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How to Measure Anything: Finding the Value of "Intangibles" in Business
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How to Measure Anything: Finding the Value of "Intangibles" in Business

3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  1,360 Ratings  ·  109 Reviews
Praise for How to Measure Anything: Finding the Value of Intangibles in Business

"I love this book. Douglas Hubbard helps us create a path to know the answer to almost any question in business, in science, or in life . . . Hubbard helps us by showing us that when we seek metrics to solve problems, we are really trying to know something better than we know it now. How to Me
Hardcover, 287 pages
Published July 1st 2007 by John Wiley & Sons (first published 1985)
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Takuro Ishikawa
Jul 16, 2010 Takuro Ishikawa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The most important thing I learned from this book: “A measurement is a set of observations that reduce uncertainty where the result is expressed as a quantity.” Finally! Someone has clearly explained that measurements are all approximations. Very often in social research, I have to spend a lot of time explaining that metrics don’t need to be exact to be useful and reliable. Hopefully, this book will help me shorten those conversations.
Jurgen Appelo
297 references to risk, and only 29 references to opportunity. No mention of unknown unknowns (or black swans), and no mention of the observer effect (goodhart's law). A great book, teaching you all about metrics, as long as you ignore complexity.
Yevgeniy Brikman
Aug 18, 2013 Yevgeniy Brikman rated it really liked it
As an engineer, this book makes me happy. A great discussion of how to break *any* problem down into quantifiable metrics, how to figure out which of those metrics is valuable, and how to measure them. The book is fairly actionable, there is a complementary website with lots of handy excel tools, and there are plenty of examples to help you along. The only downside is that this is largely a stats book in disguise, so some parts are fairly dry and a the difficulty level jumps around a little bit. ...more
Marcelo Bahia
May 04, 2012 Marcelo Bahia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: investing, business
An excellent read. It could be summed up as a "basic statistics for business" book, although it definitely goes beyond that in many aspects.

As the title suggests, throughout the whole book the author strongly defends the case that everything can be measured, even though the method may not be obvious at first glance. The book structure basically consists of the explanations of why this is so and various examples and methods that should help the reader to deal with many types of such problems.

Steve Walker
Jan 18, 2013 Steve Walker rated it really liked it
There is a lot of good information here but it is more of a text book and very dry. I read this book because I have to make decisions every day. Some decisions are very easy because I have the intell and facts that make the decision for me. But other decisions aren't so easy. What are my "real" risks? How do I separate emotion from a decision? What about all the things involved that can't be measured?

Ah, that is where this book was insightful an helpful. Hubbard aserts that there isn't anything
Martin Klubeck
Jul 10, 2013 Martin Klubeck rated it it was amazing
I really like this book. Hubbard not only champions the belief that anything can be measured, he gives you the means (the understanding of how) to get it done. I have used his book on numerous occasions when tackling some difficult data collection efforts.

Hubbard's taxonomy and mine don't fully jive, but that's a minor point; I found much more to like than not. I like to highlight and make notes in good books...this book is full of both. I especially like one of his "useful measurement assumpti
Oct 08, 2013 Nils rated it liked it
An OK popularization of measurement techniques. But it downplays the key issue—which is data quality challenges, of which there are at least two types.

The first is the "moneyball" type: a phenomenon where we know intuitively that there are important differences in measurable outcomes but we lack statistically significant explanations. The challenge here is to find things to measure that are consistently revealing of the phenomenon you are ultimately interested in measuring (say team wins). Maki
Bibhu Ashish
Nov 10, 2014 Bibhu Ashish rated it liked it
Happened to read the book from site where I have been a member since last year. The best takeaway from the book is the structural thought process it brings in while dealing with intangibles which we always are demotivated to measure. To summarize my learning, I would just mention the below which I have copied from the book.
1-If it's really that important, it's something you can define. If it's something you think exists at all, it's something you've already observed somehow.
2-If it's so
Sep 30, 2013 Jon rated it liked it
Simply put the first half of this is just awesome. As I listened to this via audio the second half is plagued by many formulas that doesn’t translate or understood well when listened to. The second half is also very heavily into statistics which could be a somewhat laborious read for some.

