A Beautiful Constraint

How to Transform Your Limitations into Advantages and Why its Everyone’s Business

Adam Morgan, Mark Barden

Publisher: Wiley, 2015, 277 pages

ISBN: 978-1-118-89901-4

Keywords: Creativity

Last modified: Nov. 12, 2019, 6 a.m.

This is a practical hanbook about everyday inventiveness, designed for the constrained times in which we live. Underpinned by the latest research from social science, the authors interviewed individuals and teams in disciplines as varied as marketing, supply chain, race car engineering, design, agronomy and education, all of whom had turned apparent constraints into sources of possibility and advantage.

This book transforms these learnings into a tool kit to help you make more from less, describing the mindset, method and motivation required to make constraints beautiful. It challenges us to:

  • Examine how we've become path dependent — stuck with routines that blinds us from seeing the opportunity in our constraints
  • Ask Propelling Questions to break free of our old ways and put the most pressing and valuable constraints at the heart of our process
  • Adopt a Can-If mentality to answer these questions — focused on 'how' not 'if' this can be possible.
  • Rediscover resourcefulness, and the ability to create abundance in the face of scarcity
  • Activate the high-octane mix of emotions necessary to fuel the tenacity required for success

We live in a world of seemingly ever-increasing constraints, driven as much by an over-abundance of choices and connections as by scarcity of time and resources. How we respond to these constraints is one of the most important issues of our time, and will be a large determinant of our future progress as people, businesses and citizens of our planet. A Beautiful Constraint calls for constraint-driven problem-solving to become a much more widespread capability and offers an original framework to achieve that.

  • Introduction
    The beauty in constraint, and why it matters
  1. Victim, Neutralizer, & Transformer
    Our starting relationship with constraints
  2. Break Path Dependence
    The behaviors and practices that stop us seeing opportunity in constraint
  3. Ask Propelling Questions
    How to frame the constraint to force breakthrough
  4. Can-If
    How to find solutions to constraint-driven problems
  5. Creating Abundance
    How to see and access resources we don't have
  6. Activating Emotions
    How to fuel tenacity on the journey
  7. The Fertile Zero
    Learning from people who succeeded with next to nothing
  8. Constraint-Driven Cultures
    How big companies have learned to love constraints
  9. Scarcity and Abundance
    Why this capability is so important to all of us today
  10. Making Constraints Beautiful
    How to use the ABC approach
  11. Leadership & The Future of Constraints
    The opportunity for progress


A Beautiful Constraint

Reviewed by Roland Buresund

OK ***** (5 out of 10)

Last modified: May 21, 2020, 6:56 p.m.

This is not a book about the Theory of Constraints (ToC), but a book on how you may think differently and introduce positive thinking in problem-solving.

Not bad, but not directly earth-shattering.


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