Like Freakonomics, here is a book that combines counterintuitive thinking with stories from everyday life to provide a striking new view of how our world works. Ever since Einstein's study of Brownian Motion, scientists have understood that a little disorder actually makes systems more effective. But most people still shun disorder--or suffer guilt over the mess they can't avoid. No longer! With a spectacular array of anecdotes and case studies of the useful role mess can play, here is an antidote to the accepted wisdom that tight schedules, neatness, and consistency are the keys to success. Drawing on examples from business, parenting, cooking, the war on terrorism, retail, and even the meteoric career of Arnold Schwarzenegger, coauthors Abrahamson and Freedman demonstrate that moderately messy systems use resources more efficiently, yield better solutions, and are harder to break than neat ones. A Perfect Mess will help readers assess what the right amount of disorder is for a given system, and how to apply these ideas onto a large scale--government, society-- and on a small scale--in your attic, kitchen, or office. A Perfect Mess will forever change the way we think about those unruly heaps of paper on our desks.