Quotations

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Quotations referenced across the site sorted by date of post (descending). Click on the (light-blue) link(s) above the quotation to view the quotation within the context of an article. Quotations without links are pending for articles yet-to-be-published. Click here for a simple alphabetical listing of quotations


In the dictator game, the sociologist/economist places $100 on a table (in bills of small denomination) and provides the following instructions to two players. One player is named the dictator and is given the task of splitting the $100 between the two players. The dictator splits the money and makes the offer to the second player, the subject. If the subject accepts the offer, then both walk away with their split. If rejected, neither player receives any money. There’s only one round to the game. Play this game in countries with free market systems and the offer is very often a split in the 60-40 to 50-50 range, and is very often accepted. Everybody wins. In countries with command-and-control or paternalistic economies, the offer is very typically 98-2 or 99-1, with the idea that even $1 for the subject is better than nothing. These offers are very often rejected and everyone loses. If I allow you $98 then the next time one of these games comes along you’ll have a leg up and I’ll fall even further behind. Munger, Mike (2010)

Can you imagine. We did this for free, as our hobby, and we really enjoyed it. Now we’re getting paid, and reporting to someone else, to do the same thing. It’s turned into just like any other job. Professional Surveyor, Mammoth Cave National Park (1990's). Personal communication

In a meeting to trade research insights, Merck signed a non-disclosure agreement with Dr. Endo to the effect they would not expropriate what Dr. Endo believed to be his most important trade secret, a fungus for the reduction of cholesterol. Instead the most important trade secret, Dr. Endo’s discovery of the Hen as the most appropriate animal model for high volume testing cholesterol lowering agents, was freely shared and allowed Merck to push far ahead with its own fungus research, gaining a scientific and commercial competitive advantage that lasted decades. Stalking Cholesterol - Feat of Japan's Dr. Endo

...the system of peer review is biased, unjust, unaccountable, incomplete, easily fixed, often insulting, usually ignorant, occasionally foolish, and frequently wrong... Richard Horton (2000). Past editor of the British medical journal The Lancet

Two peer review panels+ were both given the same papers to adjudicate, for which they were each eminently qualified. There were dozens of papers. The overlap in agreement for their adjudication? 20%. Worse than the flip of a coin. Michael Scriven (2006). American Evaluation Association Annual conference

Strategy is the expression of intent used to direct all actions toward a desired set of results. paraphrased from Paula Manoski (2002). The R&D Strategy / Strategic Process

I don’t know how we’re going to be able to do this without you. Vice President of Operations (2002). Personal Communication on how to gain buy-in from a reluctant team member

Controlled variation is the foundation of empirical scientific knowledge Falk, A., & Heckman, J. J. (2009). Lab Experiments Are a Major Source of Knowledge in the Social Sciences

...ask any magician (I have asked lots) and they will tell you that there is no better audience than a room full of scientists, academics, or, best of all, members of the high I.Q. club Mensa. Members of such cohorts, by virtue of their intelligence and education, think they will be better at discerning the secrets of the magician, but … they are easier to fool because in watching the tricks so intensely they more easily fall for the misdirection cues. Michael Schermer (2003). Why Smart People Believe Weird Things

I started off as an accountant, but my bosses quickly realized that if they ever needed to get anything done they could come to me. I parlayed this reputation into a variety of positions that eventually carried me to where I am today. Successful pharmaceutical industry consultant (2009). Personal Communication