Book suggestion: Black Box Thinking

screen-shot-2016-09-11-at-02-58-16This book looks into failure and how to learn from it. The main premise is that we have a lot to learn from failure. People who hide from failure or are not exposed to it deny themselves from improving from there mistakes. The title comes from the black box concept of learning from plane crashes. The book is excellently written. Examples and points are backed up with academic studies, historical examples, analysis of news coverage and thought experiments. The author looks at professions such as pilots, doctors, social workers, law enforcement, social work, and politics. Psychology studies are applied to highlight traits such as cognitive dissonance to examples in each profession. The book doesn’t hold back and definitely doesn’t sugar coat outcomes and causes. He initially starts by looking at doctors and how they avoid learning from mistakes. If someone has an emotional attachment to the profession they may feel like he has an ax to grind with doctors. However, he has to start somewhere. Throughout the author holds the same scrutiny to all professions covered in the book. The author is a journalist for the Times newspaper and doesn’t hold back on the press and how they have made situations worse by forcing scapegoats and over dramatizing failure. No matter what your goals are in life, this book will change the way you think and improve your confidence in looking at failure in a productive way.


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