If you want to go in one direction, the best route may involve going in another. This is the concept of 'obliquity': paradoxical as it sounds, many goals are more likely to be achieved when pursued indirectly. The richest men and women are not the most materialistic; the happiest people are not necessarily those who focus on happiness, and the most profitable companies are not always the most profit-oriented as the recent financial crisis showed us.
Whether overcoming geographical obstacles, winning decisive battles or meeting sales targets, history shows that oblique approaches are the most successful, especially in difficult terrain. John Kay applies his provocative, universal theory to everything from international business to town planning and from football to managing forest fire.