Whoever Makes the Most Mistakes Wins (英語) ハードカバー – 2002/6/10
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Success in today's business economy demands nonstop innovation. But fancy buzzwords, facile lip service, and simplistic formulas are not the answer. Only an entirely new mindset -- a new attitude toward success and failure -- can transform managers' thinking, according to Richard Farson, author of the bestseller Management of the Absurd, and Ralph Keyes, author of the pathbreaking Chancing It: Why We Take Risks, in this provocative new work.
According to Farson and Keyes, the key to this new attitude lies in taking risks. In a rapidly changing economy, managers will confront at least as much failure as success. Does that mean they'll have failed? Only by their grandfathers' definition of failure. Both success and failure are steps toward achievement, say the authors. After all, Coca-Cola's renaissance grew directly out of its New Coke debacle, and severe financial distress forced IBM to completely reinvent itself.
Wise leaders accept their setbacks as necessary footsteps on the path toward success. They also know that the best way to fall behind in a shifting economy is to rely on what's worked in the past -- as when once-innovative companies like Xerox and Polaroid relied too heavily on formulas that had grown obsolete. By contrast, companies such as GE and 3M have remained vibrant by encouraging innovators, even when they suffered setbacks. In their stunning new book, Farson and Keyes call this enlightened approach "productive mistake-making." Rather than reward success and penalize failure, they propose that managers focus on what can be learned from both. Paradoxically, the authors argue, the less we chase success and flee from failure, the more likely we are to genuinely succeed.
Best of all, they have written a little jewel of a book, packed with fresh insights, blessedly brief, and to the point.
No formulas or how-to lists here; it's a philisophical treatise and one of the most stimulating and best written business books I have read in a long time.
Those who play it safe can avoid making mistakes, but they do so at a cost of a lack of genuine achievement. To be genuinely supportive of risk-takers, a company must be tolerant of failures, the authors argue.
Just the education caused by failures often leads to success, so the hubris or overconfidence caused by success often leads to failures. Success and failure are not polar opposites, but rather merely separate parts of an integrated whole.
The important thing a person can do to focus on getting the job done in the best way possible, and not become paralyzed with fear as to whether his or her efforts will succeed or fail. Success and failure are beyond one's personal control, but the personal effort and focus and energy are not. The authors quote basketball great Bill Russell of the Boston Celtics as saying he was often so involved in the games he was playing that he didn't really care if he won or lost: the authors paradoxically argue that this is an attitude that is key to winning.
A lot of people who the world regards as successful do not see themselves that way, from Maria Shriver to J.P. Getty. A person who is successful in one area likely has failed in another. The key is to learn from one's mistakes, not repeat them, and stay in the game. Staying in the game is the great reward that motivates many successful people.
This is an extremely wise and humane book. It recognizes that any definition of success is limited in the number of people who can qualify as successful, and that the list of those who are successful at any one time is different from the list of those who are successful at any other time. It recognizes that a key steppingstone to success by any definition is the ability to learn and profit from failure.
This is an extremely useful book for people in the middle of corporate hierarchies. It is also valuable for those debating whether or not to take a given risk, and for those who have taken a risk that has failed. It is valuable for anyone who has to supervise others, or plan for the future, or try to make his or her organization more responsive to an ever-changing world.
Few books are more valuable than this one in coping with the ups and downs of business, or the ups and downs of life. Few people are so dazzingly brilliant or amazingly lucky that they go through life without being harmed by either success or failure. For all those aware of the danger points, this is a book that offers an exit strategy from them.
Beyond expectation, positively, this book is highly philosophical or even zen. For e.g., on pg 10, "To cope with this economy dont flee from its complexity,; embrace it. In the world to come, we will repeatedly face fluid, ambiguous, even paradoxical, situations....Grow your business by destroying your business; to get big, think small; increase your share of markets by ignoring the concept of market share. We would add: Manage success and failure by not making clear distinctions between the two." And on pg 13, "We assume that success is the pinnacle, failure the pits. They're not. The real pinnacle is when we are so engaged in what we're doing that this distinction vanishes. Athletes call it being in the zone.....when faced with extreme challenges they entered a state of elevated concentration - one he called flow - in which time seemed to stand still, one moment blended into the next, and doing the right thing became almost effortless."
Certainly, the two quoted passages above are not representative of the whole book which gives plenty of good case studies (in particular 3M) and strategic suggestions. However, that sets the overall tone, which distinguishes it from the tons of "mistake" genre of books in the market. IMHO, this is a very good and interesting read for business and personal enhancement. Highly recommended!
Below please find some of my favorite passages for your reference:-
I've missed more than nine thousand shots in my career," admitted Michael Jordan. "I've lost almost three hundred games. Twenty-six times I've been trusted to take the winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed." pg 32
The world belongs to those who dont let anxiety about screwing up keep them from moving forward. Those who are too afraid to make a mistake work for those who arent. Even harder than making our own mistakes is letting others make theirs. pg 34
One reason for the collapse of the Soviet Union was that its state controlled economy grew obsessively intolerant of mistakes.....The essence of a free market economy is constant correction based on continual consumer feedback in response to errors. pg 38
When it came to warfare, the samurai strived to achieve victory by becoming fully absorbed in a process that would lead them there, not by setting their sights on victory itself...Samurai swordsman Miyamoto Musashi called this "total absorption of purpose in a single telling bow." pg 119
Success comes from being awake, aware, and in tune with others. - Phil Jackson, NBA Coach pg 122