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Download A Perfect Mess: The Hidden Benefits of Disorder? How Crammed Closets, Cluttered Offices, and On-the-Fly Planning Make the World a Better Place Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample A Perfect Mess: The Hidden Benefits of Disorder? How Crammed Closets, Cluttered Offices, and On-the-Fly Planning Make the World a Better Place, by David H. Freedman, Eric Abrahamson Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (514 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: David H. Freedman, Eric Abrahamson Narrator: David H. Freedman Publisher: Hachette Book Group Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Ever since Einstein's study of Brownian Motion, scientists have understood that a little disorder can actually make systems more effective. Yet most people still shun disorder or suffer guilt over the mess they can't avoid.


With a spectacular array of true stories and case studies of the hidden benefits of mess, A Perfect Mess overturns the accepted wisdom that tight schedules, organization, neatness, and consistency are the keys to success. Drawing on examples from business, parenting, cooking, the war on terrorism, retail, and even the career of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Abrahamson and Freedman demonstrate that moderately messy systems use resources more efficiently, yield better solutions, and are harder to break than neat ones.

Applying this idea on scales both large (government, society) and small (desktops, garages), A Perfect Mess uncovers the ways messiness can trump neatness, and will help you assess the right amount of disorder for any system.

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Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Juliet | 2/11/2014

    " I enjoyed listening to this book & I have the CD to share. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Christine | 2/6/2014

    " Makes me feel better about myself... ;-) "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Jay | 2/4/2014

    " This book advertises itself as a "Freakonomics"-type look into messiness. The book does have the freakonomics feel, with short magazine-ish articles that relate to many aspects of "messiness" and having a bit of a "inside joke" tone. I think the authors really stretched the concept into areas beyond "messiness" and into other areas where the concept isn't really that pertinent. In that, it was like reading an issue of a pop science magazine. From the title I was expecting more related to my messy desk, and i didn't really get what I was led to expect. I listened to this on audio, the narration was just OK. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Meghan Blueberry McCarthy | 2/4/2014

    " Not uber convincing but love the thought that the mess is necessary art of world "

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About the Author

Eric Abrahamson is professor of management at Columbia Business School. He is internationally recognized for his research on managing change and on management fads and fashions.

About the Narrator

David H. Freedman is a business and science journalist who has written for the Atlantic, the New York Times, Newsweek, and Wired, among other publications. He is the author of Brainmakers, Corps Business, and At Large, among others.