Listen free for 30 days

Offer ends February 21st, 2024 11:59PM ET.
Pick 1 audiobook a month from our unmatched collection.
Listen all you want to thousands of included audiobooks, Originals, and podcasts.
Access exclusive sales and deals.
Premium Plus auto-renews for $14.95/mo + applicable taxes after 4 months. Cancel anytime.
Pick 1 audiobook a month from our unmatched collection.
Listen all you want to thousands of included audiobooks, Originals, and podcasts.
Access exclusive sales and deals.
Premium Plus auto-renews for $14.95/mo + applicable taxes after 30 days. Cancel anytime.
The Tyranny of Metrics cover art

The Tyranny of Metrics

Written by: Jerry Z. Muller
Narrated by: Matthew Josdal
Get this deal Try for $0.00

$14.95/mo. after 4 months. Cancel anytime. Offer ends February 21st, 2024 11:59PM ET.

$14.95 per month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Buy Now for $17.53

Buy Now for $17.53

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Tax where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

How the obsession with quantifying human performance threatens our schools, medical care, businesses, and government

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. 

Along the way, we learn why paying for measured performance doesn't work, why surgical scorecards may increase deaths, and much more. But metrics can be good when used as a complement to - rather than a replacement for - judgment based on personal experience, and Muller also gives examples of when metrics have been beneficial. Complete with a checklist of when and how to use metrics, The Tyranny of Metrics is an essential corrective to a rarely questioned trend that increasingly affects us all.

©2018 Princeton University Press (P)2018 Tantor

What listeners say about The Tyranny of Metrics

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    7
  • 4 Stars
    3
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    4
  • 4 Stars
    5
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    2
Story
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    6
  • 4 Stars
    4
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

unable to finish this book, narrator is horribe

I can't listen to this robotic voice for another minute, I will have to return the book since I can't follow along for more than a minute at a time before my mind wanders away to anything and everything that might be remotely interesting. Awful...just awful.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Interesting subject matter - horribly presented.

Wonderful thought provoking and illuminating ideas. An excellent study! The jagged cadence and continual emphasis on the wrong words, however, made the audio version almost unbearable.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Brevity is the soul of wit

Muller not only made his point, he beat it to death with a sledgehammer. Matthew Josdal is a good narrator, though, so it was tolerable.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Tim Acker
  • Tim Acker
  • 2019-02-22

Opportunity Missed

Full disclosure: I'm a metrics evangelist. I listened to this book to challenge my world view. It did that. But having set up the perils of misapplying metrics, I was ready for the author to provide the principles of metrics properly applied along with examples of times when such applications made all the difference. Instead he pulled up short. Too bad. He could have titled the book, "Metrics - Don't Bother." Don't consume this book without also taking in something like,"Prove It" by Stacey Barr and "How to Measure Anything" by Doug Hubbard. Then make up your own mind.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 2020-12-20

Terrible narration

I've returned this title and will buy the Kindle version. I could not understand the narrator because his emphasis was so strange. I didn't know where a sentence began and ended.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Brian K. Sohn
  • Brian K. Sohn
  • 2018-10-23

Managers, Politicians, Please Read This!

As Muller says, there's nothing new here except for his cross-disciplinary compiling of how the use of metrics, accountability, and transparency are fulfilling Illich's promise that institutions eventually grow to a point where they counteract their original purpose. His use of tyranny is no exaggeration. Beginning with the personal story of how metrics ruined his work as a university department head, he follows the line through policing, medicine, schooling, and politics.

In my dream world, I could dump the information contained in this book into the heads of all the managers and politicians out there to counteract the terrible zeitgeist of measurement as the tool of bureaucratic decentralization.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for David Ingram
  • David Ingram
  • 2023-03-19

An incomplete perspective

This book is coming to the field from the direction of the social sciences. It is the area where our metrics have the most problems. So, it is understandable for the author to assume the same problems across the rest of the field. The first chapter in the last chapter have a lot of value. the rest of the book makes an incomplete case in various domains. The weakest, of course, is in the area of business and finance. It is clear these areas are not the authors forte.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Shannon L Stewart
  • Shannon L Stewart
  • 2019-07-30

Great book and information - narration is a bit robotic

Great book and information - narration is a bit robotic, though. Verified a lot of gut feelings I had about the problems with metrics.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Theo
  • Theo
  • 2019-03-13

Good book, Mediocre reading

Josdal uses the British pronunciation of the word "organization" (organ EYES ation) for some reason - and the word appears very often. As far as I remember, that's the only "British-ism", and he certainly doesn't have a British accent, so it is somewhat jarring. But that's not the worst. He has an uncanny knack for vocally emphasizing the wrong words and pausing in odd places. This is hard to capture in print, so I won't bother to try; but I found it disconcerting.

As to the book itself, I found it quite compelling. As someone with a technical background, I find myself relying on and advocating for the use of quantitative methods frequently, so I was prepared to find fault with Muller's thesis. However, I will say that a more descriptive if less catchy title might have been, "The Tyranny of the Misuse of Metrics". The last chapter is a (too) brief description of what makes a good metric, and how to their misuse. I wish those ideas had been sprinkled more throughout the earlier sections, and not just relegated to the end. But if this is subject you care about, this book is worth reading.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for LouLou's
  • LouLou's
  • 2023-11-29

Unnecessary political viewpoints!!!

After 40+ years in the manufacturing industry, I was in total agreement with the author until he dissed the efforts of Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning, and Edward Snowden to expose the illegal activities of the US government. OMG, so unnecessary to back up the content of this book. Big thumbs down!

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Marisol Becerra
  • Marisol Becerra
  • 2023-04-27

great insight

really describes the modern corporate world perfectly. great read, highly suggested if you want to understand why beauracracy controls the work place

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Mike Christensen
  • Mike Christensen
  • 2022-03-14

Oddly Incurious

There is a value in the core mission statement of this book - to debunk our over-reliance on metrics and statistics to make decisions in lieu of trusting properly informed experts. In this regard, the book is successful and should earn 5 stars.

However, I have to dock points for a few reasons.

One, he’s strangely incurious about the presence, causes, or solutions to other factors that don’t involve metrics. And two, he generally treats metric culture as a recent development. Both of these fall short when he presents a few scenarios that involve citing data that is flawed due to hundred-year-old biases or other systemic issues.

Because of that, more than once he presents the idea that people of different races have different outcomes but completely fails to acknowledge that this is due to other, larger issues.

Which leads to a moment where a doctor he cites casually implied that POC suffer from a higher rate of infant mortality due to potential genetic differences and the author does not call him out for being racist or citing hundred-year-old pseudo science.

So yeah I have to dock a few stars for that.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Roudy
  • Roudy
  • 2022-03-13

One of the best book I have ever read

The tone and pitch of the voice, the believability of the reader, the accents, and the overall pleasing sound of the voice kept me captivated. Now I know the meaning and the fondamental of metrics. This book is a great gift to give to a teacher, doctor or preceptor.I will read this book again!

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for David Pasternak
  • David Pasternak
  • 2021-05-04

Illuminating

Concise and erudite. Show the problems with great context and in many situations. Have the benefit of not being another "5 steps to success", just a study, that acknoledge the good and the bad, given a current goal. The title can be misleading : it's not an attack on metrics, but on metrics used without good method.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!