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  • How Big Things Get Done

  • The Surprising Factors Behind Every Successful Project, from Home Renovations to Space Exploration
  • By: Professor Bent Flyvbjerg, Dan Gardner
  • Narrated by: Rob Shapiro
  • Length: 7 hrs and 16 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (28 ratings)

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How Big Things Get Done

By: Professor Bent Flyvbjerg,Dan Gardner
Narrated by: Rob Shapiro
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Publisher's Summary

Nothing is more inspiring than a big vision that becomes a triumphant new reality. Think of how Apple’s iPod went from a project with a single employee to an enormously successful product launch in eleven months. But they are the exception. Consider how London’s Crossrail project delivered five years late and billions overbudget. More modest endeavours, whether launching a small business, organizing a conference, or just finishing a work project on time, also commonly fail. Why?

Understanding what distinguishes the triumphs from the failures has been the life’s work of Oxford professor Bent Flyvbjerg. In How Big Things Get Done, he identifies the errors that lead projects to fail, and the research-based principles that will make yours succeed:

  • Understand your odds. If you don't know them, you won't win.
  • Plan slow, act fast. Getting to the action quick feels right. But it's wrong.
  • Think right to left. Start with your goal, then identify the steps to get there.
  • Find your Lego. Big is best built from small.
  • Master the unknown unknowns. Most think they can't, so they fail. Flyvbjerg shows how you can.

Full of vivid examples ranging from the building of the Sydney Opera House to the making of the latest Pixar blockbusters, How Big Things Get Done reveals how to get any ambitious project done—on time and on budget.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2023 Professor Bent Flyvbjerg and Dan Gardner (P)2023 Penguin Random House Inc

Critic Reviews

"A wise, vivid, and unforgettable combination of inspiring storytelling with decades of practical research and experience." (Tim Harford, bestselling author of How to Make the World Add Up)

"My only complaint about this book is that it wasn’t written earlier. It distills decades of systematic research from thousands of projects. The result is a crystal-clear pattern of surprising reasons why almost all big human projects fail to deliver as expected." (Ola Rosling, bestselling co-author of Factfulness)

"The best scientific advice on project planning. It is arguably the bargain of the century. For a few dollars you can tap into thousands of dollars of insights in executive-education classrooms." (Philip Tetlock, bestselling co-author of Superforecasting)

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What good can look like

The book emphasizes the importance of making honest forecasts based on project categories, rather than your own ambitions.

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Must read by all project managers and leaders

A great book and must read by all project managers and project leaders. Even the title talks about big things, actually the principles talks here can simply applied to all levels of project.

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Informative and an easy listen

I found this audio book really easy to listen to. There was no real technical speak nor ego in the language. The sharing of this sort of information and tips of what to look for I find very valuable. Highly recommend this title to anyone who has ever heard themselves say,”how did they do that”

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When the author talks abou his mistakes

Easy to listen to , everyday words and sentences. The author pointed out his mistakes and validated opinions against his position. When a book is written for a reason, and stays true to that reason , even at the authors expence , so the reader can have a better understanding, When a author throws himself under the bus for the readers benefit, 5 stars.

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Fantastic read

With relatable examples that resonate with a wide audience. Great read, kept me interested to the very end!

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Everyone in construction should read this…

This book articulates perfectly what a lot of us in the construction industry deeply know but haven’t been able to put in words until now. The background information/data base that is the foundation of this book is an incredible achievement on its own. Thank you for this.

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Very insightful and thought provoking

Very digestible cadence and information. Great story driven learnings backed up by significant data, I highly recommend.

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A good book to read.

A good book to read to get an insight into what works and doesn’t in a project.

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Fantastic audiobook

I’m not usually into books on project management, but this audiobook was really well structured and I learnt a lot!

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Ben Shapiro?

I think you may have named the wrong narrator. I don't believe this is Ben Shapiro.

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