… uncertainty in measurement is even more problematic when the quantity being measured is subjective.
p. 130

… if [a subjective quantity] truly admits of some measure of quality that can be summarized by a number, a theory of measurement must address two key issues: How do we determain that number from a series of varying measurements? And given a limited set of measurements, how can we assess the probability that our determination is correct?
p. 134

psychologists have found that the ability to persist in the face of obstacles is at least as important a factor in success as talent.
p. 161

the deterministic view… in which it is mainly the intrinsic qualities of the person or the product that governs success… a nondeterministic view… many high-quality but unknown books, singers, actors… what makes one or another come to stand out is… a conspiracy of random and minor factors… luck

The normal accident theory of life shows not that the connection between actions and rewards is random but that random influences are as important as our qualities and actions.
p. 209

…ability does not guarantee achievement, nor is achievement proportional to ability… it is important to… keep in mind the other term in the equation… the role of chance.
p. 217

The Drunkard’s Walk, Leonard Mlodinow, 2008


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