The Tyranny of Metrics

  • 5h 23m
  • Jerry Z. Muller
  • Recorded Books, Inc.
  • 2018

Today, organizations of all kinds are ruled by the belief that the path to success is quantifying human performance, publicizing the results, and dividing up the rewards based on the numbers. But in our zeal to instill the evaluation process with scientific rigor, we've gone from measuring performance to fixating on measuring itself. The result is a tyranny of metrics that threatens the quality of our lives and most important institutions.

In this timely and powerful book, Jerry Muller uncovers the damage our obsession with metrics is causing and shows how we can begin to fix the problem. Filled with examples from education, medicine, business and finance, government, the police and military, and philanthropy and foreign aid, this brief and accessible book explains why the seemingly irresistible pressure to quantify performance distorts and distracts, whether by encouraging "gaming the stats" or "teaching to the test". That's because what can and does get measured is not always worth measuring, may not be what we really want to know, and may draw effort away from the things we care about.

In this Audiobook

  • 1 The Argument in a Nutshell
  • 2 Recurring Flaws
  • 3 The Origins of Measuring and Paying for Performance
  • 4 Why Metrics Became So Popular
  • 5 Principals, Agents, and Motivation
  • 6 Philosophical Critiques
  • 7 Colleges and Universities
  • 8 Schools
  • 9 Medicine
  • 10 Policing
  • 11 The Military
  • 12 Business and Finance
  • 13 Philanthropy and Foreign Aid
  • 14 When Transparency Is the Enemy of Performance: Politics, Diplomacy, Intelligence, and Marriage
  • 15 Unintended but Predictable Negative Consequences
  • 16 When and How to Use Metrics: A Checklist