Quotations about   decision-making

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War is one way of making decisions — but what’s decided may not be what anybody originally intended.

Ashleigh Brilliant (b. 1933) Anglo-American writer, epigramist, cartoonist
Pot-Shots
Added on 14-May-21 | Last updated 14-May-21
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Character is that which reveals moral purpose, showing what kind of things a man chooses or avoid.

[ἔστιν δὲ ἦθος μὲν τὸ τοιοῦτον ὃ δηλοῖ τὴν προαίρεσιν, ὁποία τις ἐν οἷς οὐκ ἔστι δῆλον ἢ προαιρεῖται ἢ φεύγει διόπερ οὐκ ἔχουσιν ἦθος τῶν λόγων ἐν οἷς μηδ᾽ ὅλως ἔστιν ὅ τι προαιρεῖται ἢ φεύγει ὁ λέγων.]

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Poetics [Περὶ ποιητικῆς, De Poetica], ch. 6, sec. 17 / 1450b.9 (c. 335 BC) [tr. Butcher (1895)]
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Original Greek. The key word êthos [ἦθος] is generally given here as "character." Alternate translations:
  • "Character in a play is that which reveals the moral purpose of the agents, i.e. the sort of thing they seek or avoid, where that is not obvious." [tr. Bywater (1909)]
  • "Psychology in the sense of "an index to the quality of the purpose" has for its sphere places where the ulterior purposes of an immediate resolve (positive or negative) is naturally obscure." [tr. Margoliouth (1911)]
  • "Character is that which reveals choice, shows what sort of thing a man chooses or avoids in circumstances where the choice is not obvious." [tr. Fyfe (1932)]
  • "Character is that which reveals decision, of whatever sort." [tr. Janko (1987), sec. 3.1.3]
  • "Moral character is what reveals the nature of people's fundamental options." [tr. Kenny (2013)]
Added on 14-May-21 | Last updated 14-May-21
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Such closet politicians never fail to assign the deepest motives for the most trifling actions; instead of often ascribing the greatest actions to the most trifling causes, in which they would be much seldomer mistaken. They read and write of kings, heroes, and statesmen, as never do anything but upon the deepest principles of sound policy. But those who see and observe kings, heroes, and statesmen, discover that they have headaches, indigestions, humors, and passions, just like other people; every one of which, in their turns, determine their wills, in defiance of their reason.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son (5 Dec 1749)
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Added on 25-Mar-21 | Last updated 25-Mar-21
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Decisions are always made with insufficient information. If you really knew what was going on, the decision would make itself.

Jack McDevitt (b. 1935) American author
Odyssey, ch. 39 (2006)
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Added on 21-Jul-20 | Last updated 21-Jul-20
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The truth is that many people set rules to keep from making decisions.

Mike Krzyzewski (b. 1947) American college basketball coach ["Coach K"]
Leading with the Heart, ch. 1 “Getting Organized” (2000) [with Donald Phillips]
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Added on 20-May-20 | Last updated 20-May-20
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A peacefulness follows any decision, even the wrong one.

Rita Mae Brown (b. 1944) American author, playwright
(Attributed)
Added on 23-Apr-19 | Last updated 23-Apr-19
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I have accustomed myself to receive with respect the opinions of others, but always take the responsibility of deciding for myself.

Andrew Jackson (1767-1845) American politician, general, US President (1829-1837)
(Attributed)

Quoted by John F. Kennedy in the foreword to T. Sorensen, Decision-Making in the White House: The Olive Branch or the Arrows (1963)
Added on 13-Nov-18 | Last updated 13-Nov-18
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Man is man because he is free to operate within the framework of his destiny. He is free to deliberate, to make decisions, and to choose between alternatives. He is distinguished from animals by his freedom to do evil or to do good and to walk the high road of beauty or tread the low road of ugly degeneracy.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, orator
The Measures of Man (1959)
Added on 15-Apr-17 | Last updated 15-Apr-17
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Markets can remain irrational a lot longer than you and I can remain solvent.

John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946) English economist
(Attributed)

Generally credited to Keynes, but the earliest reference found is by financial analyst A. Gary Shilling, "Scoreboard," Forbes (15 Feb 1993). More discussion here.

Sometimes given as "Markets can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent" or "Markets can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent."
Added on 11-Apr-17 | Last updated 11-Apr-17
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