From the award-winning columnist and author of the national bestseller The Undercover Economistcomes a provocative big idea book about the genuine benefits of being messy: at home, at work, in the classroom, and beyond.
Messy celebrates the power and impact of messiness: why it’s important to all of us, why we resist it, and why we should embrace it. Drawing from new research in neuroscience, psychology, and social science, Tim Harford explains that the human qualities we value—creativity, responsiveness, resilience—are integral to the disorder, confusion, and disarray that produce them. From the music studio to the laboratory, from the boardroom to the classroom, messiness is at the core of how we innovate, how we achieve, and how we succeed.
In Messy, Harford lays out the unexpected connections between creativity and mess; investigates why unexpected changes of plans, unfamiliar people, and unforeseen events can help generate new ideas and opportunities while making us anxious and angry; and argues that our desire for tidiness—in our personal and professional lives, online, even in our children’s play—can mask deep and debilitating fragility. Stimulating and readable as it points a new way forward, Messy is a valuable and insightful examination of the real advantages of mess in our lives.
Tim Harford is an award-winning journalist, economist and broadcaster. He’s the author of the bestselling The Undercover Economist, The Undercover Economist Strikes Back, Adapt, and The Logic of Life. Harford is currently a senior columnist at the Financial Times and host of the BBC Radio 4 program More or Less. He has been named Economics Commentator of the Year (2014), won the Rybczynski Prize (2014–15) for the best business-relevant economics writing, and won the Bastiat Prize for economic journalism (2006). He’s a visiting fellow of Nuffield College at Oxford University and lives in Oxford with his family.