The subtitle of this book is "How Crammed Closets, Cluttered Offices, and On-the-Fly Planning Make the World a Better Place" and this fairly well describes the theme of the book. It's mainly a collection of anecdotes that are lumped together in some sort of order around themes that seem applicable - and sometimes aren't in any way - the chapter "The politics of mess" has little to do with politics and seems more or less a vehicle about confirming (American) views of foreign countries, like Germany, France and Japan. Highly disappointing this part!

Others are much better and more than once there is a connection to "Managing The Unexpected": slightly messy organizations are more flexible and resilient than highly (over) structured and organized ones. High Reliability Organizations don't turn to managers in case of crisis (as the organizational order would prescribe) but rather to experts who have solutions. And so forth. Also the bit on the use (or rather not...) of strategic planning is certainly worth your while!

The main lesson of this (mostly) good to read and funny (sometimes sarcastic) book is: don't overdue it! Neither neatness nor mess. Use them both to an optimum. That sounds like a good ‘common sense’ advice.

ISBN 0316114758

P.S. 1: Recent (januari 2008) is een Nederlandse vertaling verschenen bij Uitgeverij Mouria in midprice editie: De Wet Van De Stimulerende Wanorde (320 paginas, ISBN 9045800314)

P.S. 2: I’ve read this book and written the review sometime in 2008 (ish). Haven’t revisited it since, but maybe I should because it appears that there are some elements that might be interesting in the light of Taleb’s “Antifragile” with regard to: things that like and benefit from disorder!

P.S. 3: September 2014: I've now re-read the book diagonally, and this indeed is a perfect side-companion to "Antifragile" with many good examples, anecdotes and reflections why disorder and mess is beneficial for any system and person (up to a certain degree, of course). Many a times the authors reach conclusions that are strikingly similar to those of Taleb.