A Perfect Mess

A Perfect Mess : The Hidden Benefits Of Disorder

3.51 (1,107 ratings by Goodreads)
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Like the bestselling Freakonomics or Blink, here is a book that combines a professor's expertise with stories from everyday life to provide a striking new view of how our world works. Ever since Einstein's study of Brownian Motion, scientists have understood that a little disorder actually makes systems more effective. But most people still shun disorder, or suffer guilt over the mess they can't avoid. No longer! With a spectacular array of anecdotes and case studies of the useful role mess can play, here is an antidote to the accepted wisdom that tight schedules, neatness and consistency are the keys to success. Drawing on examples from business, parenting, cooking, the war on terrorism, retail and even the meteoric career of Arnold Schwarzenegger, co-authors Abrahamson and Freedman demonstrate that moderately messy systems use resources more efficiently, yield better solutions and are harder to break than neat ones. A PERFECT MESS will help readers assess what the right amount of disorder is for a given system, and how to apply these ideas on to a large scale - government or society - and on a small scale - (in your attic, kitchen or office).
A PERFECT MESS will forever change the way we think about those unruly heaps of paper on our desks.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 336 pages
  • 162 x 243 x 34mm | 620g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0297852043
  • 9780297852049
  • 1,151,008

Review quote

"..if you have a tendency to be messy and have already broken your new year resolutions to be neater in future, it will certainly make you feel better about your natural inclinations... The authors of this book trawl the furthest reaches of psychology, management studies, biology and physics to show why a bit of disorder is good for you." THE ECONOMIST "the authors conclude that there is an ideal level of messiness that makes any system more robust and productive... I would say more on the subject but I seem to have lost my pen somewhere in the detritus towering above me" -- STEVEN POOLE THE GUARDIAN "Forget everything we told you last week about the importance of a clean and paperless office. In A PERFECT MESS: THE HIDDEN BENEFITS OF DISORDER, Eric Abrahamson and David H Freedman set out to prove that a little disorder makes us more productive than tight schedules, neatness and tidy desks." THE GUARDIAN "a series of case studies challenging the conventional logic that businesses need good organisation." DAILY EXPRESS "an entertaining and convincing attack on conventional wisdom. Read it and you need never again feel guilty about your untidy desk or non-existent lesson plan." TIMES EDUCATIONAL SUPPLEMENT - MAGAZINE "I hope his book becomes a bestseller. It is time that someone challenged the tautology that order is good, therefore it is good to have order. Mess equals possibility and I look forward to a long and profitable career as a professional disorganiser." -- DAISY GOODWIN SUNDAY TIMES "there is something seductive in this book on the hidden benefits of disorder... a strangely tempting vision." -- NICHOLAS BLINCOE DAILY TELEGRAPH - BOOK OF THE WEEK "it might just be the Small is Beautiful of the noughties." THE HERALD "a messy desk is a far more efficient filing system tahn any number of labelled cabinets - it reflects the way people's brains are organised and allows for serendipitous discovery through random connection." FINANCIAL TIMES "it's impossible not to be charmed" TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT "they make a convincing case for the primacy of the messy over the neat one." -- GILES FODEN GUARDIAN "Don't be afraid of mess. Embrace it! This is an original and entertaining study of why a modicum of chaos should be welcome." MANAGEMENT TODAY "an engaging polemic against the neat-police who hold so much sway in our lives. For all to many people, neatness is a virtue in and of itself... the costs of being neat and well-organized frequently outweigh the benefits... a godsend for anyone who has a cleanliness fanatic for a boss." -- ADAM WOOLDRIDGE WALL ST JOURNAL "a meandering, engaging tour of beneficial mess and the systems and individuals reaping those benefits." NEW YORK TIMES "Three cheers for clutter!" PUBLIC
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About Eric Abrahamson

Eric Abrahamson is the youngest ever full professor of management at Columbia University's School of Business. David H. Freedman is a business and science journalist who writes for the Atlantic Monthly, Newsweek and Wired. David H. Freedman is a business and science journalist who writes for the Atlantic Monthly, Newsweek and Wired.
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Rating details

1,107 ratings
3.51 out of 5 stars
5 18% (200)
4 33% (367)
3 33% (370)
2 12% (138)
1 3% (32)
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