Why our Goals are Best Achieved Indirectly

John Kay

Verlag: Profile Books/Viva Books, 2011
ISBN 10: 1846682886 / ISBN 13: 9781846682889
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Paradoxical as it may sound, many goals are more likely to be achieved when pursued indirectly: the most profitable companies are not the most aggressive in chasing profits, the wealthiest men and women are not the most materialistic, and the happiest people do not pursue happiness. This is the concept of ?obliquity? Pre-eminent economist John Kay applies his provocative theory to everything from business to warfare and from football to managing forest fires. He reveals how surprisingly universal it is, why oblique approaches are so often the most successful ? and how understanding this leads to better decision-making. Very rarely does a brilliant idea emerge that is brand new, immediately makes sense and ? genuinely ? changes the way we think. With Obliquity, John Kay introduces one of those rare ideas. Contents: Obliquity why our goals are best achieved indirectly ? Part One-The oblique world: how obliquity is all around us: Happiness how the happiest people do not pursue happiness ? The profit-seeking paradox how the most profitable companies are not the most profit-oriented ? The art of the deal how the wealthiest people are not the most materialistic ? Objectives, goals and actions how the means help us discover the ends ? The ubiquity of obliquity how it is relevant to so many aspects of our lives ? Part Two - The need for obliquity: why we often can?t solve problems directly: Muddling through why oblique approaches succeed ? Pluralism why there is usually more than one answer to a problem ? Interaction why the outcome of what we do depends on why we do it ? Complexity how the world is too complex for directness to be direct ? Incompleteness how we rarely know enough about the nature of our problems ? Abstraction why models are imperfect descriptions of reality? Part Three - Coping with obliquity: how to solve problems in a complex world: The flickering lamp of history how we mistakenly infer design from outcome ? The Stockdale paradox how we have less freedom of choice than we think ? The hedgehog and the fox how good decision makers recognize the limits of their knowledge ? The blind watchmaker how adaptation is smarter than we are ? Bend it like Beckham how we know more than we can tell ? Order without design how complex outcomes are achieved without knowledge of an overall purpose ? Very well then, I contradict myself how it is more important to be right than to be consistent ? Dodgy dossiers how spurious rationality is often confused with good decision making ? Conclusions: The practice of obliquity the advantages of oblique decision making ? Index Printed Pages: 224. Buchnummer des Verkäufers 57678

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Inhaltsangabe: A leading economist charts the indirect road to happiness and wealth.

Using dozens of practical examples from the worlds of business, politics, science, sports, literature, even parenting, esteemed economist John Kay proves a notion that feels at once paradoxical and deeply commonsensical: The best way to achieve any complex or broadly defined goal-from happiness to wealth to profit to preventing forest fires-is the indirect way. As Kay points out, we rarely know enough about the intricacies of important problems to tackle them head-on. And our unpredictable interactions with other people and the world at large mean that the path to our goals-and sometimes the goals themselves-will inevitably change. We can learn about our objectives and how to achieve them only through a gradual process of risk taking and discovery-what Kay calls obliquity.

Kay traces this pathway to satisfaction as it manifests itself in nearly every aspect of life. The wealthiest people-from Andrew Carnegie to Bill Gates-achieved their riches through a passion for their work, not because they set materialistic goals. Research has shown that companies whose goal (as declared in mission statements) is excellent products or service are more profitable than companies whose stated goal is increasing profits. In the personal realm, a large body of evidence shows that parenthood is on a daily basis far more frustrating than happy- making. Yet parents are statistically happier than nonparents. Though their short-term pleasure is often thwarted by the demands of childrearing, the subtle-oblique-rewards of parenthood ultimately make them happier.

Once he establishes the ubiquity of obliquity, Kay offers a wealth of practical guidance for avoiding the traps laid by the direct approach to complex problems. Directness blinds us to new information that contradicts our presumptions, fools us into confusing logic with truth, cuts us off from our intuition (which is the subconscious expression of our experience), shunts us away from alternative solutions that may be better than the one we're set on, and more. Kay also shows us how to acknowledge our limitations, redefine our goals to fit our skills, open our minds to new data and solutions, and otherwise live life with obliquity.

This bracing manifesto will convince readers-or confirm their conviction-that the best route to satisfaction and success does not run through the bottom line.

About the Author: John Kay is a visiting professor at the London School of Economics and a fellow of St. John's College, Oxford University. As the director, he established the Institute for Fiscal Studies as one of Britain's most respected think tanks.

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Bibliografische Details

Titel: Why our Goals are Best Achieved Indirectly
Verlag: Profile Books/Viva Books
Erscheinungsdatum: 2011
Einband: Softcover
Zustand: New
Auflage: First edition.

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John Kay
Verlag: guter Zustand (2010)
ISBN 10: 1846682886 ISBN 13: 9781846682889
Gebraucht Hardcover Anzahl: 1
Buchhandel Freitag
(Berlin, Deutschland)

Buchbeschreibung guter Zustand, 2010. Hardcover. 210 Seiten, Fotos Englisch Sprache: Englisch. Artikel-Nr. 52848

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