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A Perfect Mess: The Hidden Benefits of Disorder--How Crammed Closets, Cluttered Offices, and On-the-Fly Planning Make the World a Better Place Paperback – January 8, 2008
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Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Yet with all this organization, I find that there are simply some things where organization gets in the way. The best example I can think of is brainstorming. When I go to the library, I find lots of books and articles worth reading. I often photocopy interesting passages there. At home, I often jot down notes from things that I observe as well as tearing articles out of magazines as I read them.
This ends up being something of a pile of ideas. And what I've found is that this pile of ideas is much more effective if it's chaotic. If I try to order it, I get fewer ideas out of that pile. On the other hand, if I just let it be, tossing new stuff on there in a haphazard fashion, it starts to click. Then I just set aside some time each week for brainstorming, where I grab articles from that pile at random, read what I've highlighted, flip through personal finance books, and so on. This chaos generates ideas - things that would not have normally associated themselves together sometimes become linked because of this mess.
Frankly, sometimes it's better to have disorder. And that's the idea behind A Perfect Mess by Eric Abrahamson and David H. Freedman.Read more ›
I can remember having the messiest desk in my grade school class and then the messiest office in my building when I was a college professor. My home office is cluttered. But when I try to get organized, I just end up losing things.
Besides, I love reading books that question our basic, taken-for-granted assumptions.
The best parts of the book are those that call attention to the cultural aspects of messiness. Countries have different definitions of order. The Japanese (possibly because they live in small spaces) tend to take a high level of neatness for granted. Parking garages won't accept motorcycles because they don't fit the definition of cars, according to the authors.
Secondly, the authors spell out the astronomically high value Americans place on organization. Professional organizers flourish. We spend millions on closet organization. Many people (and even more organizations) associate messiness with incompetence.
The authors carried out their own informal interviews, but they could have cited research. About 20 years ago a professor at Arizona State University, Mary Jo Bitner, conducted experiments where she showed airline passengers photos of a travel agent's desk. One group got the "messy" version and others got the "neat" version. Passengers were prepared to blame the "messy" agent for all sorts of errors, even those beyond the agent's control.
Around the same time, I recall reading a newspaper article addressing the reactions of freshmen at UC Berkeley to their "unkempt" professors.Read more ›
The topics covered in A Perfect Mess are far reaching--from the suspect claims of professional organizers (for example, that the average person wastes an hour a day looking for things) to Arnold Schwarzenegger's "improvisational lifestyle" (incredibly enough, he doesn't keep a schedule, or didn't, at least, when he was first running for governor), from the Noguchi filing system to natural landscaping to cell phone noise and compulsive hoarding. Throughout, the authors profile people and businesses and systems that have profited from the introduction of some degree of some type of messiness.
"...Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Starts out well but quickly wanders off the path. Lots of "studies" are mentioned in the text, none in the citations at the end. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Charles Hall
An interesting read (this from a neat freak mom trying to better understand her messy tween!). Lots of great ideas, though I took them with a grain of salt.Published 11 months ago by JACH
I didn't Agree with its concepts and ...or at least I couldn't understand itPublished 11 months ago by Joyal
I only recently discovered this book. There is a wide array of interesting stories all tied together around a common theme: messiness. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Phil Simon
Great book. It helps to view the world in a more tolerant and balanced perspective.Published 23 months ago by Bernardo
The only reason I don't give this book a 5 star review is that I don't have the same "worldview" as the authors. Read morePublished on August 18, 2014 by Shelley Molitor
Too many words for expressing simple and basic ideas. The author describes and utilises many many details. It turns boring after first chapters.Published on June 19, 2014 by Fernando Herrera
Our world is messy, in disorder; nature tends to the disorder but we, as human, tend to pursue the Holy Grahl of the Order with no specific reasons. Read morePublished on June 10, 2014 by Fab
I came across this book as I was reading "Getting Messy: A Guide to Taking Risks..." and it is a perfect companion text. Read morePublished on January 11, 2014 by pamtish