Black Box Thinking: The Surprising Truth About Success - Matthew Syed
Attention is a scarce resource: if you focus on one thing, you will lose awareness of other things.
Take into account all the data, including the data you cannot immediately see, if you are going to learn from adverse effects.
The problem in medical society is the culture. Failures are stigmatised and avoided at all costs. Changing the culture means changing the attitude to failure thus improving the system and the rate of success.
Aviation is a lot different. Every single accident is taken into account, analysed and made accessible to the pilots to learn from mistakes of others. The pilot is never made directly responsible for a crash, it's the system that is. Are pilots better motivated because their lives are directly dependant on the system?
"Success is always the tip of an iceberg. We learn vogue theories, we fly in astonishingly safe aircraft, we marvel at the virtuosity of true experts. But beneath the surface of success – outside our view, often outside our awareness – is a mountain of necessary failure."
"When we are confronted with evidence that challenges our deeply held beliefs we are more likely to reframe the evidence than we are to alter our beliefs. We simply invent new reasons, new justifications, new explanations. Sometimes we ignore the evidence altogether."
Cognitive dissonance - the inner tension we feel when, among other things, our beliefs are challenged by evidence.
Lysenko was sure that Mendelian genetics is flawed (was sure because of communism)
Mao was sure that plants grew better ehen planted closer. This is not ture, the compete. This resulted in the worst famine ever.
So far in the book, we have seen that learning from mistakes relies on two components: first, you need to have the right kind of system - one that harnesses errors as a means of driving progress, and second, you need a mindset that enables such a system to flourish.
Cognitive dissonance occurs when mistakes are too threatening to admit to, they are reframed of ignored.
Unilever and the noozles
We try to comprehend the world from above rather than discovering it from below.
Kasparov vs the machine
Why do we resist testing? We are hardwired to think that the world is simpler than it really is.
To leverage the power of failure, you have to be resilient and open. In other words, you have to have the right mindsets well as the right system.
Improving in a certain field is easiest, when the goal is broken down into small parts and improving there...this is called marginal gains.
"People think of creativity as a mystical process. The idea is that creative insights emerge from the ether, through pure contemplation. This model conceives of innovation as something that happens to people, normally geniuses. But this could not be more wrong. Creativity is something that has to be worked at, and it has specific characteristics. Unless we understand how it happens, we will not improve our creativity, as a society or as a world."
Winners require innovation and discipline, the imagination to see the big picture and the focus to perceive the very small.
Fear of failure can spark great creative energy.
It was only years later, when reading about cognitive dissonance and the Fixed Mindset, that the pieces fell into place: they were so terrified of underperforming, so worried that the exam might reveal that they were not very clever, that they needed an alternative explanation for possible failure. They effectively sabotaged their own chances in order to gain one.
Surgeons are often so keen to protect their self-esteem that they can't admit their fallibility.
A pre-mortem typically starts with the leader asking everyone in the team to imagine that the project has gone horribly wrong and to write down the reasons why on a piece of paper.