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Why Most Things Fail: Evolution, Extinction and Economicsby Paul Ormerod
Synopses & Reviews
A fascinating and provocative study of failure within business, economics, and government
Why Most Things Fail argues that failure is the distinguishing feature of corporate life and uses it to link economic models with models of biological evolution. Inspired by advances in evolutionary theory and biology, author Paul Ormerod illuminates the ways in which companies and policy-setting sectors of government behave much like living organisms: unless they evolve, they die. But he also makes clear how desirable social and economic outcomes may be achieved when individuals, companies, and governments adapt in response to the actual behavior and requirements of their customers and constituents. Examining the " Iron Law of Failure" as it applies to business, economics, and government, this intriguing book explores the pervasive nature of failure in the world of human societies and economics.
Paul Ormerod (London, UK), a theoretical economist, has served as the Head of the Economic Assessment Unit at The Economist and the Director of Economics at the Henley Centre for Forecasting in England. He has taught economics at the University of London and the University of Manchester. Ormerod is founder of the consulting firm Volterra and is an alumni of Oxford University and Cambridge University.
The author of the critically acclaimed Butterfly Economics reassesses the "Iron Law of Failure" in terms of its business and political applications, debunking conventional economic theory to explain how companies and policy-setting government sectors behave like living organisms and why change and evolution are essential to their continued existence. 17,500 first printing.
Paul Ormerod was the head of the Economic Assessment Unit at The Economist and the director of economics at the Henley Centre for Forecasting in England. He has taught economics at the universities of London and Manchester, and was a founder of the consulting firm Volterra. He lives in London.
Table of Contents
1. The Edwardian explosion — 2. A formula for failure — 3. Up a bit, then down a bit — 4. Making sense of segregation — 5. Playing by the rules — 6. A game of chess — 7. "The best-laid schemes ..." — 8. Doves and hawks — 9. Patterns in the dark — 10. The powers that be — 11. Take your pick? — 12. Resolving the dilemma — 13. Why things fail — 14. What is to be done?
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