A Perfect Mess

PerfectMessThe Hidden Benefits of Disorder

How crammed closets, cluttered offices, and on-the-fly planning make the world a better place

Do you have a messy desk? Welcome to the club–most people do. And if you’re like two out of three people, you feel guilty and ashamed about it, as well as about the lack of neatness and organization in your home, your office, your schedule, your parenting, and everywhere else in your life. And other people probably give you grief about it. But are messiness and disorganization really such terrible things? If so, why do people who keep their desks very neat spend an average of 36 percent more time looking for things at work than people who keep a fairly messy desk?

A Perfect Mess shatters the myths and misunderstandings about messiness and disorder that have led to an often pointless, counterproductive and demoralizing bias toward neatness and organization in our society. Drawing on examples from business, parenting, cooking, the war on terrorism, retail stores and even the meteoric career of Arnold Schwarzenegger, A Perfect Mess demonstrates that moderately messy systems use resources more efficiently, spur creativity, yield better solutions and are harder to break than neat ones.

A Perfect Mess helps readers assess the right amount of disorder for a given system, and show how to apply these ideas everywhere from the kitchen, garage or office, to government and all of society. Find out why A Perfect Mess is leading more and more people to just say ‘yes’ to mess!

Stop letting the neat-freaks push you around.  Find out why a certain amount of messiness and disorganization is probably already working in your favor–and how to take even better advantage of the benefits of disorder.  From jaywalking to musical improvisation to organizational charts, A Perfect Mess analyzes and celebrates the long-ignored brighter side to one of our most wide-spread and natural characteristics: Making a mess.

International Praise for WRONG

“A meandering, engaging tour of beneficial mess and the systems and individuals reaping those benefits….A fine time tipping over orthodoxies and poking fun at clutter busters and their ilk, and at the self-help tips they live or die by.”
–The New York Times

“Combine the ‘world-is-not-as-it-seems’ mind-set of Freakonomics with the delicious celebration of popular culture found in Everything Bad is Good for You to get the cocktail-party-chatter-ready anecdotes of messiness leading to genius in A Perfect Mess.”
–Fast Company

“Written in the style of counterintuitive classics like The Tipping Point and Freakonomics, A Perfect Mess amounts to a big messy pile of evidence that in the grand scheme of things, the advantages of neatness are often outweighed by the costs….Citing case studies and entertaining anecdotes, the authors [show] that a slightly messy way of doing things is more flexible, efficient and likely to succeed in the real world than a tightly regimented one.”
–Forbes FYI

“An engaging polemic against the neat-police who hold so much sway over our lives….A godsend to anybody who has a cleanliness fanatic for a boss….[and] for anyone who is already finding it hard to keep a New Year’s resolution about being tidier.”
–The Wall Street Journal

“As with Freakonomics and Gladwell’s books, the attempt is both thought-provoking and fun….For those whose eyes glaze over at management treatises, fortunately A Perfect Mess unleashes, rather pell-mell, a muddle of other examples ranging far beyond your cubicle — freewheeling landscape design, electric shock therapy treatments, noisy cell phone signals, tangled traffic patterns, random urban planning, chaotic terrorist tactics and Surrealist art movements….The book’s peripatetic path eventually proves that despite what your mother, your boss or your girlfriend tells you, a certain amount of disorder is a good thing.”
–The San Francisco Chronicle

“Good news! Organization is overrated….The book is thought-provoking, well-organized, badly needed.”
–The Los Angeles Times

“Eye-opening stories that challenge our obsession with an idealized version of home.”
–The Dallas Morning News

“An almost indecently fascinating book.”
–The (U.K.) Guardian

“A cross between Blink and Getting Things Done….A great, provocative, counter-intuitive, and really enjoyable argument about the benefits of mess and the costs of organization.”
–800 CEO READ

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