Peter's Reviews > The Logic of Failure: Recognizing and Avoiding Error in Complex Situations

The Logic of Failure by Dietrich Dörner
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's review
Feb 06, 2011

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bookshelves: social-commnetary, current-affairs

Fascinating - the psychology of how we, as humans, fail and try to cope with these failures. The only reason not to give it 4 stars was that it is translated (very well) from German, so most of his references are to German language books, articles etc.
He gives examples of problem solving situations and the responses of participants and then analyses why some did well and others fared poorly. Failures in complex situations (as are most of the problems in our larger world) are due to inability to appreciate the exponential function (as in constant per cent growth per year) or the presence of feedback loops that make simple linear projections turn out incorrectly. Several recognizable methods are covered, methods that we can see in the responses of our would-be leaders to complex situations. I keep coming back the quotation attributed to H. L. Mencken: To every complex problem there is a clear simple solution that is wrong. Too many of our political leader hopefuls fall into this trap!

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