You 2.0: Why Disorder May Be Good For Us To many of us, the desire to bring order to chaos can be irresistible. But writer Tim Harford thinks many of us could use a bit more messiness in our lives.
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You 2.0: Why Disorder May Be Good For Us

A messy life can be a well-lived life, according to author and economist Tim Harford. PeopleImages/Getty Images hide caption

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PeopleImages/Getty Images

A messy life can be a well-lived life, according to author and economist Tim Harford.

PeopleImages/Getty Images

"Clean up this mess!"

This is a command you've probably given or received in your life. Perhaps in the last day, or even the last hour.

To many of us, the desire to bring order to chaos – to tidy up our kids' toys, organize an overstuffed closet, or rake the leaves covering the lawn – can be nearly irresistible. And it's a desire that extends to other aspects of our lives: Managers tell employees to get organized. Politicians are elected on promises to clean up Washington. And so on.

But economist and writer Tim Harford thinks we're underestimating the value of disorder. As part of our You 2.0 series, we bring you this November 2016 conversation in which we chat with Harford about his new book, Messy, and how an embrace of chaos is beneficial to musicians, speechmakers, politicians – and the rest of us.

The Hidden Brain Podcast is hosted by Shankar Vedantam and produced by Maggie Penman, Jennifer Schmidt, Renee Klahr, Rhaina Cohen, Parth Shah, and Lucy Perkins. Our supervising producer is Tara Boyle. You can also follow us on Twitter @hiddenbrain, and listen for Hidden Brain stories each week on your local public radio station.