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  • Phoenix

Prose: non-fiction, Business & management, Business strategy

How Crammed Cupboards, Cluttered Offices, and Off-the-Cuff Planning make the World a Better Place.

Like the bestselling Freakonomics or Blink, here is a book that combines a professor's expertise with stories from everyday life to provide a striking new view of how our world works. Ever since Einstein's study of Brownian Motion, scientists have understood that a little disorder actually makes systems more effective. But most people still shun disorder, or suffer guilt over the mess they can't avoid. No longer!

With a spectacular array of anecdotes and case studies of the useful role mess can play, here is an antidote to the accepted wisdom that tight schedules, neatness and consistency are the keys to success. Drawing on examples from business, parenting, cooking, the war on terrorism, retail and even the meteoric career of Arnold Schwarzenegger, co-authors Abrahamson and Freedman demonstrate that moderately messy systems use resources more efficiently, yield better solutions and are harder to break than neat ones.

A PERFECT MESS will help readers assess what the right amount of disorder is for a given system and how to apply these ideas on to a large scale - government or society - and on a small scale - (in your attic, kitchen or office).

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Praise for A Perfect Mess

  • Forget everything we told you last week about the importance of a clean and paperless office. In A PERFECT MESS: THE HIDDEN BENEFITS OF DISORDER, Eric Abrahamson and David H Freedman set out to prove that a little disorder makes us more productive than tight schedules, neatness and tidy desks. - THE GUARDIAN

  • an entertaining and convincing attack on conventional wisdom. Read it and you need never again feel guilty about your untidy desk or non-existent lesson plan. - TIMES EDUCATIONAL SUPPLEMENT - MAGAZINE

  • I hope his book becomes a bestseller. It is time that someone challenged the tautology that order is good, therefore it is good to have order. Me

  • provocative and often amusing...Eric Abrahamson and David Freedman's thesis will come as a relief to many - Sunday Telegraph

  • ..if you have a tendency to be messy and have already broken your new year resolutions to be neater in future, it will certainly make you feel better about your natural inclinations... The authors of this book trawl the furthest reaches of psychology, management studies, biology and physics to show why a bit of disorder is good for you. - THE ECONOMIST

  • Timely reassurance to those of us who fear and despise pristine houses, perfect schedules and neat-freakery of every stripe - Observer

  • this engaging and surprisingly well-ordered book... is the perfect excuse to break that new year's resolution to keep your desk tidy - Guardian

  • the authors conclude that there is an ideal level of messiness that makes any system more robust and productive... I would say more on the subject but I seem to have lost my pen somewhere in the detritus towering above me - THE GUARDIAN - Steven Poole

  • a series of case studies challenging the conventional logic that businesses need good organisation. - DAILY EXPRESS

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Eric Abrahamson

Eric Abrahamson is the youngest ever full professor of management at Columbia University's School of Business.