Decisions Accumulate

by Peter Saint-Andre


In a recent post entitled "How a Business Wins", Arnold Kling made the following observation:

Building a business, especially an innovative business in a complex environment, requires many, many decisions. You can be lucky with any one decision, but to get enough decisions right to make the business work takes much more than luck.

As hinted in my post "Compounding Wisdom" two years ago, this insight applies to more than just business. Your health, your marriage, your friendships, your financial stability, your character - long-term success in each of these requires many decisions over the course of many years.

The fundamental principle involved was identified by Aristotle 2400 years ago: we are what we habitually do. Therefore it's crucial to develop a consistent practice of good decision-making, which is what Aristotle called practical wisdom (in ancient Greek, φρόνησις). I've been giving a lot of thought to this topic of late and will have more to say about it in the coming weeks.

(Cross-posted at


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