Decision Making and Evaluation

January 23, 2009 — 3 Comments

I thought these were good quotes for evaluating decisions and trying to learn from examples:

“If criticism dispenses praise or censure, it should seek to place itself as nearly as possibly at the same point of view as the person acting, that is to say, to collect all he knew and all the motives on which he acted, and, on the other hand, to leave out of consideration all that the person acting could not or did not know, and above all, the result.”

On War

Von Clausewitz, Carl

“I will repeated this point again until I get hoarse: A mistake is not something to be determined after the fact but in light of the information until that point.”

Fooled By Randomness

Taleb, Nassim Nicholas

“-It’s unfortunate that this has happened.

No. It’s fortunate that this has happened and I’ve remained unharmed by it – not shattered by the present or frightened of the future. It could have happened to anyone. But not everyone could have remained unharmed by it. Does was what happened keep you from acting with justice, generosity, self-control, sanity, prudence, honesty, straightforwardness and all the qualities that allow a person’s nature to fulfill itself?”


Aurelius, Marcus

Ryan Holiday

I'm a strategist for bestselling authors and billion dollar brands like American Apparel, Tucker Max and Robert Greene. My work has been used as case studies by Twitter, YouTube and Google and has been written about in AdAge, the New York Times, Gawker and Fast Company.

3 responses to Decision Making and Evaluation

  1. “…and above all, the result.” This one’s difficult for people. Usually the result is the only thing out of your control and it’s the only thing used for judgment. Spot on.

  2. One of my favorites and kind of on the other side of your quotes:

    It is a good rule in life never to apologize. The right sort of people do not want apologies, and the wrong sort take a mean advantage of them.

    – P. G. Wodehouse

  3. . . . I was thinking about decision making when I sat down at my computer and typed in your url.

    >>”to leave out of consideration all that the person acting could not or did not know, and above all, the result.”

    What one did not know minus what one could not know is the extent of one’s ignorance. Obviously this is to be minimized.

    I liked this handbook for info analysis; the way it was written, the material it covers, the lack of pretense.

    Chapter 4 and Chapter 8 stand out. Especially “Satisficing” in ch4 and steps 3 and 5 in ch8.

    Given correct analysis of the situation the decision should be obvious, it should be a 20% or 50% or 100% difference. Making these decisions right matters.

    What if the difference in expected results between options are less than 10%? Then the decision is not important.

    What if the uncertainty in expected results is large? This is a gamble, not a decision.

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