Saturday, September 24, 2011

Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure by Tim Harford

Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with FailureAdapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure by Tim Harford

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book was very affirming for me, given I already pattern my life according to its precepts. What I found odd about it was the analysis.

The author has a long list of credentials as an economist, but his chapter on cap and trade for carbon emissions never used the term "negative externality", though the analysis went right along those lines. As I read it, I wondered if the author was trying to avoid the term for some reason, but I couldn't fathom why, or if he didn't realize that's what he was writing about, which would be a stunning gap in the man's knowledge, given it's a concept taught in high school economics.

A later chapter, detailing how a choreographer responded to negative reviews to revamp her musical, went on and on about the virtues of being able to take criticism. I don't disagree with the main point, there, but I did think the author was over-impressed by an artist doing what any artist has to do in order to be commercially successful. I'd gladly invite him to witness my old critique group in action, or sit in on a day of workshops at Clarion West.

In short, I was underwhelmed. I didn't feel I walked away from this book with any new knowledge or even a new perspective, but other people, people who don't always have a new venture or are not slowly building up a little home business on the side, and who don't also have a degree in economics, may feel differently.


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