Black Box Thinking: The Surprising Truth About Success

Black Box Thinking: The Surprising Truth About Success InnovAiT, 11(6), 349 Book Review Dr Jonathan Mills Academic Clinical Fellow, Lincoln Email: jonathanmills1@nhs.net again, carry on and learn from it. We learn more by actively doing Authors/editors: Matthew Syed tasks ‘bottom-up’ in real life, rather than from ‘top-down’ theory. We Year of publication: 2015 learn by practising skills and we should therefore not expect to be ISBN number: 1473613779 perfect first time. ????? Syed discusses the story of how David Beckham continuously practised his footballing skills, kicking a football many thousands of How would you rate this book? (5 star means excellent book useful for times, learning from each attempt, before moving onto a new skill. In all GPs in training – a must have item; 1 star means poor book that business, Sir James Dyson made thousands of refinements before you would not buy yourself) patenting his vacuum cleaner (that made him a multi-billionaire), each iteration learning from the former to make improvements What is good about this book? before arriving at the end product. The key point, illustrated by Black Box Thinking challenges the culture, sadly present in medicine, these examples, is that we must practise many times, and learn from that when mistakes occur fingers of blame must be pointed. Mistakes each attempt, refining and re-iterating, reflecting on what went well have a ‘signature pattern’, but one of the tragedies in medicine is how and what didn’t, before we progress towards mastery of a skill. This is a closed minded and defensive approach stops change that may pre- true not only in sport or business, but in medicine; as clinicians, we vent recurrent errors. This book emphasises how failure to learn is a must be prepared to learn from each clinical encounter as we gain large obstacle to progress. It also raises the important topic of ‘cogni- competency. tive dissonance’, and how when a mistake is presented clearly to us, the need to ‘save face’ impedes development. This book would be of benefit to a wide variety of people, not just What is bad about this book? GPs and other allied healthcare professionals. It challenges the reader Opening with cases of airline crashes, medical error and miscarriages to view errors as opportunities to learn rather than apportion blame, of justice does not make for light reading. While some of the examples and to be open minded about changing ineffective processes. Syed given in the book are predictable, the book makes the point that tragic makes the point that we learn from actively doing things; that we learn events tend to recur. This highlights the importance of embracing a from action. He also makes the point that young children do not have culture of honest appraisal, of being receptive to change and of find- a fear of failure; the fear of failure is an acquired trait and not some- ing the root causes of error, rather than looking for scapegoats. The thing we are born with. As clinicians, we talk about children progress- take-home message is somewhat repetitive: Do not fear failure and ing through developmental milestones. Children don’t fear falling over embrace your mistakes so you can learn from them. when trying to walk, they try walking and when they fall, get back up InnovAiT, 2018, Vol. 11(6), 349, ! The Author(s) 2018. DOI: 10.1177/1755738017711466 349 Reprints and permissions: sagepub.co.uk/journalsPermissions.nav journals.sagepub.com/home/ino http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png InnovAiT: Education and inspiration for general practice SAGE

Black Box Thinking: The Surprising Truth About Success

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SAGE
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© The Author(s) 2017
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1755-7380
eISSN
1755-7399
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10.1177/1755738017711466
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Abstract

InnovAiT, 11(6), 349 Book Review Dr Jonathan Mills Academic Clinical Fellow, Lincoln Email: jonathanmills1@nhs.net again, carry on and learn from it. We learn more by actively doing Authors/editors: Matthew Syed tasks ‘bottom-up’ in real life, rather than from ‘top-down’ theory. We Year of publication: 2015 learn by practising skills and we should therefore not expect to be ISBN number: 1473613779 perfect first time. ????? Syed discusses the story of how David Beckham continuously practised his footballing skills, kicking a football many thousands of How would you rate this book? (5 star means excellent book useful for times, learning from each attempt, before moving onto a new skill. In all GPs in training – a must have item; 1 star means poor book that business, Sir James Dyson made thousands of refinements before you would not buy yourself) patenting his vacuum cleaner (that made him a multi-billionaire), each iteration learning from the former to make improvements What is good about this book? before arriving at the end product. The key point, illustrated by Black Box Thinking challenges the culture, sadly present in medicine, these examples, is that we must practise many times, and learn from that when mistakes occur fingers of blame must be pointed. Mistakes each attempt, refining and re-iterating, reflecting on what went well have a ‘signature pattern’, but one of the tragedies in medicine is how and what didn’t, before we progress towards mastery of a skill. This is a closed minded and defensive approach stops change that may pre- true not only in sport or business, but in medicine; as clinicians, we vent recurrent errors. This book emphasises how failure to learn is a must be prepared to learn from each clinical encounter as we gain large obstacle to progress. It also raises the important topic of ‘cogni- competency. tive dissonance’, and how when a mistake is presented clearly to us, the need to ‘save face’ impedes development. This book would be of benefit to a wide variety of people, not just What is bad about this book? GPs and other allied healthcare professionals. It challenges the reader Opening with cases of airline crashes, medical error and miscarriages to view errors as opportunities to learn rather than apportion blame, of justice does not make for light reading. While some of the examples and to be open minded about changing ineffective processes. Syed given in the book are predictable, the book makes the point that tragic makes the point that we learn from actively doing things; that we learn events tend to recur. This highlights the importance of embracing a from action. He also makes the point that young children do not have culture of honest appraisal, of being receptive to change and of find- a fear of failure; the fear of failure is an acquired trait and not some- ing the root causes of error, rather than looking for scapegoats. The thing we are born with. As clinicians, we talk about children progress- take-home message is somewhat repetitive: Do not fear failure and ing through developmental milestones. Children don’t fear falling over embrace your mistakes so you can learn from them. when trying to walk, they try walking and when they fall, get back up InnovAiT, 2018, Vol. 11(6), 349, ! The Author(s) 2018. DOI: 10.1177/1755738017711466 349 Reprints and permissions: sagepub.co.uk/journalsPermissions.nav journals.sagepub.com/home/ino

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InnovAiT: Education and inspiration for general practiceSAGE

Published: Jun 1, 2018

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