Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Mistake stories come alive when we discuss them

Recently, my wife and I were driving south to visit family, and on the drive we listened to the "This American Life" episode featuring the retraction of the Apple Foxconn story (which we discussed in an earlier post).

There's a lot going on in the story - the role of journalism, journalism versus theater, telling truth versus fiction. The episode took an hour, and then for the next hour or hour and a half, my wife and I talked about the story - what it meant to us, what we thought about it. The heroes and villains, and what really was our perspective on all these actions. After that, I had a much deeper understanding of the story and my reaction to it than if I had listened to it alone.

I think that's an important lesson for anyone who wants to learn from others' mistakes: you can get even more out of them and maybe substantially more if you share them with others. Because it is in discussion that we make sense of complex and ambiguous situations that frequently come up in business, in life and certainly around the issues of making mistakes and failure. Absorb these stories, share them, discuss them. Come to your own conclusions, and please share your comments on the site; it helps all of us get a bit smarter.

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