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The Four Workarounds

Strategies From the World’s Scrappiest Organizations for

Tackling Complex Problems

By Paulo Savaget




The Four Workarounds shares how organizations have creatively solved problems and created unique solutions to complex problems. The idea of a workaround is to devise a solution quickly and with little fuss. Workarounds must be effective and use easy methods for tackling complex problems.

Author Paulo Savaget has identified four types of workaround that the companies he researched typically employ. The four types are piggyback, loophole, roundabout, and the next best. Savaget tells real-world stories of problems solved using workarounds, such as getting much-needed diarrhea medicine to remote areas of Zambia by piggybacking with Coca-Cola distributors or the roundabout practice in India of discouraging public urination by posting images of deities on outdoor walls.


The Four Workarounds is a delightfully informative and thought-provoking book exploring creative ways to get things done. I loved the clear explanations of the various workarounds, the explanations of real-world applications, and the intriguing problem-solving methods. As a manager and management auditor for many years, I found this book fascinating, and I encourage all managers who must tackle problems, large or small, to read it. There is always a better way to do things.

Author Paulo Savaget is an associate professor at Oxford, University’s Engineering Sciences Department and the Said Business School. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge as a Gates Scholar and has a background working as a lecturer, consultant, entrepreneur, and researcher.

The audiobook narrator Roger Wayne’s pacing, inflection, and tone added immense value to the enjoyment and understanding of the book.

Thanks to Netgalley and MacMillan for an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Publisher MacMillan Audio/Flat Iron Books

Published March 7, 2023

Narrated Roger Wayne


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