Communications & Marketing Department
Manhattan Institute


Cassie Dendurent Nelson
Basic Books

ISBN: 978-0-465-02324-0





Uncontrolled: The Surprising Payoff of Trial-and-Error for Business, Politics, and Society, by Manhattan Institute senior fellow and National Review contributing editor Jim Manzi published by Basic Books is the second title to appear under the new City Journal Books imprint. In his first book, the software company entrepreneur explains how the methods of science can best be applied to social and economic policy to ensure progress and prosperity—and how poorly founded in research many ambitious government policies are today. It’s an argument—updating Karl Popper and Friedrich Hayek for the twenty-first century—guaranteed to spark significant discussion.

"This is a truly stimulating book. . ." Tyler Cowen, Marginal Revolution.
"Uncontrolled...is a vigorous book, pulsing with ideas." Trevor Butterworth, Wall Street Journal.


How do we know which social and economic policies work, which should be continued, and which should be changed? Too often, we allow policies to be guided either by inflexible ideology or random desperation. Instead of identifying errors and pitfalls beforehand, we wait until it’s too late to correct matters, or hold out for perfection instead of locating and pursuing what trial-and-error tells us is the best possible option.

Jim Manzi founded a global software company that pioneered the development of experimental methods now used by dozens of the world’s largest corporations to set prices, pick new products, and identify and market to customers.

In Uncontrolled, he argues that these same methods can be highly effective in addressing our most important social issues, ranging from improving our schools to increasing economic growth to reducing crime. Drawing on both his professional experiences and a systematic review of thousands of randomized business and social experiments, he provides compelling evidence that most widely-touted ideas for improving schools, government, businesses, and other complex human institutions don’t work. Further, those ideas that do work usually provide more limited benefits than their advocates claim. Manzi identifies a short list of specific programs, such as welfare-to-work, charter schools, and community policing, that have been shown to beat these odds, and argues for substantial investment in them.

Uncontrolled offers an innovative approach to making decisions in business, economics, and politics. It acknowledges the limits of our ability to conquer uncertainty, while tenaciously seeking new opportunities for improvement. In this powerful and masterfully argued book, Jim Manzi shows that by combining a skeptical mindset with careful experiments, we can create more effective social and economic policies



manziJIM MANZI is the founder and chairman of Applied Predictive Technologies, a global provider of predictive analytics software. Previously, he was a corporate strategy consultant with Strategic Planning Associates, and a staff member at AT&T Laboratories. He is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, and a contributing editor at National Review, and he serves on a number of corporate and nonprofit boards. Mr. Manzi holds an SB in mathematics from MIT, and was a Dean's Fellow in the doctoral program at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He currently lives in Paris and London.Read full bio >



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