Why Our Systems Fail and What We Can Do About ItChristopher Clearfield Andras Tilcsik
5 April 2018
Published by Atlantic Books
‘Endlessly fascinating, brimming with insight, and more fun than a book about failure has any right to be.’ – Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit
A groundbreaking exploration of how complexity causes failure in business and life – and how to prevent it.
An accidental overdose in a state-of-the-art hospital. The Post Office software that led to a multimillion-pound lawsuit. The mix-up at the 2017 Oscars Awards ceremony. An overcooked meal on holiday. At first glance, these events have little in common. But surprising new research shows that many modern failures share similar causes.
In Meltdown, world-leading experts in disaster prevention, Chris Clearfield and András Tilcsik, use real-life examples to reveal the errors in thinking, perception, and system design that lie behind both our everyday errors and disasters like the Fukushima nuclear accident. But most crucially, Meltdown is about finding solutions. It reveals why ugly designs make us safer, how a five-minute exercise can prevent billion-dollar catastrophes, why teams with fewer experts are better at managing risk, and why diversity is one of our best safeguards against failure. The result is an eye-opening and empowering book – one that will change the way you see our complex world and your own place within it.
Endlessly fascinating, brimming with insight, and more fun than a book about failure has any right to be, Meltdown will transform how you think about the systems that govern our lives. This is a wonderful book.
Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit and Smarter Faster Better
Not for the faint of heart. In crisp, compelling prose, the authors explain why failures occur so often in today's unfathomably complex systems. Their insights and takeaways offer crucial guidance for avoiding your own disasters.
Daniel H. Pink, bestselling author of Drive
As technology advances, it brings an explosion of complexity and interdependence that can threaten our most critical systems and organizations in unforeseen ways. Meltdown is essential reading for anyone who seeks to understand these dangers and what can be done to address them.
Martin Ford, bestselling author of Rise of the Robots
Too often, we blame failures on bad apples when the real culprits are bad barrels. This engaging, evidence-based book sheds light on why blunders and bankruptcies happen-and how you can get better at designing systems to prevent them.
Adam Grant, author of Originals and co-author of Option B
Meltdown is essential reading for any leader. We are all human. We all make mistakes. But in complex, whirlwind environments, those mistakes can spiral quickly out of control. This book can help.
Anne-Marie Slaughter, author of Unfinished Business
A cautionary study in how complex systems can easily go awry... A useful, thought-provoking book.