Why Most Things Fail: Evolution, Extinction and Economics Paperback – February 20, 2007
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From the Back Cover
Linking economic models with models of biological evolution, Why Most Things Fail identifies the subtle patterns that comprise the apparent disorder of failure and analyzes why failure arises. Throughout the book, author Paul Ormerod exposes the flaws in some of today's most basic economic assumptions, and examines how professionals in both business and government can help their organizations survive and thrive in a world that has become too complex. Along the way, Ormerod discusses how the Iron Law of Failure applies to business and government, and reveals how you can achieve optimal social and economic outcomes by properly adapting to a world characterized by constant change, evolution and disequilibrium.
Filled with in-depth insight, expert advice and illustrative examples, Why Most Things Fail will show you why failure is so common and what you can do to become one of the few who succeed.
About the Author
- Item Weight : 11.4 ounces
- Paperback : 272 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0470089199
- Product Dimensions : 5.55 x 0.6 x 7.5 inches
- ISBN-13 : 978-0470089194
- Publisher : Wiley; 1st Edition (February 20, 2007)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #401,283 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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This does not mean that there is no value to this book. What Ormerod does posit is that there are immutable Power Laws affecting all matter - species, ideologies and businesses alike. All things fail. That alone is a powerful reframing. Existence of anything could probably be more successfully extended when strategies are anchored to this position.
In one small paragraph toward the end, Ormerod does state rather succinctly the reason why things fail. It is that we as humans are limited in our ability to understand dynamic and complex environments. While we certainly can't grasp everything, there are more correlations perhaps worthy of another study. Our understanding has increased over the millennia in direct correlation to the length and quality of our existence. That is why the pursuit of information and insights, even if they are difficult to follow as they are in this book,is worthwhile.
Still can't get beyond the "equilibria" notion - in the real world "all other things are NEVER equal" - plus humans do not make rational choices.
Seems like economists would have figured that out by now - it's not like hyperbolic discounting is a new theory.
Paul Ormerod has a serious approach to this problem and shows it in an accessible way for those who have any background on economics. I recommend it for anyone interested on the subject.
What I am certain of is that the book offered little else, no corrolaries, certainly no explanation of the reasons "why most things fail," and no other practical insights or knowledge.
Bottom line, wait for the book's appearance in the discount bin before buying.
If you want exciting pop economics, read Steven Landsburg.
Top reviews from other countries
By the time you get to the other end you will have a much better idea about how economics can help you understand life, the universe and everything. What you won't get is a "recipe" for the hard of thinking. The author gives a potted history of the newer big ideas that have informed economics and relates them to earlier thinking. He also explains their limitations. He brings in good links to systems theory (engineering and science perspectives). AND, if you get the references, (they're not obscure, but you do need to know them) he is very funny. Always a bonus when you are reading a book about economics. A minor criticism - I am suspicious when log/log graphs are used to prove a relationship, log/log can show a relationship between chalk and cheese.