Obliquity: Why Our Goals Are Best Achieved Indirectly

Overview

A leading economist charts the indirect road to happiness and wealth.

Using dozens of practical examples from the worlds of business, politics, science, sports, literature, even parenting, esteemed economist John Kay proves a notion that feels at once paradoxical and deeply commonsensical: The best way to achieve any complex or broadly defined goal-from happiness to wealth to profit to preventing forest fires-is the indirect way. As Kay points out, we rarely know enough about ...

See more details below
Available through our Marketplace sellers.
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (45) from $1.99   
  • New (9) from $1.99   
  • Used (36) from $1.99   
Close
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any BN.com coupons and promotions
$1.99
Seller since 2009

Feedback rating:

(2485)

Condition:

New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

New
2011-04-14 Hardcover First Edition New 1594202788 Ships Within 24 Hours. Tracking Number available for all USA orders. Excellent Customer Service. Upto 15 Days 100% Money Back ... Gurantee. Try Our Fast! ! ! ! Shipping With Tracking Number. Read more Show Less

Ships from: Bensalem, PA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$1.99
Seller since 2010

Feedback rating:

(987)

Condition: New
Hardcover New 1594202788 Friendly Return Policy. A+++ Customer Service!

Ships from: Philadelphia, PA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$1.99
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(454)

Condition: New
Hardcover New 1594202788! ! KNOWLEDGE IS POWER! ! ENJOY OUR BEST PRICES! ! ! Ships Fast. All standard orders delivered within 5 to 12 business days.

Ships from: Southampton, PA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$1.99
Seller since 2011

Feedback rating:

(797)

Condition: New
Hardcover New 1594202788 SERVING OUR CUSTOMERS WITH BEST PRICES. FROM A COMPANY YOU TRUST, HUGE SELECTION. RELIABLE CUSTOMER SERVICE! ! HASSLE FREE RETURN POLICY, SATISFACTION ... GURANTEED**** Read more Show Less

Ships from: Philadelphia, PA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$1.99
Seller since 2010

Feedback rating:

(739)

Condition: New
Hardcover New 1594202788! ! ! ! BEST PRICES WITH A SERVICE YOU CAN RELY! ! !

Ships from: Philadelphia, PA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$15.98
Seller since 2008

Feedback rating:

(282)

Condition: New
1594202788 New item in stock, may show minimal wear from storage. I ship daily and provide tracking! 100% Money Back Guarantee!

Ships from: FORT MYERS, FL

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$15.98
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(3)

Condition: New
Hardcover New 1594202788 New item in stock, may show minimal wear from storage. I ship daily and provide tracking! 100% Money Back Guarantee!

Ships from: LEHIGH ACRES, FL

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$25.95
Seller since 2011

Feedback rating:

(101)

Condition: New
2011 Hardcover New Shipped from a real independent book store in Manhattan.

Ships from: New York, NY

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$45.00
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(186)

Condition: New
Brand new.

Ships from: acton, MA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Close
Sort by
Obliquity: Why Our Goals Are Best Achieved Indirectly

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$12.99
BN.com price
This digital version does not exactly match the physical book displayed here.

Overview

A leading economist charts the indirect road to happiness and wealth.

Using dozens of practical examples from the worlds of business, politics, science, sports, literature, even parenting, esteemed economist John Kay proves a notion that feels at once paradoxical and deeply commonsensical: The best way to achieve any complex or broadly defined goal-from happiness to wealth to profit to preventing forest fires-is the indirect way. As Kay points out, we rarely know enough about the intricacies of important problems to tackle them head-on. And our unpredictable interactions with other people and the world at large mean that the path to our goals-and sometimes the goals themselves-will inevitably change. We can learn about our objectives and how to achieve them only through a gradual process of risk taking and discovery-what Kay calls obliquity.

