Black Box Thinking Summary

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Black Box Thinking Summary by Mind Map: Black Box Thinking Summary

1. 1-Sentence-Summary:

1.1. Black Box Thinking reveals that all paths to success lead through failure and what you can do to change your perspective on it, admit your mistakes, and build your own black box to consistently learn and improve from the feedback failure gives you.

2. Favorite quote from the author:

2.1. "Learn from the mistakes of others. You can't live long enough to make them all yourself." - Matthew Syed

3. 3 lessons:

3.1. The only thing we hate more than making mistakes is admitting them.

3.1.1. Failure is never cool when it happens, even though the culture of entrepreneurship is trying hard to tell you otherwise. Having a failed startup has almost become a badge of honor, but what it really means is that you let too much small failures accumulate, until you eventually had to suck up a huge one: that your company’s not working.

3.1.2. While the goal remains to avoid failure on a grand scale, this can only happen if you admit as many small mistakes as you can.

3.1.3. An example:

3.1.4. Admitting mistakes is tough, but it’s the only way to prevent making even worse ones. If you can start by admitting to yourself that you made one, you’re one step ahead.

3.2. Treat all of your ideas as hypotheses so you can look for opposing evidence.

3.2.1. The world is a scary and complex place, so naturally, we tend to oversimplify things. If we considered every problem in our lives all the time, we’d probably end up paralyzed and not doing anything. Simplifying is a way for us to survive everyday life and navigate the world. But sometimes, it doesn’t work.

3.2.2. An example:

3.2.3. If you think of a new kind of faucet that you think is the best in the world, test it. Build a prototype and let people tell you if you’re right. Maybe it’s not as intuitive as you think, or your reasoning was faulty when designing it.

3.2.4. Seek opposing evidence instead of confirmation, so you can improve your hypotheses over time, instead of assuming what you know is a given fact.

3.3. Change your relationship with failure to a positive one so you’ll stop avoiding it.

3.3.1. If being successful means living and dealing well with failure, then a positive relationship with mistakes is a precondition for success.

3.3.2. Accept mistakes, admit them and then take responsibility for them so you can change them.

3.3.3. For example, surely, when you were in school there were a bunch of cool kids who never studied before a test, or maybe even went out to party the day before. People like these are usually so worried about falling short of expectations that they deliberately sabotage themselves in advance. If they do fine on the test, then things are okay, but if they don’t, they can at least blame it on partying. That’s a loser’s attitude

3.3.4. Try to see failure in a more positive light and take responsibility for it whenever you can.

4. What else can you learn from the blinks?

4.1. How many iterations of nozzles Unilever had to go through before coming up with the best one

4.2. Why astrology hasn’t made any progress in thousands of years

4.3. Which industry costs 40,000 people their lives each year, because they can’t admit their mistakes

4.4. An easy way to determine bloodletting doesn’t work

4.5. How failure drives solution (it’s how the ATM was invented)

5. Who would I recommend the Black Box Thinking summary to?

5.1. The 15 year old girl, who doesn’t tell her Mum about her bad grades, the 33 year old political campaign manager, who’s trying to hush up his candidate’s mistakes, and anyone who recently found out an opinion they held for a long time was wrong.