From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. A pleasant surprise for anyone frustrated with the way complex problems are misconstrued and dumbed-down in daily life, this challenge from business scholars Mitroff and Silvers goes out to media, higher education, health care, and American institutions ranging from government to celebrity, to demonstrate the relevance of concepts in statistical analysis known as "type three" and "type four" errors. Though they're given to philosophical ranting, the authors never struggle with their complex ideas, keeping the text readable for anyone with problems to solve, resolve, absolve or dissolve (i.e., everyone). Those familiar with statistics will find their frustrations with the false type-one/type-two error dichotomy well articulated and addressed, but the theories will connect with anyone who enjoys thinking outside the box. The pair also advocates a new way of considering problems, not just a way of prioritizing them, demonstrating the necessity of new modes of critical thinking when approaching the orthodoxy of American institutions.
"Ian Mitroff has done it again; He and Abraham Silvers have opened our eyes. Here's a lucid and thoughtful account of why we fail to be adequately lucid and thoughtfuland what we can do about it. Bravo!"
Robert B. Reich, Professor of Public Policy, University of California at Berkeley, former U.S. Secretary of Labor, and author of Supercapitalism: The Transformation of Business, Deomcracy, and Everyday Life
"A bracingly powerful book, which should be required reading for all professionals and experts of every stripe. It will liberate all readers from the tyranny of conventional reasoning. The authors give new meaning to Veblen's classic phrase, "trained incompetence." -Warren Bennis, University Professor, University of Southern California and co-author of Transparency and Judgment
"Dirty Rotten Strategies is insightful, provocative, and important." -Karen Armstrong, Best-selling author of The Spiral Staircase
"Ian Mitroff and Abraham Silvers nail one of the most pressing challenges of our time. In a deeper way, they show how we can get so distracted by our assessment of a problem thatno matter how well-executed the solutionit can be a complete waste of time, often making the problem much worse! The "War on Drugs" comes to mind as an exampleThis book is a wake-up call for problem solvers."
John Renesch, futurist and author of Getting to the Better Future: A Matter of Conscious Choosing
"Mitroff and Silvers suggest that our current challenges are 'wicked problems' that can only be managed by mixing conventional and highly unconventional ways of looking at the world. Incisive and original, Dirty Rotten Strategies demonstrates just how valuable systematic thinking can be in helping America to clean up all of its 'messes.'" Morley Winograd, Executive Director of the Institute for Communication Technology Management, USC Marshall School of Business and co-author of Millennial Makeover
"Ian Mitroff and Abraham Silvers have written one of the definitive books on the tragedy of well-considered, well-meaning and well-researched error. The great merit of their non-technical, powerful book is the clarity with which they demonstrate that many of the most disastrous decisions are made by brilliantly solving wrongly defined problems. Using a prodigious range of examples from politics, health care, organizational disasters, and national security, they show how cognitive and emotional factors conspire to produce what they term the 'Type Four Error,' in which we mislead not only ourselves but others to act and think in ways directly opposed to generally agreed objectives and values. The book's main contribution is to train us to question the ways we define problems, and to help us avoid some of the errors that we all too easily lapse into. It will be of great value to all those who are perplexed by human ability to repeat mistakes in any field of action and thought."
Yiannis Gabriel, The School of Management, Royal Holloway University of London, author of Organizing Words: A Critical Thesaurus for Social and Organization Studies