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Stuff Doesn't Just Happen: The Gift of Failure I

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Saying “sh!t happens” indicates events are random, have no meaning and there is no accountability or responsibility. It indicates such events could just as easily happen again and there’s nothing we can do about them.

Bull.

This book is about catastrophes and how to avoid them, mitigate their effects and learn from them as seen from the perspective of the Masters of Chaos: United States Army Special Forces (Green Berets). Taking the attitude shit happens is negative and is fatal. In this book we learn why propane has a smell; how crash positions in airplanes were refined; how economic bubbles happen over and over; how failures in leadership lead to murder, cannibalism and massacre; and much more.

Titanic: Systematic Failure
Kegworth Plane Crash: The Danger of Deferring to Authority and Experts
Little Big Horn: Leadership Failure
New London Schoolhouse Explosion: Lack of Focus
The Donner Party: Social Disintegration
From Tulips to the Housing Bubble: Greed Overwhelms Reality
Apollo 13: Success Snatched from the Jaws of Catastrophe

The bottom line is we can predict and prevent most catastrophes because every one has at least one man made factor, of the 7 cascade events, involved. In other words, we have control over whether shit happens. But it means changing a complacent mindset, getting rid of delusional thinking, and viewing the world around us in a Green Beret way.

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Stuff Doesn't Just Happen: The Gift of Failure I

  1. 1. Every catastrophe requires seven things to go wrong. Six Cascade events leading to the 7th event, the Catastrophe. At least one of the Cascade events involves human error. Thus most catastrophes can be avoided.
  2. 2. By studying past catastrophes we can learn to avoid future ones. Focusing on the Cascade Events and how they can be stopped is key!
  3. 3. Book I covers: Titanic Kegworth Plane Crash Custer and Little Big Horn Schoolhouse Explosion Donner Party Tulips to Housing Bubble Apollo 13
  4. 4. The Titanic:
  5. 5. "There is no danger that Titanic will sink. The boat is unsinkable and nothing but inconvenience will be suffered by the passengers." Phillip Franklin, White Star Line vice- president, 1912
  6. 6. The Kegworth Plane Crash:
  7. 7. Passenger on British Midland Flight 92 reflecting on hearing the pilot announce he was shutting down the right engine: “We were thinking: ‘Why is he doing that?’ because we saw flame coming out of the left engine. But I was only a bread man. What did I know?”
  8. 8. Custer and the Little Big Horn
  9. 9. “There are not enough Indians in the world to defeat the Seventh Cavalry." George Armstrong Custer
  10. 10. New London Schoolhouse Explosion:
  11. 11. “I did nothing in my studies nor in my life to prepare me for a story of the magnitude of that New London tragedy, nor has any story since that awful day equaled it.” Walter Cronkite
  12. 12. The Donner Party:
  13. 13. “I wish I could cry, but I cannot. If I could forget the tragedy, perhaps I would know how to cry again.” Mary Graves. Survivor, the ‘Donner Party’
  14. 14. From Tulips to the Housing Bubble Greed Overwhelms Reality
  15. 15. “Monkeys in contemporary 17th century Dutch dress are shown dealing in tulips. A satirical commentary on speculators during the time of "Tulip Mania", an economic bubble that centered around rare tulip bulbs. At left, one monkey points to flowering tulips while another holds up a tulip and a moneybag. Bulbs are weighed, money is counted, a lavish business dinner is enjoyed. The monkey at left has a list of rare tulips, his sword denotes upper class status. Farther back, a monkey sits like a nobleman astride a horse. One in mid-foreground draws up a bill of sale; the owl on his shoulder symbolizes foolishness and ignobility. Brueghel is not only ridiculing tulip speculators as brainless monkeys, the work is an object lesson for the folly of speculating to such an extent in such a transient thing as a mere bloom. In the denouement at right, a monkey urinates on the now worthless tulips; fellow speculators in debt are brought before the magistrate or weep in the dock. A frustrated buyer brandishes his fists, while at the back right a speculator is carried to his grave.” Jan Brueghel the Younger, Satire on Tulip Manica
  16. 16. Apollo 13: Successful Failure
  17. 17. “From this day forward, Flight Control will be known by two words: 'Tough' and 'Competent.' Tough means we are forever accountable for what we do or what we fail to do. We will never again compromise our responsibilities. Every time we walk into Mission Control we will know what we stand for. Competent means we will never take anything for granted. We will never be found short in our knowledge and in our skills. Mission Control will be perfect. When you leave this meeting today you will go to your office and the first thing you will do there is to write 'Tough and Competent' on your blackboards. It will never be erased. Each day when you enter the room these words will remind you of the price paid by Grissom, White, and Chaffee. These words are the price of admission to the ranks of Mission Control." Gene Kranz; the Monday morning after the Apollo 1 disaster; flight director for Apollo 13.
  18. 18. 1. Have a Special Ops preparation mindset 2. Focus by utilizing both big picture & detail thinkers 3. Conduct Special Forces Area Studies 4. Use the Special Forces CARVER formula 5. Have a “10th man” 6. Conduct After Action Reviews 7. Write and USE Standing Operating Procedures (SOPs)
  19. 19. Stuff Doesn’t Just Happen: The Gift of Failure Free Excerpts
  20. 20. Are you interested in a presentation about various catastrophes and how the cascade events could have been prevented? Events covered range from human-machine interface, to leadership, to communication, cost-cutting, engineering, group think, perseverance, systematic failure, and more? Catastrophes are cascade events culminating in disastrous chaos. War is chaos. Special Forces is the most elite unit trained for a variety of combat situations. What makes Special Forces elite is our mindset and preparation. Are you interested in a presentation on how to use Special Forces tactics, techniques and mental attitude to help your organization anticipate and prevent potential catastrophes? Please email bob@bobmayer.com
  21. 21. Print Book Free slideshows on survival, click on image
  22. 22. Information is the most important tool you can arm yourself with. I wrote this book specifically for those who’ve been uncertain about how to proceed. The Procastinator’s Survival Guide
  23. 23. New York Times bestselling author, graduate of West Point, former Green Beret, and feeder of two yellow Labs, most famously Cool Gus. He’s had over 75 books published, including the #1 bestselling series Time Patrol, Area 51, Atlantis, and the Green Berets. Born in the Bronx and having traveled the world he now lives peacefully with his wife and labs. Sort of. Free books below available HERE www.bobmayer.com

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