Messy by Tim Harford


Originally published in: 2016

What it’s about: Tim Harford explores what happens to our creativity and productivity when we stop obsessing over tidiness and detailed planning and give into confusion and our natural instincts.

What made me pick it up: It’s almost resolution season and I’m looking for excuses to leave “get more organized” off my list.

My favorite things: I’m a fan of anything that tells me not to bother with straightening my desk, especially when it suggests that will boost my creativity and make me more productive. Harford looks at disorder in a variety of contexts and finds common threads in each- from academia to the battlefield, recording studios to planned forests. Messy is meticulously researched and well planned despite its message. It’s a good reminder to be flexible and consider that just because a plan is detailed and logical doesn’t mean it’s the best option.

Who it’s great for: People who read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and couldn’t make it work. People who tried to read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, but forgot where they put it.

Abby’s rating: three-and-a-half-shells

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