Hmm... As an organizing/efficiency expert, I am a bit skeptical about Eric Abramson's concept of "optimal messiness." - I don't necessarily disagree with his main premise, that over organizing (organizing continually for organizing sake) is detrimental to productivity, but I am afraid that this could become an excuse for people who are in absolutely no danger of being "too organized."

I am not in favor of guilt-tripping people into neatness, and this book will certainly make people who feel shameful about their inadequately organized lives breathe a sigh of relief, but it sort of becomes a useless good feeling if your business is falling apart and you spend hours looking for things each day.

From what I heard on the radio program, this is all common sense and I personally don't know anyone who is missing great business opportunities because they are insistent about tidying their desktop before taking advantage of it. (The only people who could be guilty of such a thing are either procrastinators who are afraid of going after the opportunity, or those that are suffering from some form of obsessive-compulsive disorder.)

But listen to the show yourself and let me know what you think.

WNYC - The Leonard Lopate Show: A Perfect Mess (January 19, 2007)

It may seem counterintuitive that disorder can lead to efficiency and success. But in A Perfect Mess, management professor Eric Abrahamson argues that messy systems can lead to better solutions and greater cost effectiveness than highly organized ones.

Originally posted to, transferred 12/11/2009