Columnist for The Times and best-selling author of Bounce: The myth of talent and the power of practice, Matthew Syed argues that the key to success is a positive attitude to failure.
What links the Mercedes Formula One team with Google? What links Dave Braisford's Team Sky and the aviation industry? What is the connection between the inventor James Dyson and the footballer David Beckham? They are all Black Box Thinkers.
Whether developing a new product, honing a core skill or just trying to get a critical decision right, Black Box Thinkers aren't afraid to face up to mistakes. In fact they see failure as the very best way to learn. Rather than denying their mistakes, blaming others or attempting to spin their way out of trouble, these institutions and individuals interrogate errors as part of their future strategy for success.
How many of us, hand on heart, can say that we have such a healthy relationship with failure? Learning from failure has the status of a cliché, but this book reveals the astonishing story behind the most powerful method of learning known to mankind and reveals the arsenal of techniques wielded by some of the world's most innovative organizations.
Their lessons can be applied across every field - from sport to education, from business to health. Using gripping case studies, exclusive interviews and really practical takeaways, Matthew Syed - the award-winning journalist and best-selling author of Bounce - explains how to turn failure into success and shows us how we can all become better Black Box Thinkers.
©2015 Matthew Syed (P)2015 Hodder & Stoughton
Gripped from the beginning and relevant throughout with brilliant examples. I'm already searching for the next great book that might be able to match this.
Some very powerful messages, which can be implemented in all facets of life
For example, move forward with plausible business ideas before checking if everything will be 'perfect' from day one - failure and adjusting accordingly is part of the journey to ultimate success, rather than an outcome
One of the best quotes from the book is along the lines of " what you are telling me contains elements of the truth, but is not the whole truth" - particularly relevant when people do not want to accept responsibility, acknowledge errors and look to then improve from those errors (applies to ourselves too)
Another wonderful business lesson is not to unfairly penalise colleagues / team members nor yourself if a genuine unintentional error occurs in the field - this encourages open discussion on how to improve and challenge the status quo and improve the whole business
Will listen to this book again
"Enlightening study of the benefits of failure"
These ideas can be applied to any profession or business to make profound improvements. The delivery is enthralling and the narrator is excellent.
"Great facinating story, a lot to learn from!"
They have very important true case examples that made very large impact to many people. Case studies of difference working and thinking cultures, such as aviation, health system and economy.
A gave only 4 (of 5) starts to the narrator. He has very pleasant English dialect and he is not boring to listen to, but sometimes it appears he has hard times breathing... :-) but he is mostly fine.
Chapter 10 is excellent ... shows how creativity can arise from mistakes and iterative learning. Chapter 1 and other live examples, depict how important is to learn mistakes. Maybe one of the best scene is showing two groups of researches and developers of a product: one are group of experts that attack the problem from scientific designated point of view, attempting to optimize the product by means of mathematics, physics and flow. The other group know nothing of all these science, but they work in the same way evolution works: they try by means of trial and error many different variations of the product, and consider only those with any small improvements. Then they iterate further from these, and with each generation of products the final results become better. They produced excellent product (that the group of experts failed to do), after 400 something trials and errors...
I am a 'natural born' scientist, ever critical and curious by why things are as they are. Maybe the most important thing I learned is to let go of devilish details sometimes, release products, articles and project with maybe flaws, but let other evaluate them, and learn to improve these from the feedback. Feedback is a key ingredient for success, yet, we forget sometimes to make the best out of the feedback we get. Moreover, not always we want to hear negative feedback because it may (and usually is) compromise our work and philosophies we worked so hard to achieve. However, by learning from critique and feedback, we almost always produce better results by large margines. By all means, stop being perfectionist because nothing is perfect, but accept that what we develop have flaws. The art is to learn from these flaws to improve.
It is important to remember that although when we start to read the book, we understand the main message: learn from failures. But few of us really understand the depths and what we can achieve by doing so. I heard by father dozens of times back in my teen days to learn from mistakes, and I mostly tended to ignore him, not really understanding what it means. This book does just that: by a serious of (many) examples, all real, show you how important and how you can use it for your benefit. Highly Recommended!
