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Deconstructing Management Maxims, Volume II by Kevin Wayne

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CHAPTER 5

Failure is Not an Option

If a machine is expected to be infallible, it cannot also be intelligent.

—Alan Turing

For the loser now will be later to win.

—Bob Dylan, “The Times They Are a-Changin’”

Awash in failures are we. Some are cataclysmic, lots of them inconsequential, and many are natural iterations of works-in-progress. We continually bear witness to failure in life, industry, sports, politics, film, and literature. American novelist John Updike, most known for his Rabbit book series, once said, “My characters are all failures.”1

In To Engineer is Human: The Role of Failure in Successful Design, author Henry Petroski points to design failure as the reason for major structural catastrophes such as collapsed bridges and buildings. ...

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