It was a real pleasure and positive experience to read Gary Klein’s new book. I have to admit that I am not familiar with his previous books, although they have been in the field of decision making. As a seasoned expert and acknowledged scientist Gary has contributed in many levels and this latest one made an unforgettable impact to my thinking. As an enthusiastic serendipity advocate I found a lot of new insight also to be considered in that perspective.
In this book Gary brings us through 120 cases he has collected through the years, and then started to analyze them from a very practical viewpoint. It took him years to get a comprehensive understanding of all the elements leading to insight. Interestingly enough, some of these cases are like straight from the serendipity textbook. Here is one short but illustrative story from the book.
Two cops were stuck in traffic, but they didn’t feel impatient. They were on a routine patrol, and not much was going on that morning. The older cop was driving. He’s the one who told me the story, proud of his partner. As they waited for the light to change, the younger cop glanced at the fancy BMW in front of them. The driver took a long drag on his cigarette, took it of his mouth, and flicked the ashes onto the upholstery. “Did you see that? He just ashed his car,” the younger cop exclaimed. He couldn’t believe it. ”That’s a new car and he just ashed his cigarette in that car.” That was his insight. Who would ash his cigarette in a brand new car? Not the owner of the car. Not the friend who borrowed the car. Possibly a guy who had just stolen the car. As the older cop described it, ”We lit him up. Wham! We’re in pursuit, stolen car. Beautiful observation. Genius. I wanted to hug him it was so smart”
Here is a brilliant review of the book by Harold Jarche.
Some selected Amazon reviews below:
5.0 out of 5 stars Gaining insight July 29, 2013
Gary Klein is a giant in the research field relating to how people actually think and make decisions in natural settings. In this book, he describes the value of gaining insight with reducing errors as two ways to increase individual and organizational performance. Both are needed, but reducing errors only gets us so far. There is much more to be gained by a dedicated focus in increasing insight. The book is organized in 3 sections: How insights are triggered, the things that interfere with insights, and how we can foster insight in self, others and organizations. Throughout there are interesting, well written stories to illustrate the concepts. As always, Klein includes a complete reference section. Since I have read all of Klein’s books, I find this one is an excellent deeper dive into Streetlights and Shadows – but you can read this book without having read his other work and you won’t be lost. Seeing What Others Don’t is great for individuals interested in improving the quality of their own thinking, for leaders in organizations, and it would be a great supplement for an MBA level course of study.
Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase
Gary Klein’s story-based style of describing real-world phenomena consistently resonates with me and helps me better understand the problems I’m facing every day. In this book, he unveils a useful schema for describing the the sources of insights and just as importantly, he identifies some of the obstacles that organizations face when trying to create an insight-based culture. Of particular value is his observation that organizations that place a high degree of emphasis on reducing errors may be stifling their ability to generate breakthrough insights. This is a great read for the management leader or executive who is striving to increase their understanding of how insights occur and to identify ways that their organization could be better tuned to allow insights to flow.