The Tyranny of Metrics

By Jerry Z Muller

How the obsession with quantifying human performance threatens our schools, medical care, businesses, and government

Today, organizations of all kinds are ruled by the belief that the path to success is quantifying human performance, publicizing the results, and dividing up the rewards based on the numbers. But in our zeal to instill the evaluation process with scientific rigor, we've gone from measuring performance to fixating on measuring itself. The result is a tyranny of metrics that threatens the quality of our lives and most important institutions. In this timely and powerful book, Jerry Muller uncovers the damage our obsession with metrics is causing--and shows how we can begin to fix the problem.

Filled with examples from education, medicine, business and finance, government, the police and military, and philanthropy and foreign aid, this brief and accessible book explains why the seemingly irresistible pressure to quantify performance distorts and distracts, whether by encouraging "gaming the stats" or "teaching to the test." That's because what can and does get measured is not always worth measuring, may not be what we really want to know, and may draw effort away from the things we care about. Along the way, we learn why paying for measured performance doesn't work, why surgical scorecards may increase deaths, and much more. But metrics can be good when used as a complement to--rather than a replacement for--judgment based on personal experience, and Muller also gives examples of when metrics have been beneficial.

Complete with a checklist of when and how to use metrics, The Tyranny of Metricsis an essential corrective to a rarely questioned trend that increasingly affects us all.


EDITOR'S CHOICE: The Tyranny of Metrics

Posted February 16, 2018, 9:00 AM with category of Innovation & Creativity
Jerry Muller pulls the curtain back on the cult of metrics, and attempts to break our fixation on improving the numbers so we can get back to improving the world we live in. Read more

NEW RELEASES: Business Books to Watch in February 2018

Posted February 6, 2018, 2:00 PM with category of Publishing Industry
Here is a list of twenty books we hope to be able to spend time with over the next month. Read more


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ISBN: 9780691174952

About the Hardcover

Publisher Princeton University Press
Publish date 02/06/2018
Pages 240
ISBN-13 9780691174952
ISBN-10 0691174954
Language English

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