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May 02 , 2011

Swans, Swine, and Swindlers

Coping with the Growing Threat of Mega-Crises and Mega-Messes


Swans, Swine, and Swindlers addresses a core, contemporary question: What steps can we take to better anticipate and manage mega-crises, such as Haiti, Katrina, and 9/11?

This book explores the concept of "messes." A mess is a web of complex and dynamically interacting, ill-defined, and/or wicked problems; their solutions; and our conscious and unconscious assumptions, beliefs, emotions, and values. The roots of messes can be classified as Swans (the inability to surface and test false assumptions and mistaken beliefs), Swine (the inability to confront and manage greed, hubris, arrogance, and narcissism), and Swindlers (the inability to confront, detect, and stop unethical and corrupt behavior). Working systematically with this concept and these classifications, authors Can M. Alpaslan and Ian I. Mitroff reveal that all crises are messes; one must learn to understand and manage them as such.

They then provide tools and frameworks that readers can use to more effectively deal with the crises of today and tomorrow. Drawing on ideas from research areas as diverse as human development, philosophy, rhetoric, psychology, and high reliability organizations, this book aims to be the definitive guide for a new era in crisis management. Therefore, it is a must-have for practitioners, scholars, and students who study and deal in real-life crises.

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