Business Books

Simple rules for thriving in a complex world

The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviewed Ian Mann, MD at Gateways Business Consultants, for our weekly “Business Books” feature.

Mann reviewed “Simple Rules: How to Thrive in a Complex World” by Donald Sull and Kathleen Eisenhardt.

Description on Amazon:

Complexity surrounds us.

We have too much email, juggle multiple remotes and hack through thickets of regulations from phone contracts to health plans.

But complexity isn’t destiny.

Sull and Eisenhardt argue there’s a better way.

By developing a few simple yet effective rules, people can best even the most complex problems.

In “Simple Rules”, Sull and Eisenhardt masterfully challenge how we think about complexity and offer a new lens on how to cope.

They take us on a surprising tour of what simple rules are, where they come from and why they work.

The authors illustrate the six kinds of rules that really matter - for helping artists find creativity and the Federal Reserve set interest rates, for keeping birds on track and Zipcar members organised, and for how insomniacs can sleep and mountain climbers stay safe.

Drawing on rigorous research and riveting stories, the authors ingeniously find insights in unexpected places, from the way Tina Fey codified her experience at Saturday Night Live into rules for producing 30 Rock (rule five: never tell a crazy person he’s crazy) to burglars’ rules for robbery (“avoid houses with a car parked outside”) to Japanese engineers mimicking the rules of slime moulds to optimise Tokyo’s rail system.

The authors offer fresh information and practical tips on fixing old rules and learning new ones.

Whether you’re struggling with information overload, pursuing opportunities with limited resources, or just trying to change your bad habits, “Simple Rules” provides powerful insight into how and why simplicity tames complexity.

Scroll down for quotes from the audio below.

I cannot think of anybody who shouldn’t read this book!

Ian Mann, MD at Gateways Business Consultants

Subscribe to our Business Wrap Newsletter


702 welcomes all comments that are constructive, contribute to discussions in a meaningful manner and take stories forward.

However, we will NOT condone the following:

  • Racism (including offensive comments based on ethnicity and nationality)
  • Sexism
  • Homophobia
  • Religious intolerance
  • Cyber bullying
  • Hate speech
  • Derogatory language
  • Comments inciting violence.

We ask that your comments remain relevant to the articles they appear on and do not include general banter or conversation as this dilutes the effectiveness of the comments section.

We strive to make the 702 community a safe and welcoming space for all.

702 reserves the right to: 1) remove any comments that do not follow the above guidelines; and, 2) ban users who repeatedly infringe the rules.

Should you find any comments upsetting or offensive you can also flag them and we will assess it against our guidelines.

702 is constantly reviewing its comments policy in order to create an environment conducive to constructive conversations.

Read More
4 global forces changing the world in ways we simply can’t intuit

4 global forces changing the world in ways we simply can’t intuit

Rise of emerging markets; the impact of tech on market competition, aging populations; accelerating flows of capital and people…

How Alibaba (little-known outside China) became twice the size of Amazon

How Alibaba (little-known outside China) became twice the size of Amazon

A book about Alibaba, a company founded by a schoolteacher in his tiny apartment, now trumped only by Google in size.

Learn from Julius Malema and Chad le Clos (and others) how to be a better leader

Learn from Julius Malema and Chad le Clos (and others) how to be a better leader

We spoke to famed leadership coach Adriaan Groenewald about his book “Seamless Leadership” and how to become a great leader.

Change happens exponentially. We review a book on owning the future

Change happens exponentially. We review a book on owning the future

We review "Exponential Organizations", Salim Ismail's how-to book on dealing with exponential change and owning the future.

How a group of geeks enabled the revolution that allows you to read this article

How a group of geeks enabled the revolution that allows you to read this article

We review Walter Isaacson’s (author of bestselling biography of Steve Jobs) new book on the history of our Digital Revolution.

How to transform your limitations into advantages (ie. how to do more with less)

How to transform your limitations into advantages (ie. how to do more with less)

Gateways Business Consultants MD Ian Mann reviews the inspiring, yet practical, “A Beautiful Constraint" by Adam Morgan.

The rise of the Military-Internet Complex (and Earth as a Surveilled World)

The rise of the Military-Internet Complex (and Earth as a Surveilled World)

We interview the author of a terrifying new book on the rise of the US Military-Internet Complex. Big Brother is watching...

Meet Ian Mann – ‘strategy midwife’ by day, business book reviewer at night

Meet Ian Mann – ‘strategy midwife’ by day, business book reviewer at night

Ian Mann is a regular business book reviewer on The Money Show and a business consultant with a 100 percent money back guarantee.

The unexpected truth behind humanity’s most amazing inventions

The unexpected truth behind humanity’s most amazing inventions

True creativity is not only for geniuses, argues Kevin Ashton, author of "How to Fly a Horse".

Generation Z is humanity’s best hope, says mind-bending new book

Generation Z is humanity’s best hope, says mind-bending new book

We review “The Gen Z Effect: The Six Forces Shaping the Future of Business”. It’s a hopeful, brave new world. Generations unite!

Popular articles
'ANC may split if Dlamini-Zuma is elected leader'

'ANC may split if Dlamini-Zuma is elected leader'

Political analyst Dr Somadoda Fikeni sat down with Ray White to discuss the future of the ANC.

The Steinhoff Story: from humble beginnings to billions

The Steinhoff Story: from humble beginnings to billions

Financial Mail editor Rob Rose chats to Eusebius McKaiser about how Steinhoff became the retail giant we know, before the fall.

Predictably awesome new Nando's ad reminds South Africans ‘we can fix our sh$t’

Predictably awesome new Nando's ad reminds South Africans ‘we can fix our sh$t’

Watch the Guptas pack their bags and run in Nando's inspiring new advertisement.

PSG Chair Jannie Mouton opens up (kind of) about Steinhoff

PSG Chair Jannie Mouton opens up (kind of) about Steinhoff

In 2012 Steinhoff acquired 20% of wealth manager PSG, reportedly infuriating Mouton. Bruce Whitfield interviews him.

German prosecutors probing Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste (for accounting fraud)

German prosecutors probing Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste (for accounting fraud)

The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviews Steinhoff International Chairperson Christo Wiese.

So what exactly is radical economic transformation?

So what exactly is radical economic transformation?

Wits associate professor of economics Christopher Malikane speaks to Azania Mosaka about the term that is being bandied about.

3 easy questions could bag you R2000!

3 easy questions could bag you R2000!

WIN R2000! But only if you can prove you're a whiz of the MTN Biz Quiz by answering the following three questions...