Obliquity: Why Our Goals Are Best Achieved Indirectly

Obliquity: Why Our Goals Are Best Achieved Indirectly

by John Kay


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780143120551
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/27/2012
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About 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 the director, he established the Institute for Fiscal Studies as one of Britain's most respected think tanks.

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

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