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The Art of Problem Solving: Accompanied by Ackoff's Fables

ISBN: 978-0-471-85808-9
232 pages
March 1987
The Art of Problem Solving: Accompanied by Ackoff


"A witty, literate and, most of all, convincing reflection.[Ackoff] shines an often bright light into corners where problems hide, showing the manager how to understand the consequences of his own behavior; identify real, rather than supposed, elements of problems; perceive another's aims; determine what is controllable; and deal with other nettlesome factors." --Inc. The Art of Problem Solving Russ Ackoff--author, consultant, and teacher extraordinaire. During his long career, he has shown thousands of managers, architects, engineers, attorneys, advertising people, software developers, and scientists the way to more creative, artful problem solving. This new paper edition of The Art of Problem Solving is perhaps the best example of Ackoff in action. Step by step, this practical guide shows you how to develop an understanding of the art of creative thinking and the design of creative solutions. Using "Ackoff's Fables"--humorous yet eminently practical parables, based on real problems by real managers--you'll see why solving a problem seldom solves the problem, but why approaching it from a new, unorthodox angle often does. The result is vintage Ackoff--controversial, funny, and always on target. If you like to dig beyond simple solutions--to imaginative solutions that work--this book is for you.
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Table of Contents


Creativity and Constraints.


Controllable Variables.

Uncontrolled Variables.



The National Scientific Communication and Technology Transfer System: An Idealized Design.

Transportation without a Future: A Reference Projection.

A Multidimensional Organizational Structure.

Participation within Organizations.

The Effect of Advertising on Sales: A Study of Relations.

Why People Drink: Toward Understanding Objectives.

On Keeping Problems Solved.

Suggested Readings.


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Author Information

RUSSELL L. ACKOFF is the author of Management in Small Doses, Creating the Corporate Future, Redesigning the Future, and many other books. He recently founded INTERACT: The Institute for Interactive Management, a non-profit consulting company. Formerly, he taught at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School.
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