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Messy: The Power of Disorder to Transform Our Lives by Tim Harford

Book Review

· Organisational,Creativity Tools,Book Review
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I was instantly attracted to this title. More and more we read about the value of a less structured or improvised approach to our work and lives. But with the negative connotations , messy is often associated with untidy, vague and imperfect.
This book builds a strong case for the values found in the way we can improvise when placed in near impossible situations that appear ‘messy’.

It encourages us to consider the creative approaches to problem solving that can occur when we’re faced with unpredictable and chaotic situations. From the perspective of enhanced creativity it builds a strong case for a combination of continuous and gradual learning, as well as random shocks, as means to effectively create. “The enemy of creative work is boredom, and the friend is alertness”.

The perspective is broadened to argue against the modern day order and algorithms that govern work and play today. The author further argues that government and business propensity for targets can create inadvertent negative consequences as we aim to reach the dot points but neglect the outcomes. It’s that rigid rules become disempowering and results in a messy failure.

Intellectual messiness can build collaborations and the cross fertilization of ideas. “We have to believe the ultimate goal of the collaboration is something worth achieving”.