Messy: The Power of Disorder to Transform our Lives is the latest book by journalist Tim Harford. I’ve liked his previous books such as The Undercover Economist, but I just couldn’t get into this one and indeed failed to finish it. His thesis, I think, is that disorder/messiness is a powerful thing for creative people, but to prove this broad idea he takes a Gladwellian-to-the-extreme mix of anecdotes and scientific papers to back up his remarks. Insights include the fact that brilliant scientists typically worked in multiple areas, not just one. But is this correlation really causation I’d ask?

Perhaps I’ve read too many books by Gladwell and Jonah Lehrer over the years, but this one fell flat for me. Incoherent thesis and no real building of ideas over the pages.