Qty:1
  • List Price: $27.50
  • Save: $2.75 (10%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 6 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Add to Cart
Want it tomorrow, April 25? Order within and choose One-Day Shipping at checkout. Details
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Used: Good | Details
Sold by hippo_books
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Item qualifies for FREE shipping and Prime! This item is used.
Add to Cart
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more

Predictable Surprises: The Disasters You Should Have Seen Coming, and How to Prevent Them (Leadership for the Common Good) Hardcover


See all 3 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from Collectible from
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$24.75
$5.15 $0.01 $14.95

Frequently Bought Together

Predictable Surprises: The Disasters You Should Have Seen Coming, and How to Prevent Them (Leadership for the Common Good) + World Class Communication: How great CEO's win with the public, shareholders, employees, and the media
Price for both: $58.46

Buy the selected items together
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

100 M&T
100 Mysteries & Thrillers to Read in a Lifetime
Looking for something good to read? Browse our picks for 100 Mysteries & Thrillers to Read in a Lifetime, brought to you by the Amazon Book Editors.

Product Details

  • Series: Leadership for the Common Good
  • Hardcover: 317 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press; 1 edition (November 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591391784
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591391784
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #908,273 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Bazerman and Watkins, faculty at the Harvard Business School, define predictable surprises as "an event or set of events that take an individual or group by surprise, despite prior awareness of all of the information necessary to anticipate the events and their consequences." They cite as examples the tragedy of 9/11 and Enron's collapse. Insisting theirs is not 20/20 hindsight, they explain how many disasters are preceded by clear warning signals that leaders miss or ignore. Characteristics of predictable surprises include when leaders know a problem exists and that problem does not solve itself and gets worse, the human tendency to maintain the status quo, and the reality of a small vocal minority (special interests) that benefit from inaction. Future predictable surprises include government subsidies, global warming, government's ignoring future financial obligations in medical costs and retirement commitments, and the large obligations airlines have in frequent flyer miles. This is an excellent book for library patrons in both the public and private sectors. Mary Whaley
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

About the Author

Max Bazerman is a professor at HBS and is a huge name in negotiation and decision-making. He has written classic books on these subjects (Negotiating Rationally, Judgment in Managerial Decision-Making), and his name lends significant credibility to the authors' argument. Michael Watkins is a proven author with HBSP and has become a recognized expert on leadership issues. His previous books--Right from the Start (HBSP, 1999) with Dan Ciampa and The First 90 Days (HBSP 2003) have sold over 32,000 and 43,000 copies, respectively to date.

More About the Authors

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
5 star
5
4 star
1
3 star
1
2 star
1
1 star
0
See all 8 customer reviews
A great eye opener!
R. Butler
The result is a book that is very readable as well as being immediately useful, even if many of the points have also been made elsewhere by other authors.
Bill Godfrey
This book rightfully points out that there were warning signs aplenty.
John Matlock

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Bill Godfrey on February 22, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The authors have found a memorable phrase to describe a depressingly common phenomenon - the occurrence of a disaster or failure that has been widely and often publicly predicted. The term `predictable surprise' will undoubtedly enter the managerial and political language.

They have provided a valuable analysis of why these predictable disasters occur and what can be done to prevent them (while recognizing that there are also such things as `unpredictable surprises' which can not be avoided through these processes).

The book is invaluable for the clear way in which it brings the elements together and for the vividness and immediacy of the examples chosen to illustrate the points. The result is a book that is very readable as well as being immediately useful, even if many of the points have also been made elsewhere by other authors. The book provides a template against which organizations can assess their defences against `predictable surprises', and I suspect that every organization will find gaps in its armour when it measures itself against the recommendations in the book.

The authors also use the book to mount a stinging attack on the failures of the American political system (and by extension those of other countries) and the need for fundamental reform. Their attack on the activities of the special interest groups and their direct responsibility for some of the worst disasters that the US has suffered is particularly pointed. One can only hope that the criticisms will be listened to and acted upon, and that politicians as well as business people will read and note them.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By George D. Klein, author, Dissensions on October 7, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Anyone who has worked for some sort of organization, government agency, business, university or whatever, will empathise with "Predictable Surprises" by Bazerman and Watkins. This book focuses on the early and late warning signs, the cover-ups, the denials, and the eventual consequences of failing to take action to avert disaster. I've been in far too many situations where I observed that the peple "in charge" (really??) were blindsided by their own limited vision to the realities of what was happening within their organizations.

There are two "Predictable Surprises" that weren't included. First, Hurricane Katrina and the aftermath in New Orleans. Anyone visiting that city and talking with one's professional compatriates could have seen coming what unfolded before our eyes. The warning signs and studies were out there and ignored. That's why those who had a reasonable level of education left town and paid attention to the evacuation notices.

The other predictable surprise that was missed was the sex abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church. I'm Protestant but know a lot of fine Roman Catholic people. I heard things as long ago as fifty years and knew then that this situation was going to explode in the public domain. "Predictable Surprises" provides the principals that explain why this particular surprise was kept under the radar so long.

An outstanding book that should be read by everyone working in the corporate world, a government agency, a university, the military, or a non-profit organization. Your life may depend on knowing what's in this book.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
17 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Carter Adler on June 14, 2005
Format: Hardcover
A major shortcoming of Bazerman and Watkins' book is the failure to provide adequate evidence to support their arguments about what they call "predictable surprises", which they define as "an event or series of events that take an individual or group by surprise, despite prior awareness of all of the information necessary to anticipate the events and their consequences." Bazerman and Watkins build their case substantially on just two examples: aviation security failures leading to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and auditor independence concerns leading to the collapse of Enron and Arthur Anderson. Several other examples are discussed in less depth throughout the text, however many of these are not actually predictable surprises under the definition provided. For example, global warming is discussed a number of times; however global warming has been in public discussion since the 1930s, and today a substantial majority of people believe not only the concept of global warming but that current warming is man-made. By 2050, this subject will have been under study for 120 years and popular consensus will have been achieved for 50-60 years. This is certainly predictable, but hardly a surprise. The United States' looming crisis in entitlement spending also falls in this category.

Flaws exist in other anecdotal support as well. For example, Bazerman and Watkins cite aviation security failures as an occasion when overly discounting the future lead to a predictable surprise. Quick calculation based on figures provided in the book show that, using equal discount rates for the expected future cost of security and the future cost of disaster, even with a disaster probability as high as 10% for any given year, the airlines would be ahead on a cost basis.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Product Images from Customers

Search
ARRAY(0xa3db07ec)