. Like the mutations that result in a higher probability of survival, good ideas survive and are copied by others. Anything that you own that works was produced thanks to a long trail of trial and error, the same way we evolved.
  • The principals of variation, checking for survivability, and selection drive successful solutions for evolution and the market place. Systems that don’t allow for variations, are bound to fail sooner or later. Soviet communism was often thought to be more successful than capitalism in the 1950’s. By 1989 it’s failure was obvious to all due to the fact that people were often punished for pointing out how things could be done better. The tendency for leaders to encourage “yes men” prevent organizations from successful adaptations. Schools seem to fall into this category. The bottom line is that we have to be more comfortable with mistakes and learn from them rather than denying them or covering them up.
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