Reading Room

“Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted.” Albert Einstein

How to Measure AnythingHow to Measure Anything
by Douglas W. Hubbard

Douglas W. Hubbard’s book, “How to Measure Anything” is not one that you will curl up and read on a rainy day by a cozy fire, but it is a terrific reference for anyone who has to measure and report “what matters.” Although the focus is not healthcare specific, there is a lot of great and user friendly information that is structured around two basic principles:

1. A measurement is any metric that reduces uncertainty and aids the decision process.

2. If it’s meaningful, there’s a way to measure it — even if you can only measure its downstream effects.

I agree with Hubbard. You can measure anything. But what makes this book worthwhile is its relentless focus on ensuring what you measure has meaning and — sadly — a whole lot of what gets measured doesn’t.

And who can resist chapters with titles like:

  • Building an Intuition for Random Sampling: The Jelly Bean Example
  • A Little about Little Samples: A Beer Brewer’s Approach

Or my favorite:

  • Homo absurdus: the Weird Reasons Behind Our Decisions

Imagine — measurement made fun.

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