Kay traces this pathway to satisfaction as it manifests itself in nearly every aspect of life. The wealthiest people-from Andrew Carnegie to Bill Gates-achieved their riches through a passion for their work, not because they set materialistic goals. Research has shown that companies whose goal (as declared in mission statements) is excellent products or service are more profitable than companies whose stated goal is increasing profits. In the personal realm, a large body of evidence shows that parenthood is on a daily basis far more frustrating than happy- making. Yet parents are statistically happier than nonparents. Though their short-term pleasure is often thwarted by the demands of childrearing, the subtle-oblique-rewards of parenthood ultimately make them happier.

Once he establishes the ubiquity of obliquity, Kay offers a wealth of practical guidance for avoiding the traps laid by the direct approach to complex problems. Directness blinds us to new information that contradicts our presumptions, fools us into confusing logic with truth, cuts us off from our intuition (which is the subconscious expression of our experience), shunts us away from alternative solutions that may be better than the one we're set on, and more. Kay also shows us how to acknowledge our limitations, redefine our goals to fit our skills, open our minds to new data and solutions, and otherwise live life with obliquity.

This bracing manifesto will convince readers-or confirm their conviction-that the best route to satisfaction and success does not run through the bottom line.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781594202780
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/14/2011
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 8.32 (w) x 5.70 (h) x 0.86 (d)

Meet the Author

John Kay is a visiting professor at the London School of Economics and a fellow of St. John's College, Oxford University. As both research director and director, he established the Institute for Fiscal Studies as one of Britain's most respected think tanks. Since then he has been a professor at the London Business School and Oxford University, where he was the first director of the Said Business School. He is a regular columnist for the Financial Times. For more information, visit johnkay.com.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Preface 1

Chapter 1 Obliquity-"Why Our Objectives Are Often Best Pursued Indirectly 5

Part 1 The Oblique World: How Obliquity Surrounds Us

Chapter 2 Fulfillment-How the Happiest People Do Not Pursue Happiness 17

Chapter 3 The Profit-Seeking Paradox-How the Most Profitable Companies Are Not the Most Profit Oriented 24

Chapter 4 The Art of the Deal-How the Wealthiest People Are Not the Most Materialistic 35

Chapter 5 Objectives, Goals and Actions-How the Means Help Us Discover the End 46

Chapter 6 The Ubiquity of Obliquity-How Obliquity Is Relevant to Many Aspects of Our Lives 53

Part 2 The Need for Obliquity: Why We Often Can't Solve Problems Directly

Chapter 7 Muddling Through-Why Oblique Approaches Succeed 67

Chapter 8 Pluralism-Why There Is Usually More Than One Answer to a Problem 77

Chapter 9 Interaction-Why the Outcome of What We Do Depends on How We Do It 90

Chapter 10 Complexity-How the World Is Too Complex for Directness to Be Direct 99

Chapter 11 Incompleteness-How We Rarely Know Enough About the Nature of Our Problems 109

Chapter 12 Abstraction-Why Models Are Imperfect Descriptions of Reality 116

Part 3 Coping with Obliquity: How to Solve Problems in a Complex World

Chapter 13 The Flickering Lamp of History-How We Mistakenly Infer Design from Outcome 129

Chapter 14 The Stockdale Paradox-How We Have Less Freedom of Choice Than We Think 739

Chapter 15 The Hedgehog and the Fox-How Good Decision Makers Recognize the Limits of Their Knowledge 144

Chapter 16 The Blind Watchmaker-How Adaptation Is Smarter Than We Are 153

Chapter 17 Bend it Like Beckham-How We Know More Than We Can Tell 158

Chapter 18 Order Without Design-How Complex Outcomes Are Achieved Without Knowledge of an Overall Purpose 165

Chapter 19 Very Well Then, I Contradict Myself-How It Is More Important to Be Right Than to Be Consistent 172

Chapter 20 Dodgy Dossiers-How Spurious Rationality Is Often Confused with Good Decision Making 179

Chapter 21 The Practice of Obliquity-The Advantages of Oblique Decision Making 187

Acknowledgments 197

Notes 199

Bibliography 209

Index 219

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)