Better to Fail at Solving a Big Problem, than to Succeed at a Minor One?

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Source of book image: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61s10qMqpxL._SL1400_.jpg

Francis Collins, head of the NIH, discusses a favorite book of 2013:

(p. C6) Taking risks is part of genius, and genius is not immune to bloopers. Mario Livio’s “Brilliant Blunders” leads us through the circumstances that surrounded famous gaffes.   . . .   Mr. Livio helps us see that such spectacular errors are opportunities rather than setbacks. There’s a lesson for young scientists here. Boldly attacking problems of fundamental significance can have more impact than pursuing precise solutions to minor questions–even if there are a few bungles along the way.

For the full article, see:
“12 Months of Reading; We asked 50 of our friends–from April Bloomfield to Mike Tyson–to name their favorite books of 2013.” The Wall Street Journal (Sat., Dec. 14, 2013): C6 & C9-C12.
(Note: the online version of the article has the date Dec. 13, 2013.)

The book that Collins praises is:
Livio, Mario. Brilliant Blunders: From Darwin to Einstein – Colossal Mistakes by Great Scientists That Changed Our Understanding of Life and the Universe. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2013.

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