Key takeaways


  • Skilled maintainers advise never trying to solve a new or complex problem without a thorough mulling first. (View Highlight)
  • He over-prepared for what he knew well and under-prepared for nearly everything else. (View Highlight)
    • Note: This is a common trap for everyone, having significant blind spots. Collaborate!
  • Old systems break in familiar ways. New systems break in unexpected ways. (View Highlight)
  • Poor preparation and maintenance led to Crowhurst’s cheat. The cheat led to his death. His excessively optimistic view of the world and himself, which had worked fine on land, was lethal for a man alone at sea in an unfit small boat, marinating for months in two contradictory realities. He had invested so much of himself in an illusion that when it shattered, he shattered. (View Highlight)
  • ‘Given a choice between something simple and something complicated’, he wrote, ‘choose what is simple without hesitation; sooner or later, what is complicated will almost always lead to problems’. Only simple things, he noted, can be reliably repaired with what you have on board. (View Highlight)
  • His reward for a boat functioning like new every day was this: ‘I spend my time reading, sleeping, eating. The good, quiet life, with nothing to do.’ That was in fair weather. Storms were as arduous for him as ever, but he was unafflicted with worry that his gear might fail. (View Highlight)