Why Greatness Cannot Be Planned: The Myth of the Objective
Why does modern life revolve around objectives? From how science is funded, to improving how children are educated -- and nearly everything in-between -- our society has become obsessed with a seductive illusion: that greatness results from doggedly measuring improvement in the relentless pursuit of an ambitious goal. In Why Greatness Cannot Be Planned, Stanley and Lehman...more
"When all is said and done, when even visionaries grow weary of stale visions, when the ash of unrequited expectation settles on the cloak of the impenetrable future, there is but one principle that may yet pierce the darkness: To achieve our highest goals, we must be willing to abandon them." ...more
The core idea presented in the book is that "objectives" are unnecessary and rather a hinderance while solving "complex" problems. Objectives might be useful for simple problems where it is eas ...more
The authors refer to these interme ...more
Wasn't a huge fan of the ...more
The main message is that, when faced with complicated problems, singlemindedly going after an objective can and will get you stuck in dead ends. He argues that since complicated problems don't have an obvious solution it's very likely that the next towards the solution is not actually directly closer to your objective. Makes sense to me - I think my main takeaway is to thi ...more
I get what these two researchers are saying throughout the book, but I question whether in silico experiments such as those that the authors used as examples and thus 'proof' are sufficient / accurate models of in vivo, lived experience.
However, the book is extremely repetitive, and could have been summarized in less than half of the pages, or it could have been written as an extended article, or the authors could have backed their idea with more real life examples of ambitious goals being ach ...more
No practical advice on how to really separate "interesting" v ...more
Still, I believe this book gave me some ground to position my personal belief on life planning and some arguments to understand and explain modern chaotic processes. ...more
This book serves some beautiful computer science inspired philosophy. Idea of not just relying on objective oriented algorithms for problems/search spaces is seemingly simple but difficult to put into practice. Counterintuitive and powerful stuff!