I recently read Beautiful Evidence by Edward Tufte. I will post a full review shortly, but there is one item from the book that warrants a post unto itself.
During some of our recent phone calls, Ron and I have lamented the staggering number of surveys that seem to be cropping up throughout the professions. Not that there has ever been a dearth of them, but recently there seems to be an over abundant proliferation. We even joked that they all say the same things.
Coincidently, Edward Tufte quotes from a study by Bernard Berelson, Human Behavior: An Inventory of Scientific Findings. Berelson apparently reached that same conclusions Ron and I did, only he was scientific about it. He survey 1,045 survey on human behavior and presents us with a brilliant executive summary of all the executive summaries. His three findings are as follows:
- Some do, others don’t.
- The differences aren’t very great.
- It’s more complicated than that.
There you have it folks, we can all eliminate taking and reading surveys from our to do lists. Let’s just refer to it as MOAES, the Mother of All Executive Summaries.