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 1. Good decisions come from wisdom. Wisdom comes from experience. Experience come from bad decisions.

Anonymous. Forbes (August 10, 1987)


2. You must avoid the investigation trap-you can’t postpone tough decisions by studying them to death.

Percy Barnevik (b.1941) Swedish former C.E.O. of ABB. Harvard Business Review (March/April 1991)


3. We know what happens to people who stay in the middle of the road. They get run over.

Aneurin Bevan (1897-1960) British politician. Observer (London) (December 6, 1953)


4. DECIDE, v. i. To succumb to the preponderance of one set of influences over another set.

Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914?) U.S. journalist and writer. The Devil’s Dictionary (1906)


5. If we want people on the front lines of companies to be responsible for making good business decisions, they must have the same information that managers use to make good business decisions.

Kenneth Blanchard (b.1939) U.S. management theorist and author. The 3 Keys to Empowerment (co-written with John P. Carlos and Alan Randolph; 1999)


6. Every decision is liberating, even if it leads to disaster. Otherwise, why do so many people walk upright and with open eyes into their misfortune.

Elias Canetti (1905-94) British philosopher and writer. “1980,” The Secret Heart of the Clock: Notes, Aphorisms, Fragments 1973-85 (1991)


7. Knowing is different from doing and therefore theory must never be used as norms for a standard, but merely as aids to judgment.

Karl Von Clausewitz (1780-1831) Prussian general and military strategist. On War (1831)


8. Decisions of the kind the executive has to make are not made well by acclamation. They are made well only if based on the clash of conflicting views…The first rule in decision-making is that one does not make a decision unless there is disagreement.

Peter F. Drucker (b.1909) U.S. management consultant and academic. The Effective Executive (1967), ch. 7


9. We should never allow ourselves to be bullied by an either-or. There is often the possibility of something better than either of these two alternatives.

Mary Parker Follett (1868-1933) U.S. management thinker and author. Dynamic Administration (1941)


10. If businessmen always made the right decisions, business wouldn’t be business.

  1. Paul Getty (1892-1976) U.S. entrepreneur, oil industry executive, and financier. How to be Rich (1965)


11. You’ve got to take the bull by the teeth.

Samuel Goldwyn (1882-1974) U.S. producer. Quoted in Goldwyn (Arthur Marx; 1976)


12. A bad decision is when you know what to do and you don’t do it.

Duncan Goodhew (b.1957) British swimmer. Quoted in Treasury of Investment Wisdom (Bernice Cohen; 1999)


13. When it’s time to make a decision about a person or problem…trust your intuition…act.

Bud Hadfield (b.1923) U.S. entrepreneur and founder of Kwik Kopy. Wealth Within Reach: Winning Strategies for Success from the Unconventional Wisdom of Bud Hadfield (1995)


14. I believe that work is a combination of emotion and reason and you should never exclude how you feel from your decision-making process.

Tamara Ingram, British advertising executive. Quoted in Management Today (September 2001)


15. It’s an unbelievable responsibility to influence decisions, shareholder value and most important to me, people’s careers and livelihoods.

Andrea Jung (b.1958) U.S. president of Avon Products. “The 50 Most Powerful Women in American Business,” Fortune (Patricia Sellers and Cora Daniels; October 1999)


16. People who are making decisions about the future often don’t have access to some of the best ideas in the company, which may be at the periphery or at lower levels.

Rosabeth Moss Kanter (b.1943) U.S. management theorist, academic, and writer. Interview, Strategy + Business (July-September 1999)


17. Two basic values, autonomy and solidarity, serve as helpful prompters in any decision-making process.

Gyorgy Konrad (b.1933) Hungarian writer. The Melancholy of Rebirth (1995)


18. Business today is about making decisions amid ambiguity.

Geraldine Laybourne (b.1947) U.S. chairman of Oxygen Media. Quoted in “Next Stop-The 21st Century,” Fast Company (Lucy McCauley; 1999)


19. Now who is to decide between “Let it be” and “Force it?”

Katherine Mansfield (1888-1923) New Zealand short-story writer. The Journal of Katherine Mansfield (1927)


20. The velocity of decision making in government was extraordinary slow. It took 18 to 24 months and 15 to 20 trips to Delhi to get a license to import computers.

Narayana Murthy (b.1946) Indian founder and C.E.O. of Infosys. Forbes (June 2000)


21. Decision making by consensus has been the subject of a great deal of research…evidence strongly suggests that a consensus approach yields more creative decisions and more effective implementation than does individual decision making.

William Ouchi (b.1943) U.S. writer. Theory Z: How American Business Can Meet the Japanese Challenge (1981)


22. What is important is not the decision itself but rather how committed and informed people are. The “best” decisions can be bungled just as the “worst” decisions can work just fine.

William Ouchi (b.1943) U.S. writer. Theory Z: How American Business Can Meet the Japanese Challenge (1981)


23. In America, business is going on faith. They’re saying, hey this is for real and this is happening. I don’t have to analyze this. I’ve made a decision.

John A. Roth (b.1942) Canadian former president and C.E.O. of Nortel Networks Corporation. Sunday Times (London) (May 2000)


24. There is always a multitude of reasons both in favour of doing a thing and against doing it. The art of debate lies in presenting them; the art of life lies in neglecting ninety-nine hundreths of them.

Mark Rutherford (1831-1913) British novelist. More Pages from a Journal (1910)


25. A complex decision is like a great river, drawing from its many tributaries the innumerable premises of which it is constituted.

Herbert A. Simon (1916-2001) U.S. political scientist and economist. Administrative Behavior (1947)


26. Many individuals and organization units contribute to every large decision, and the very problem of centralization and decentralization is a problem of arranging the complex system into an effective scheme.

Herbert A. Simon (1916-2001) U.S. political scientist and economist. Administrative Behavior (1947)


27. Advisers advise and ministers decide.

Margaret Thatcher (b.1925) British former prime minister. Speech (October 1989)


28. I’ve learned one thing in politics. You don’t take a decision until you have to.

Margaret Thatcher (b.1925) British former prime minister. Quoted in Diaries (Alan Clark; 1994)


29. Nothing is impossible to those who act

After wise counsel and careful thought.

Tiruvalluvar (fl. 1st century) Indian poet. The Kural, 462


30. Once a decision was made, I did not worry about it afterward.

Harry S. Truman (1884-1972) U.S. president. Memoirs ()1955, vol. 2, ch. 1


31. When people agree with me I always feel that I must be wrong.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish writer and wit. “The Critic as Artist” (1890)


32. One cool judgment is worth a thousand hasty councils.

Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924) U.S. president. Speech (January 1916)