By: John Kay

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Diving into "Obliquity" by John Kay, one is taken on a journey through the paradoxical realm of oblique approaches. Kay's primary assertion is that many complex goals in life cannot be tackled directly. Instead, they are best achieved indirectly, or obliquely. In a world where the direct route seems the most logical, Kay highlights examples from business to nature, demonstrating how non-linear approaches often yield the most fruitful results.

Do you remember playing pinball? "Obliquity" can be likened to a game of pinball, where the ball doesn't go straight to its target. Instead, it bounces around, taking various pathways, and eventually lands where it's supposed to. Just like in pinball, life’s objectives aren’t always straightforward. By veering off the direct course, we may encounter experiences, insights, and lessons that guide us more effectively to our goals.

Now, think of yourself as a gardener. In the vast garden of life and profession, there are no clear instructions. Sometimes, tending to one plant leads to the unintended flourishing of another. The essence of obliquity is about embracing unpredictability, understanding that our actions have multiple reactions in interconnected systems.

For those of you feeling stuck on the linear path, this concept may be your beacon. Recognizing that success, happiness, and other objectives might not be achieved by direct methods can be liberating. It provides the permission to experiment, explore, and let experiences shape the journey.

The Power of Indirectness


The book introduces the notion that direct strategies often fail in complex environments. This is because these environments are unpredictable and constantly changing. Rather than trying to force a direct path, it's more effective to allow for flexibility and adaptability.

Imagine you're navigating a dense forest. Instead of hacking directly through the thick underbrush, it might be wiser to...

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This book summary is provided for informational purposes only and is provided in good faith and fair use. As the summary is largely or completely created by artificial intelligence no warranty or assertion is made regarding the validity and correctness of the content.