cover image Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure

Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure

Tim Harford. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $27 (320p) ISBN 978-0-374-10096-4

Harford's newest (after The Undercover Economist) is a look at the concept of adaptation, both evolutionary and business-oriented. He examines everything from the lives of colorful guppies to the complex inner workings of oil companies with the desire to understand all aspects of successful innovation. Using a style reminiscent of Freakonomics, Harford burrows through examples from within the U.S. military, the financial world, and most other key industries looking to pinpoint exactly what does and does not work in business today. More importantly, Harford emphasizes the interconnectedness of society. His insights are strengthened by his use of multiple industries and fields of knowledge although his objective is economically minded, it is undoubtedly applicable everywhere. Harford's style manages to be accessible while thoughtfully conveying complex ideas. In many ways, he can be seen as a logical, even more universal descendant of Peter Senge (The Fifth Discipline). A truly talented writer with an innovative mind, Harford should get some well-deserved attention for this. (May)