May 23rd, 2011
05:53 AM GMT
(CNN) - At last, someone who understands that failure is NOT the end of the world. Finally, a business book that doesn’t make me and half the people I know feel like idiots for not inventing Facebook first! A kindred spirit, I thought, as I sat down to interview Financial Times columnist Tim Harford about his new book “Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure.”
You see, Harford understands that success requires failure – over and over again. Even when you don’t realize you’ve failed in business, chances are you have. Chances are you learned from it. And chances are the next thing you undertook was better because of it.
Harford advocates making room to experiment and fail in your daily work environment. Easier said than done!
His examples include Lehman Brothers – a collapse of mind-numbing complexity – and a spate of problems too big to solve. Harford makes the case that preventing colossal failures would be easier if we’d just embrace the smaller ones along the way. Failure, he says, is under-rated (be sure to tell that to your boss at your next performance review will you?)
Harford’s examples include the banking crisis, the Iraq war, even climate change. What would you be more likely to fail at: Building a toaster or staging a Broadway musical? You might be surprised. There is a lot of high economics in plain English in Harford’s book—a delightful read!
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