The Logic of Failure, redux

Dietrich Doerner is a professor (at Otto-Friedrich University, Bamberg) who studies the thought patterns that result in bad decision-making, resulting in outcomes ranging from lack of success to outright disaster. I reviewed his interesting book, The Logic of Failure, here.

Comes now The Social Pathologist, who links my original review and adds thoughts of his own on Doerner’s work, particularly the sociological implications thereof. Interesting reading.

Searching on Doerner’s name, I ran across this analysis of Doernerism applied to the failure of a downtown mall in Columbus, OH.

Prof Doerner’s home page is here; unfortunately it seems that most of his work is available only in German.

5 thoughts on “<em>The Logic of Failure</em>, redux”

  1. The first thought that comes to mind – having admittedly not read the book – is that every time some PhD tries to codify human behavior into a predictable set of behaviors – one can always find the exceptions.

    I read years ago that Gen Patton was among the German High Command the most feared American General – because of his “unpredictability”.

    Then too entrepreneurs have a set of known personality traits – the ability to risk take (again, how much makes one an “entrepreneur”? – too much risk taking – not using what pilots call risk management – is simply fool hardy).

    All that being said I’ll wager that deep within soinme office complex in Langley the CIA puts a lot of effort into defining this.

  2. “The larger the mob, the harder the test. In small areas, before small electorates, a first-rate man occasionally fights his way through, carrying even the mob with him by force of his personality. But when the field is nationwide, and the fight must be waged chiefly at second and third hand, and the force of personality cannot so readily make itself felt, then all the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre—the man who can most easily adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum. The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron. ”
    This is from the linked Social Pathologist site, quoting Menken here.

    I like this quote since I’ve lately been suspecting that the size of our (U.S.) population is too large for the republican institutions trying to govern this country. The unbalanced relationship, with too little input from “the street”, is resulting in limited practicality in governance and an inability of the behemoth to adapt.

  3. It really did not have much to say about the Columbus City Center Mall fiasco. There were lessons in there, but the locals did not learn them. Hint, it is about planning and follow through, and telling certain wealthy people that they don’t get to re-trade just because they changed their minds.

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