How Big Things Get Done: The Surprising Factors That Determine the Fate of Every Project, from Home

How Big Things Get Done: The Surprising Factors That Determine the Fate of Every Project, from Home Renovations to Space Exploration and Everything In Between

By Bent Flyvbjerg and Dan Gardner

"Why do big projects go wrong so often, and are there any lessons you can use when renovating your kitchen. Bent Flyvbjerg is the 'megaproject' expert and Dan Gardner brings the storytelling skills to How Big Things Get Done , with examples ranging from a Jimi Hendrix studio to the Sydney Opera House.

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Book Information

Publisher: Currency
Publish Date: 02/07/2023
Pages: 304
ISBN-13: 9780593239513
ISBN-10: 0593239512
Language: English

What We're Saying

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The secrets to successfully planning and delivering ambitious, complex projects on any scale—from home renovation to space exploration—by the world's leading expert on megaprojects. READ FULL DESCRIPTION

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"Why do big projects go wrong so often, and are there any lessons you can use when renovating your kitchen? Bent Flyvbjerg is the 'megaproject' expert and Dan Gardner brings the storytelling skills to How Big Things Get Done, with examples ranging from a Jimi Hendrix studio to the Sydney Opera House."--Financial Times (Best Books of 2023 So Far)

"Entertaining . . . There are lessons here for managers of all stripes."--The Economist Finalist for the Financial Times and Schroders Business Book of the Year Award Nothing is more inspiring than a big vision that becomes a triumphant, new reality. Think of how the Empire State Building went from a sketch to the jewel of New York's skyline in twenty-one months, or how Apple's iPod went from a project with a single employee to a product launch in eleven months. These are wonderful stories. But most of the time big visions turn into nightmares. Remember Boston's "Big Dig"? Almost every sizeable city in the world has such a fiasco in its backyard. In fact, no less than 92% of megaprojects come in over budget or over schedule, or both. The cost of California's high-speed rail project soared from $33 billion to $100 billon--and won't even go where promised. More modest endeavors, whether launching a small business, organizing a conference, or just finishing a work project on time, also commonly fail. Why? Understanding what distinguishes the triumphs from the failures has been the life's work of Oxford professor Bent Flyvbjerg, dubbed "the world's leading megaproject expert." In How Big Things Get Done, he identifies the errors in judgment and decision-making that lead projects, both big and small, to fail, and the research-based principles that will make you succeed with yours. For example: - Understand your odds. If you don't know them, you won't win.
- Plan slow, act fast. Getting to the action quick feels right. But it's wrong.
- Think right to left. Start with your goal, then identify the steps to get there.
- Find your Lego. Big is best built from small.
- Be a team maker. You won't succeed without an "us."
- Master the unknown unknowns. Most think they can't, so they fail. Flyvbjerg shows how you can.
- Know that your biggest risk is you. Full of vivid examples ranging from the building of the Sydney Opera House, to the making of the latest Pixar blockbusters, to a home renovation in Brooklyn gone awry, How Big Things Get Done reveals how to get any ambitious project done--on time and on budget.

About the Authors

Bent Flyvbjerg is the first BT Professor at Oxford University and the VKR Professor at the IT University of Copenhagen, an economist, and "the world's leading megaproject expert," according to global accounting network KPMG.

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Dan Gardner is a journalist and the New York Times bestselling author of Risk, Future Babble, and co-author of Superforecasting (with Philip E. Tetlock).

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