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Work the System

The Simple Mechanics of Making More and Working Less

By Sam Carpenter
13-minute read
Audio available
Work the System: The Simple Mechanics of Making More and Working Less by Sam Carpenter

Work the System (2008) starts with a tough question: Which forces rule the world? It proposes that the world is neither reigned by chaos nor a predetermined fate, but by inherently stable systems. The key to getting what you want, therefore, lies in understanding how systems operate, both personal and professional, and fine-tuning them to match your goals and aspirations.

  • Managers, entrepreneurs and CEOs
  • Anyone who is striving for a better work–life balance
  • Anyone who wants to work more efficiently

Sam Carpenter is an entrepreneur and philanthropist who’s built a business documentation software product designed to help you apply the methods from this book.

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Work the System

The Simple Mechanics of Making More and Working Less

By Sam Carpenter
  • Read in 13 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 8 key ideas
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Work the System: The Simple Mechanics of Making More and Working Less by Sam Carpenter
Synopsis

Work the System (2008) starts with a tough question: Which forces rule the world? It proposes that the world is neither reigned by chaos nor a predetermined fate, but by inherently stable systems. The key to getting what you want, therefore, lies in understanding how systems operate, both personal and professional, and fine-tuning them to match your goals and aspirations.

Key idea 1 of 8

Get the systems mind-set: the world is a logical system of processes, not a chaotic mess.

Do you ever feel like you are just a helpless grain of sand in a dust storm of chaos beyond your control? Well, it’s not chaos that rules the world, but an underlying inherent order, even if we can’t always see it.

Think about it: No one is in charge of running the world, yet everything works fine 99.9 percent of the time. How can this be?

This is because systems, i.e., multitudes of diverse parts all working together to accomplish a single goal, are inherently inclined to stability and efficiency.

There are all sorts of systems that work together perfectly every day without you even noticing. In some faraway place, for example, oil is extracted from the earth using carefully engineered methods and machinery. That oil is then transported to refineries by sea, road, rail or pipeline, and finally delivered to a myriad of gas stations for your convenience.

When there is chaos or dysfunction within a system, it is largely the result of human flaws.

Whereas systems tend to run smoothly, human beings are inclined to make mistakes. Unsatisfactory outcomes aren’t the consequence of fate or bad luck, but rather are proof of our ability to exert our influence on processes.

The global financial crisis, for example, wasn’t blind bad luck. It was the result of a series of bad decisions made by people.

Moreover, our assessment as to whether systems are functioning as they should is largely subjective, since what qualifies as a “positive outcome” depends so heavily on our perspective.

For example, you may personally find it scandalous that gas prices are so high. An oil-exporting nation, however, will view the situation somewhat differently.

The situation, however, is not unchangeable. For instance, governments could negotiate a better resource sharing scheme that benefits everyone.

You see, you’re not just a grain of sand; you have influence, and can work the system to your advantage.

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