11 Pages Posted: 25 Jan 2013

See all articles by John Kay

John Kay

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)

Date Written: January 25, 2013


Why is it that the wealthiest people are not the most materialistic; that the most successful businesses are not the most profit-oriented; and that the happiest people do not directly pursue happiness? Using a diverse range of examples, from the Messenger spacecraft to French architecture, this essay explains why complex goals are best achieved when they are pursued indirectly; this is the concept of obliquity.

Comments on this paper can be found at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2206902

Keywords: complex goals, indirect, obliquity

Suggested Citation

Kay, John, Obliquity (January 25, 2013). Capitalism and Society, Vol. 7, Issue 1, Article 2, 2012, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2206876

John Kay (Contact Author)

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

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