Box of Crayons Blog


Twofer Tuesday: On Abstraction & Failure

twofer-500x500Two of the consistent leitmotifs at Box of Crayons are focus and courage, and here they are again. In the first of these Twofers, you’ll discover why the models used in the past may not be the right ones for future situations. The second article outlines why we might need to rethink our idea of failure.

Charting Our Course

As human beings, we rely on abstraction to make sense of our surroundings. Models, theories, maps — they all help us interpret the world around us.

The trouble is, we often confuse models with reality, theories with what they describe, and maps with the territory. So how can we improve our collective perception?

“The first step is to realize that you do not understand a model, map, or reduction unless you understand and respect its limitations.”

Read: The map is not the territory

Breeding Success through Failure

Atul Gawande is a busy man. He’s a cancer surgeon, performing approximately two hundred surgeries each year. He’s also executive director of a Harvard centre dedicated to improving critical care, runs large-scale experiments in collaboration with the World Health Organization and writes award-winning feature stories for the New Yorker (among other career highlights).

I think it’s safe to say that his mind is formidable, and that when he shares insights, it behooves us all to pay attention. Here, he explains why our idea of failure is way off base.

Read: Atul Gawande: For the first time in human history, ineptitude is a bigger problem than ignorance

Psst: Have you joined our Tools for the Time-Crunched Manager LinkedIn group? It’s designed to inspire and help you conquer the day-to-day challenges of your workday.

One Response to Twofer Tuesday: On Abstraction & Failure

  • Julien Barney

    Very thought provoking article and the Atul has got his round it and spotted the simplicity of the solution is brill.

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