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

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  551 ratings  ·  58 reviews
A revealing look at the power of measurement in business and the world at large, this book asserts that there are no actual 'intangibles' and that virtually any business quality can be measured.
Hardcover, 287 pages
Published July 1st 2007 by John Wiley & Sons
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Collaborative Intelligence by J. Richard HackmanHow to Measure Anything by Douglas W. HubbardA Tradecraft Primer by United StatesExpert Political Judgment by Philip E. TetlockPsychology of Intelligence Analysis by Richard J. Heuer Jr.
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Takuro Ishikawa
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.
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
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...more
Martin Klubeck
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...more
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...more
Jeff Yoak
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,...more
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
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
A very important book, especially if you are a person who is having trouble putting a measure into functions you would normally consider unmeasurable. This understanding is pivotal if you want to create solid KPIs and/or go crazy on the details of a valuation. It is a mindset that we should all be aware of; Everyone should know that everything can be measured, you just have to find the right measure.
Daniel Carlson
Measuring is all about reducing uncertainty.

I enjoyed this book, even though it has much jargon about statistics and formulas, mainly because it helped change my presuppositions about measurements.

This book has some good concepts about measuring that anyone can benefit from; it also has more in depth explanations for those who want to really dig deep.

If you listen to this book don't forget to download the charts and graphs to look at.

Joseph Santiago
This book was one of the best written books on applying measurement to the workplace and life in a variety of settings. The bonus excel documents allow you to quickly do the exercises that are gone over in this book and utilize them to do data collection simply. This book starts with a challenge that dares you to find something that cannot be measured and have rough or specific value. I picked quantifying motivation for change. This book allowed me to come up with that measure and more. This was...more
Nathanael (Boehm) 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
Scott Harris
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...more
Sam Motes
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
Dan Just
Outstanding resource for professionals and laymen alike. He cuts through a lot of the haze and effectively explains abstract concepts. Every point is based on solid research and anyone who reads this book carefully will have to accept his key points: we can learn how to quantify our own uncertainty, that uncertainty can be modeled in decision analysis, the reduction of uncertainty has a value, and there is almost always an observation that can economically reduce the uncertainty. Even profession...more
Mathieu Lalonde
It will change how you think about measuring problems.
Not well-written, but some good stuff, including calibration tests and a how-to for running Monte Carlo simulations.
Emily Leathers
Apr 21, 2014 Emily Leathers is currently reading it
Sfpl, need to change edition
Jessica Buike
This was a required textbook in a research methods course that I took for my Master's degree. I found it to be quite a bit dry, and not as helpful as I was hoping. I was hoping it would help to break down the world of statistics a little more, but it felt mostly full of over-complicated scenarios and difficult language. I am sure that had I picked this up in an attempt to read outside of the classroom environment that I would not have made it past more than the first couple of chapters before mo...more
Provides a range of useful ways to estimate quantities. More generally, it gives a good idea on how to reason statistically about the world.

Some sections are lighter than others; for example the chapter on Bayes does not really do justice to how useful this is. Most useful to me are were the simple rules of thumb, for example how to estimate the median with a 90% confidence interval with just a couple of measurements.
Very good points: any knowledge is better than no knowledge. Hubbard abuses statistics. I'm not sure the concept of the "calibrated estimator" is trustworthy (Kahneman and Tversky would have issues with this). He regularly confuses significance and power in his "more rigorous" applications of statistics, and equating the "calibrated estimate" "confidence interval" with a t-test (or 2 standard deviations) is absolute BS.
Doug Lautzenheiser
Douglas Hubbard provides an excellent layperson's overview of business statistics and analytics. The first half of the book is great; I skimmed through the second half that seemed to be "oh, by the way" topics.

Hubbard is able to take the dreaded college Stats 101 course and cover the material simply in a way that explains "why" we do it without focusing on the scary mathematical "how."
Interesting book, I can't really comment on the technicalities as I don't feel qualified to do so. From what I recall, it does seem to assume that all distributions are normal, but that may or may not be valid. I wrote a bit of R for the Monte Carlo simulation example in the book - it is available here
Igoris Azanovas
A really good book, which is quite hard to read, but very good to know. After reading i always try measuring my time to completion in intervals instead of only one exact date, which made me more reliable.
Although i really disliked questions on geographical locations, because i'm in Europe. That gave me hard times.
monte carlo explained well for beginners
Dec 09, 2009 Kc rated it 4 of 5 stars
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.
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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” 5 likes
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