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Arts & Life

Why Do Complex Systems Thrive on Trial And Error?

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Failure Is An Option

About Tim Harford's TED Talk

Economist Tim Harford identifies similar characteristics in successful industrial and economic systems. They work much better, he says, when they're constantly evolving through trial and error.

About Tim Harford

Tim Harford is an economist and a journalist. In the Undercover Economist column he writes for the Financial Times, he looks at familiar situations in unfamiliar ways and explains the fundamental principles of the modern economy.

His book, Adapt: Why Success Always Starts With Failure, argues that the world has become far too unpredictable and complex for today's challenges to be tackled with ready-made solutions and expert opinions. Instead, Harford suggests, we need to learn to embrace failure and to constantly adapt, to work from the bottom up rather than the top down.

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