Black Box Thinking by Matthew Syed

Perhaps life hasn’t turned out entirely as you’d hoped? Your car is less prestigious than the BMW Series 7 next door. You’re holidays are not exotic, your marriage has not endured as a lovestruck dream, your children’s behaviour is disappointing. You’ve been overlooked in the race for promotion. In your early 20s your ambition was huge. The world was your oyster. Now you’re happy with a winkle. You’re resigned to mediocrity. Privately, you feel a failure.

Never fear. Matthew Syed ( could show you how to turn it around. He asks what links the Mercedes Formula One team with Google? What is the connection between Dave Brailsford’s Team Sky and the aviation industry? What links the inventor James Dyson and the basketball player Michael Jordan? They are all, he says, ‘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, Black Box Thinkers 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.

Learning from mistakes is 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 organisations. It also reveals the dangers of failing to learn from mistakes. In healthcare, hundreds of thousands of patients die from preventable medical errors every year due to a chronic lack of Black Box Thinking. Using case studies, exclusive interviews and really practical advice,  Syed  explains how to turn failure into success. Now, what’s that BMW Series 9 going to look like in your driveway?

Start the road to success by enquiring at your local library, or consult  for full bibliographic detail.

352 pages in John Murray

First published 2015

ISBN 978-1473613775

Matthew Syed

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