The first half is very recommended as it goes into what it means to “measure” something and suggest some very fundamental questions regarding measuring. E.g.:

What is it you want to have measured? E.g. what does
Stephen Rynkiewicz
Classical Greeks not only figured out that the planet is round, but had it measured. Eratosthenes calculated its circumference from a lunch-hour measurement at his library in Alexandria during the summer solstice, knowing only his distance from the Tropic of Cancer. Eratosthenes is a hero of Chicago statistician Doug Hubbard, who trains managers in "calibrated estimates," basically closely observed ballpark figures. Here he describes approaches to making more accurate guesses, including when it' ...more
Jeff Yoak
Apr 26, 2012 Jeff Yoak rated it it was amazing
This was a fantastic read. It helps with general numeracy as well as providing an overview on how to think about measurement and statistics practically. This is an area where I have some experience and I still learned a lot. This book, especially the first half, should be accessible to everyone.

The second half is a bit more technical and I wished I had been reading in paper instead of in audio. I may do that eventually. The pacing is a little hard in audio and I could have benefited from notes,
June Ding
Sep 30, 2016 June Ding rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016-read
The title made me curious. The author did make the case that anything can be measured including many things that we consider abstract or intangible. The stories it gave at the start of the book is fascinating and opened my mind about what we think measurement really is. There is no perfect measurement. There is no absolute truth. Measurement is a quantitativly expressed reduction of uncertainty based on one or more observations. I also find the methods to define the problem and the notion that a ...more
Peter Mcloughlin
Fairly good business statistics book on measuring factors and on how to apply measurement and some good risk analysis. Definitely overhyped as a revolutionary booklet (I think this happens with business books a lot.) But it is accessible and gives some good advice on how to measure things statistically and using statistical methods for practical applications but it isn't the second coming.
Dec 09, 2009 Kc rated it really liked it
Shelves: business
I purchased this book because I am in the middle of a project where I have to measure an "intangible". I liked the author's ideas on breaking down a measurement and figuring out the uncertainty factor on each variable. The information he provided helped me to find a solution for my project.
Pauli Kongas
Perhaps not the best read in audio because of some math and a lot of pictures etc.
Feb 26, 2017 Jon rated it really liked it
The framewprk introduced in three book is very helpful in hopes to break down decision making in a measurement oriented way. It can be easy to get lost in the math, but the top level point that if you observe the problem, you can measure it's success is a good one. I also appreciated it's pragmatic approach to measurement, acknowledging that often of you organize the information you already know, you might not need to collect anything new.

Overall it was a very helpful read.
Nidhal Ben Tahar
Jan 21, 2017 Nidhal Ben Tahar rated it really liked it
I found the book delighting. It was more of problem solving inquiry than a business book.
The author provided several of advice to improve the task of measuring, or rather decreasing incertainty, like domain decomposition, reframing the question to decrease ambiguity and shun fluff.

Like any good book I was left with more questions than answers, and an interest in things like decision theory, formal models and baysian statistics.
Feb 02, 2017 Joe rated it really liked it
Great explanation of Gilb's law. Beneficial reading for anyone involved with metrics and improvement
Eirik Mofoss
Jan 29, 2017 Eirik Mofoss rated it liked it
Not good for the audiobook format, as it has lots of formulas and Microsoft Excel references.
Kim Mcnelly
How To Measure Anything: Finding the Value of Intangibles in Business by Douglas W. Hubbard
I chose to read this book because it seems to be focused around analytics and measurements and this is a field that I would like to get back into at work.
I found after I started listening that this book is heavy on statistics and some of the parts were well beyond my curve for this topic. I did find that having taken the Grainger/CLC Intro to Statistics course, most of the terminology and references were
Sep 25, 2016 Jozsef rated it really liked it
Shelves: to-reread
Good book, just needs a reread.
Alissa Thorne
While this book could be described as basic statistics for people responsible for making business decisions, that would not do it credit. For me, by far the greatest value was around the pragmatic and down to earth approach to decision making.

