Rebel Book Club x Black Box Thinking

In case you missed it, here is what happened at RBC in October.

> October 2016: Rebel Book #18

> Book: Black Box Thinking by Matthew Syed

> Meetup: Work Life, London Fields

> Fuel: Harry Brompton’s Ice Tea + Tribe Snacks

10 rebel-sourced takeouts: Black Box Thinking

What is Black Box Thinking?

1. Black Box Thinking is about the willingness and tenacity to investigate the lessons that often exist when we fail, but which we rarely exploit. We need to create systems and cultures that enable organisations to learn from errors, rather than being threatened by them.

2. Failing is good. Only by redefining failure will we unleash progress, creativity, and resilience. Yet it is perhaps easier to embrace failure if you are just starting up and/or are a smaller company with less to lose?

3. Marginal gains is not about making small changes and hoping they fly. Rather, it is about breaking down a big problem into small parts in order to rigorously establish what works and what doesn’t.

4. Cognitive dissonance becomes more problematic the more experienced and influential you are. The more senior or of an expert you are, the more you have had your opinions expounded and listened to, the more likely to are to cling to “what you believe” even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary (we often even reframe the evidence to suit our thinking or ignore it altogether). This ‘mental stubbornness’ quashes feedback, improvement and innovation.

5. Blaming is very much counterproductive. It is partly because we are so willing to blame others for their mistakes that we are so keen to conceal our own. We often anticipate, with remarkable clarity, how people will react, how they will point the finger which in turn suppresses our own willingness to admit our errors, severely hindering the opportunity to learn from mistakes.

6. We all have the capacity to collect counter-factual, comparative information to analyse our intuitive theories and ideas, but sadly we too often don’t do any of either. Too often we bias our information, or auto-correct our failings through a retrospective narrative fallacy, “It was just one of those things”

7. Feedback is at the very heart of improvement and growth, yet a lot of us don’t know how to approach feedback, have fears about giving and receiving feedback, and prefer to ignore it when we get the chance

8. Great leaps forward rarely comes from a single creative spark. Creativity is, in many respects, a response to the ‘problem’ of a particular period in time.

9. Incentives to improve performance can only have an impact, in many circumstances, if there is a prior understanding of how improvement actually happens.

10. Great deal of errors occur in today’s environment is not due to lack of diligence or motivation, but a system insensitive to the limitations of human psychology — great article to illustrate points.

Hungry for more?


Four Thought — BBC Radio/Matthew Syed: Does Talent Trump Effort?

OPTIMIZE with Brian Johnston/ Interview: The Science of Success with Matthew Syed


Why You Should Have Your Own Black Box: Matthew Syed TEDxLondonBusinessSchool


Join Matthew Syed and fellow Rebels as he discusses Black Box Thinking at Waterstones, Piccadilly in London. Tickets are available online, in store and on 02078512400 or for £5

Member Spotlight: Ava Miller

Why I joined? RBC followed me on Twitter, I have a non-conformist/dissenting streak, so the name immediately appealed to me. Also, I missed English Lit class discussions and I was keen on reading/discussing meaningful books

Key insight from BBT? Dissect every failure

Best RBC read? An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth

All time most impactful read? The Alchemist

Next month: November 2016

#GirlBoss by Sophie Amaruso > Apply now

Meetup: 22nd November