How Big Things Get Done: The Surprising Factors That Determine the Fate of Every Project, from Home Renovations to Space Exploration and Everyt


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$28.99  $26.96
Crown Currency
Publish Date
5.6 X 8.5 X 1.2 inches | 0.9 pounds

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About the Author

Bent Flyvbjerg is the first BT Professor at Oxford University and the VKR Professor at the IT University of Copenhagen, an economist, and "the world's leading megaproject expert," according to global accounting network KPMG. He has consulted on over one hundred projects costing $1 billion or more and has been knighted by the Queen of Denmark.

Dan Gardner is a journalist and the New York Times bestselling author of Risk, Future Babble, and co-author of Superforecasting (with Philip E. Tetlock).


"Entertaining . . . The picture that [Flyvbjerg] and Mr Gardner draw of why projects, large and small, tend to go wrong is compelling. . . . There are lessons here for managers of all stripes."--The Economist

"Stories of gigantic and costly failures, from the Sydney Opera House to successive editions of the Olympic Games, are entertaining and chastening in equal measure. But Flyvbjerg and Gardner also manage to extract valuable lessons about how to plan, forecast and execute any size of project, be it a kitchen remodelling or a high-speed trainlink."--Financial Times, Best Summer Books of 2023: Business

"Ignore [this book] at your peril."--Peter Coy, The New York Times

"[How Big Things Get Done is] a book that every legislator, city council member and corporate executive ought to read."--The Wall Street Journal

"Having researched the properties of planning errors, I am confident that nobody has studied the topic more broadly and deeply than Bent Flyvbjerg. His focus ranges from the Olympic Games to the renovation of your doghouse."--Nassim Nicholas Taleb, distinguished professor of risk engineering at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering, and author of the Incerto series

"[How Big Things Get Done] has plenty of tips to help ensure that [personal renovation projects] get done on time and on budget."--Morningstar

"A wise, vivid, and unforgettable combination of inspiring storytelling with decades of practical research and experience . . . Everyone who deals with large projects is already desperate to read this book. The rest of us will take great pleasure in learning from it anyway."--Tim Harford, author of The Data Detective

"This book distills the best scientific advice on planning big projects. And it is arguably the bargain of the century."--Philip E. Tetlock, co-author of Superforecasting

"How Big Things Get Done . . . is a crystal-clear pattern of surprising reasons why almost all big human projects fail to deliver as expected--and a road map for the book's lucky readers to avoid them."--Ola Rosling, CEO and co-founder of Gapminder; co-author of Factfulness

"If we're to make it through these next few decades, we're going to have to build a lot of stuff--and we're going to have to do it cheaply and fast. Here's a very useful handbook!"--Bill McKibben, author of The Flag, the Cross, and the Station Wagon

"Flyvbjerg's study of big construction projects worldwide has led him to formulate the iron law of megaprojects: over budget, over time, under benefits, over and over again. His deep understanding of why big projects fail--and occasionally succeed--makes this book a truly fascinating read."--Gerd Gigerenzer, author of Gut Feelings

"In this moment where resources are growing more scarce, Bent is pointing toward a way of developing projects that uses our environmental, human, and financial resources in a more equitable and profitable way for society."--Frank Gehry