Black Box Thinking

  • by Matthew Syed
  • Narrated by Simon Slater
  • 12 hrs and 26 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Columnist for The Times and best-selling author of Bounce: The myth of talent and the power of practice, Matthew Syed argues that the key to success is a positive attitude to failure.
What links the Mercedes Formula One team with Google? What links Dave Braisford's Team Sky and the aviation industry? What is the connection between the inventor James Dyson and the footballer David Beckham? They are all Black Box Thinkers.
Whether developing a new product, honing a core skill or just trying to get a critical decision right, Black Box Thinkers aren't afraid to face up to mistakes. In fact, they see failure as the very best way to learn. Rather than denying their mistakes, blaming others or attempting to spin their way out of trouble, these institutions and individuals interrogate errors as part of their future strategy for success.
How many of us, hand on heart, can say that we have such a healthy relationship with failure? Learning from failure has the status of a cliché, but this book reveals the astonishing story behind the most powerful method of learning known to mankind, and reveals the arsenal of techniques wielded by some of the world's most innovative organizations.
Their lessons can be applied across every field - from sport to education, from business to health. Using gripping case studies, exclusive interviews and really practical takeaways, Matthew Syed - the award-winning journalist and best-selling author of Bounce - explains how to turn failure into success, and shows us how we can all become better Black Box Thinkers.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Enlightening study of the benefits of failure

These ideas can be applied to any profession or business to make profound improvements. The delivery is enthralling and the narrator is excellent.
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- Michael Assad

Great facinating story, a lot to learn from!

What made the experience of listening to Black Box Thinking the most enjoyable?

They have very important true case examples that made very large impact to many people. Case studies of difference working and thinking cultures, such as aviation, health system and economy.
A gave only 4 (of 5) starts to the narrator. He has very pleasant English dialect and he is not boring to listen to, but sometimes it appears he has hard times breathing... :-) but he is mostly fine.

Which scene was your favorite?

Chapter 10 is excellent ... shows how creativity can arise from mistakes and iterative learning. Chapter 1 and other live examples, depict how important is to learn mistakes. Maybe one of the best scene is showing two groups of researches and developers of a product: one are group of experts that attack the problem from scientific designated point of view, attempting to optimize the product by means of mathematics, physics and flow. The other group know nothing of all these science, but they work in the same way evolution works: they try by means of trial and error many different variations of the product, and consider only those with any small improvements. Then they iterate further from these, and with each generation of products the final results become better. They produced excellent product (that the group of experts failed to do), after 400 something trials and errors...

What did you learn from Black Box Thinking that you would use in your daily life?

I am a 'natural born' scientist, ever critical and curious by why things are as they are. Maybe the most important thing I learned is to let go of devilish details sometimes, release products, articles and project with maybe flaws, but let other evaluate them, and learn to improve these from the feedback. Feedback is a key ingredient for success, yet, we forget sometimes to make the best out of the feedback we get. Moreover, not always we want to hear negative feedback because it may (and usually is) compromise our work and philosophies we worked so hard to achieve. However, by learning from critique and feedback, we almost always produce better results by large margines. By all means, stop being perfectionist because nothing is perfect, but accept that what we develop have flaws. The art is to learn from these flaws to improve.

Any additional comments?

It is important to remember that although when we start to read the book, we understand the main message: learn from failures. But few of us really understand the depths and what we can achieve by doing so. I heard by father dozens of times back in my teen days to learn from mistakes, and I mostly tended to ignore him, not really understanding what it means. This book does just that: by a serious of (many) examples, all real, show you how important and how you can use it for your benefit. Highly Recommended!

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- Nadav

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-10-2015
  • Publisher: John Murray