YANSS 180 – How too much efficiency coupled with too little slack can cause complex systems to fail and why we ran out of toilet paper because of it

In this episode we sit down with Chris Clearfield, author of Meltdown: Why Our Systems Fail and What We Can Do About It.

He says about his book, “By understanding what lies behind these failures, we can design better systems, make our teams more productive, and transform how we make decisions at work and at home.”

Chris is the founder of System Logic, an independent research and consulting firm focusing on the challenges posed by risk and complexity. He has written about catastrophic failure for The Guardian, Forbes, Nautilus, and the Harvard Business Review blog. Also, as a high school student, he discovered a spinning neutron star with two of his peers using data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. Oh, and he’s a licensed commercial pilot.

In the show, we engage in a two-hour, sprawling, rambling, intense nerd-out over efficiency, complexity, meltdowns, cascading failures, social change, mind change, network science and more.

OmnyDownload – iTunes – Stitcher – RSS – PatreonSoundcloud 

PatreonSupport the show directly by becoming a patron! Get episodes one-day-early and ad-free. Head over to the YANSS Patreon Page for more details.

Links and Sources

OmnyDownload – iTunes – Stitcher – RSS – PatreonSoundcloud 


Chris Clearfield

Chris Clearfield’s Twitter