Nice chain of facts and previous events, followed by hindsight information and analysis. Real eyeopener and great speaker.
"Great book, so-so audio performance"
I absolutely loved the book. It's interesting, applicable, and very well written. The only downside was that the narrator was breathy and made so many mouth noises. It was incredibly distracting.
"Insightful, entertaining and informative"
Absolutely. It's well written, captivating, full of insight and is very persuasive. Writer clearly is passionate about his theories. Well worth reading. Thought provoking.
Narrated with the right amount of enthusiasm and without monotone. Get a real sense of interest from him as it piques your own interest too.
Mainly this book made me pensive. However I do find myself using a lot of the knowledge I've gained from it as part of the way I now approach my daily life. It really has changed my outlook on things. I think it's an improvement on bounce which was itself a very interesting read.
Well worth reading more than once. Picked up many things second time round that I missed to begin with.
"Five Chapters Stretched to Fifteen"
This book is about people, mainly men, unable for their minds to face that they are
wrong and mistaken even in presence of facts and evidence, persist in rigid belief to
freeze their own mental time –line The author draws
out examples of public case histories and labels it cognitive dissidence,
not simply a shocked ego in denial. As in the example I too became fixated on when
the book was going to justify the reviews, realised that it couldn’t for me and I’ve
made a mistake here and it’s not worth wasting another 3 hours of my life.
It’s going back
"Great book about learning from mistakes"
Lots of critical life and death real life examples. It's a very enjoyable listen and challenged my thought processes. However, I was expecting some more ideas on what approaches can be used to encourage people to learn from mistakes and how to move current thinking forward.
"Simple, informative and bursting with ‘scribble th"
Yes, it is one of those books you'll come back to, to remind yourself of things.
Not applicable, seriously audible, this generic form does not work. Listen to the Black Box Thinking book and then TAKE ACTION!
I've not, yet, I have just bought one though.
None of the above, don't be silly.
Stay strong during the first 9 minutes of chapter one, do, as I was, be tempted to stop listening and go back to your Archers podcast. As the campaigns says It Gets Better.
I am just starting chapter four and already this book has been worth the money / credit. Even if the rest of the book turned out to be Winnie the Pooh singing along to ABBA this book would have been worth it. Three chapters in and I’ve got a page of notes for both my professional and my personal life.
I can happily recommend this book, it’s one that I can see myself listening to repeatedly over the coming months / years. (Less than a week after buying Black Box Thinking, I’ve logged on to Audible to buy his other book Bounce.)
"Really, really interedting"
Really interesting concepts discussed and brought to life with real case studies. The first chapter wasn't a pleasant read, but that was just because of the nature of the story being told.
Before I had finished this book I has already ordered the author's other book, Bounce.
"Great book to understand importance of mistakes"
It's a great book, which helps to understand importance of making mistakes and learning from them.
"very interesting and mind changing"
I loved this book and the ideology it brings forth in a very clear, simple and fast flowing way. I was hesitating before I began because of some reviews stating a slow and difficult first three chapters. I did not experiance the book like that, I got suck into the story right away. I have already changed few things in my personal way of looking at things and how to respond to "failures" both my own and those of my loved ones. It will be harder to implement at my office but I will strive to do just that though.
I do also expect to listen to the whole book again this year to freshen myself up on the whole message it brings.
"Great book with challenging counter-intuitive content"
Really enjoyed listening to this book. First story made me cry a bit, gave me some significant things to think about about myself and approach. Helpful for both work and personal life.
"Never seemed to get to a point! 1/10"
This was difficult listening. At the start of chapter one I was very enthusiastic about listening to this, but after getting to chapter 4 I couldn't take any more. He droned on and on and I couldn't bare to listen to another word. This is only my opinion; Some of you may love it? Just not for me!
This book is really repetitive. It keeps talking about the same thing. It says something, then you hear about it again in next 10 mins. It repeats things. Repetitive book. Same thing. Oh my I think you get it now.
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