Summary of Why We Ignore Obvious Problems and How to Act on Them

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Why We Ignore Obvious Problems and How to Act on Them summary
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  • Engaging
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“Black swans” are unforeseen havoc-wreaking events. By contrast, “gray rhinos,” according to economic policy analyst Michele Wucker, are overwhelming problems hidden in plain sight to which people are willfully blind. Wucker’s useful metaphor urges society to shift its views on seemingly inextricable but obvious problems. Her thesis will provide leaders and individuals with a new framework for taming those wild, predictable beasts.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How to distinguish between a “black swan” and a “gray rhino,” and
  • How to tackle gray rhinos.
 

About the Speaker

Author Michele Wucker is an economic policy analyst and speaker.

 

Summary

Humans have a propensity for ignoring big, overwhelming problems. For example, when Alan Greenspan led the Federal Reserve, he was responsible for steering the US economy clear of problems. In 2006, when real estate values peaked, many analysts warned about ballooning market bubbles and risky lending practices. But Greenspan and the public disregarded those alarm bells. When the economy tanked in 2008, millions of people lost their homes and their jobs. Greenspan declared the crisis a “black swan,” a freak occurrence that nobody could have predicted or prevented. Not so; the warning signs were glaringly obvious. The crisis was more like a rampaging “gray rhino,” a “dangerous, visible and predictable” problem hidden...


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