- Hardcover: 336 pages
- Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group (21 November 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1408706768
- ISBN-13: 978-1408706763
- Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 3.1 x 16.4 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,841 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Messy Hardcover – 21 Nov 2016
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Ranging expertly across business, politics and the arts, Tim Harford makes a compelling case for the creative benefits of disorganization, improvisation and confusion. His liberating message: you'll be more successful if you stop struggling so hard to plan or control your success. Messy is a deeply researched, endlessly eye-opening adventure in the life-changing magic of not tidying up
[Harford's] best and deepest book
Messy masterfully weaves together anecdote and academic work
Harford urges us to recapture our autonomy . . . fascinating . . . Harford's argument goes beyond aesthetics, resurfacing over and over in his engrossing narrative
A profoundly stimulating canter through why we should all allow a little mess - but not chaos - in our lives, on our desks, and in our minds. A powerful expansion of Harford's previous excellent work, from a fascinating and contrasting viewpoint
It's a very very good book, full of wise counterintuitions and clever insights
A charismatic book . . . Few writers are better qualified to champion disorder and particularity . . . Harford is an elegant and dizzyingly catholic thinker . . . entertaining and insightful
Tim Harford's brilliant new book
Messy is a book filled with instructive stories in the manner of Malcolm Gladwell
Messy is an intelligent self-help book designed to cultivate greater tolerance for spontaneity, uncertainty, dissonance and diversity. Harford's evidence-based account transcends the cliches endemic to the genre - or refashions them anew
The new book from the author of The Undercover Economist shows us how we can lead messier lives - and why we should.See all Product description
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Top customer reviews
Harford starts off well, showing situations where adversity helps in bringing out the creative genius in us. He also gives examples of how crazily designed workplaces can boost innovation. In many places, he also points out cases where people do take shortcuts just to adhere to processes.
From a more contemporary perspective, Harford points out the perils of automating everything. While he makes valid points most of the times, some times it is not clear if the example that he gives is about being messy or not. For instance, he talks about the improvisation that Martin Luther King brings in his lectures. It is not clear how this relates to messiness.
Overall, I would have appreciated a bit more practical tips on how to let go of certain habits of orderliness. Nevertheless, a good book that comes with interesting perspectives.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Then Harford played a trick on me - he made me uncomfortable. I like for things to be organized. So there’s a certain amount of clutter I always seem to need to clear away to get down to the work I want to do. Time and again in Messy, I was told that I would be more creative and successful if I let go of the need to organize and basically did the thing I most wanted to do while having a few other projects in the background. Harford showed me how I was doing unnecessary things as a way to avoid doing what was really important. That is not what I wanted to hear from The Undercover Economist. He’s usually much more supportive of my behavior. “Let it go” is not what I expected to hear from him. Honestly, I was thinking about writing a letter of protest.
But by "Chapter 4: Improvisation” I was a convert. There’s a section in Chapter 4 about not stifling the creatives. Apparently, I don’t need a cube farm dictator to stifle me. I’ve been stifling myself. In short, I had a come to Jesus moment with myself, and after reading Chapter 4, I started tearing up lists I’d been making about how I was going to structure my life and my time after I quit my full-time job to work to make a life for myself that is more creative and rewarding. Somehow, after just 4 chapters that included such disparate information as Brian Eno’s randomization card deck, examples of team harmony versus goal harmony, completely ridiculous workplaces set-ups, and a section about how to talk with dementia patients, I was a convert to messiness.
I hope this all works out or at least that The Undercover Economist can, at some point, help me put my life back together if that becomes necessary.
Messy's main thread is how unexpected (often bad) situations can produce great outcomes. It argues that we should try to provoke such situations to improve our lot, and gives countless vivid examples of this. The one that hits closest to home in my case is changing tasks every few years (or even changing fields of work entirely) keeps employees engaged, on their toes and productive. We don't do enough of this.