Twofer Tuesday: On Abstraction & Failure
Two 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.”
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.
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