Black Box Thinking

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Black Box Thinking

by: Matthew Syed

Central Theme:
Failure, although hurtful, is a necessary precursor to improvement.

“Black Box Thinking” by Matthew Syed reveals how great performers and teams are driven by an insatiable curiosity for marginal gains. It provides a dizzying array of case studies and real-world example to effectively describe how success happens.

Failure can be annoying, but it can also inspire individuals to see problems in a different light. And with new perspective comes new solutions. Often, great ideas arise when there’s a specific problem – that is, when something has failed. By and large, people are afraid of failure because it compromises their self esteem. Children, for example, have a hard time admitting their mistakes. It is automatic for them to deny drawing on the walls, even when they stand before the wall with a marker in their hand and ink on their fingers. But are we that much different when we grow up? Syed details anecdotes across the criminal justice system, medical field, and innovative discoveries like the ATM to show how humans hate admitting error even more than making mistakes themselves. And more importantly, how harmful this can be for success.

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