The approach challenges decision makers to figure out what tangible outcome they actually care about, and think creatively to come up with low cost observations that can be measured. It goes on to give readers tools to determine how much they don't know an
Dec 17, 2016 Alan rated it it was amazing
Very useful book about decisions, measurements, and gathering data to support decisions
Nathanael Coyne
This book made me realise how ignorant I was about the fundamentals of statistics and scientific observation. I no longer fear quantitative information now that I understand that pursuing exact values is often futile and that educated estimates wrapped in a confidence interval can be more useful and more readily obtained. It has really changed the way I look at analysing information and drawing conclusions from both quantitative and qualitative information to input into my design and evaluation ...more
Aug 20, 2014 P rated it did not like it
Shelves: business
The intangibles and the challenge -- An intuitive measurement habit : Eratosthenes, Enrico & Emily -- The illusion of intangibles : why immeasurables aren't -- Clarifying the measurement problem -- Calibrated estimates : how much do you know now? -- Measuring risk : introduction to the Monte Carlo -- Measuring the value of information -- The transition : from what measure to how to measure -- Sampling reality : how observing some things tells us about all things -- Bayes : adding to what you ...more
Scott Harris
Feb 06, 2012 Scott Harris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book offers value to anyone who has ever had to manage a program or attempt to provide results for a large organization. While the back-end of the book is highly technical, it is nevertheless useful for beginning to understand some key concepts. Some great definitions here such as:

Measurement: A quantitatively expressed reduction of uncertainty based on one or more observations.;

Uncertainty: The lack of complete certainty, that is, the existence of more than one possibility.

Risk: A state
Sam Motes
Nov 26, 2013 Sam Motes rated it liked it
Shelves: business-reads
Hubbard presents a pretty compelling case that anything can be measured and that you should start by measuring what you can and then build your measuring instrument to fine tune your results as the needs are better understood. Hubbard covers many fallacies of why many business say they or their industry is unique and thus their needed info can't be measured. If I had read the physical or Kindle version of the book I probably would have given it 4 or 5 stars, but the Audible version I consumed wa ...more
Mar 14, 2015 Randy rated it it was amazing
Two big things stick out:
1) Measure effects, not actions (measure click-throughs and orders, not FB likes and reshares).
2) Go broad and cursory on your first pass if you don't know much on the subject, then iterate as you find value.

Fantastic book. Would recommend for anyone who has ever had to submit a business case for a project, or wants to better understand/articulate the value of their work/project/campaign/ad/product/idea.....

Some sections get a bit heavy on math. It's best to push through
Jun 29, 2014 Rob rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: management
A colleague of mine from work had the 2nd edition of this book sitting on his shelf. After thumbing through it for a bit I borrowed it and am so happy I did! There are so many “Aha” moments in the book that directly relate to my own work, that I waited for the 3rd edition to come out, purchased it, and read it cover to cover.

Hubbard starts with shattering the myth that some things just can’t be measured (if it can be observed, it can be measured), then goes on to give methodology with understand
Drew Weatherton
Sep 13, 2016 Drew Weatherton rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed the beginning of the book where Hubbard talked about the general strategies he uses to measure things and the details of his argument that anything can be measured (i.e. the uncertainty associated with an outcome can be reduced). I wasn't prepared for the incredible detail Hubbard went into with how to use Excel to assist in measurements and analysis. I'm, thankfully, well versed in this area so I didn't need to pay particularly close attention to this section but I wish Hubbard ...more
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“If a measurement matters at all, it is because it must have some conceivable effect on decisions and behaviour. If we can't identify a decision that could be affected by a proposed measurement and how it could change those decisions, then the measurement simply has no value” 7 likes
“When you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meager and unsatisfactory kind; it may be the beginning of knowledge, but you have scarcely in your thoughts advanced to the state of science. —Lord Kelvin (1824–1907),” 1 likes
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