The Logic of Failure

The Logic of Failure

Why Things Go Wrong and What We Can Do to Make Them Right

Book - 1996
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Baker & Taylor
An explanation of why and how, with our high intelligence and vast knowledge, humans continue to make catastrophic mistakes is accompanied by a concise handbook on how to "go right."

Blackwell North Amer
Dietrich Dorner, winner of Germany's highest science prize, here considers why - given all our intelligence, experience, and information - we make mistakes, sometimes with catastrophic consequences. Surprisingly, he finds the answer not in negligence or carelessness, but in what he calls "the logic of failure": certain tendencies in our patterns of thought - such as taking one thing at a time, cause and effect, and linear thinking - that, while appropriate to an older, simpler world, prove disastrous for the complex world we live in now. Today everything is interrelated. We can't do just one thing at a time, because everything has multiple outcomes; we can't think in isolated cause-and-effect terms because all situations have side effects and long-term repercussions.
With a charitable view of our capacity to err, Dorner shows that we act before we understand all the interlocking elements of a complex system. Faced with problems that exceed our grasp, we pile small error upon small error to arrive at spectacularly wrong conclusions. We too often ignore the big picture and seek refuge in what we know how to do - fiddling while Rome burns.
Working with intriguing computer simulations of his own invention, Dorner exposes these flaws in our thinking. His examples - sometimes hilarious, sometimes horrifying - and brain-teasing thought experiments teach us how to solve complex problems. Together they make The Logic of Failure a corrective tool, a guideline for intelligent planning and decision making that can sharpen the thinking skills of business managers, policymakers, and everyone involved in the daily challenge of getting from point A to point B. Like Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, The Logic of Failure will alter the way we conceive of change itself and transform our sense of the path to success.

& Taylor

Explains why and how, with our intelligence, experience, and information, humans continue to make catastrophic mistakes

Publisher: New York : Metropolitan Books, 1996
Edition: 1st American ed
ISBN: 9780805041606
Characteristics: x, 222 p. : ill., 1 map ; 24 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Veepea Dec 15, 2013

This is a very interesting book and a surprisingly quick read. I often find non-fiction harder to get through but the writing in this book is not dry. There are lots of real-life and experimental examples that help to explore why we act the way we do when we make decisions- good or bad. There could have been more application but I think this book will be helpful for anyone who has a lot of planning and strategizing to do in their work (or maybe personal) life. In summary, every situation is different so think before you act but act when necessary. Very thought-provoking.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Subject Headings

No similar edition of this title was found at FSJPL.

Try searching for The Logic of Failure to see if FSJPL owns related versions of the work.

Suggest for Purchase

To Top