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How to Measure Anything: Finding the Value of Intangibles in Business [Kindle Edition]

Douglas W. Hubbard
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Now updated with new measurement methods and new examples,How to Measure Anything shows managers how to informthemselves in order to make less risky, more profitable businessdecisions

This insightful and eloquent book will show you how to measurethose things in your own business, government agency or otherorganization that, until now, you may have considered"immeasurable," including customer satisfaction, organizationalflexibility, technology risk, and technology ROI.

  • Adds new measurement methods, showing how they can be appliedto a variety of areas such as risk management and customersatisfaction
  • Simplifies overall content while still making the moretechnical applications available to those readers who want to digdeeper
  • Continues to boldly assert that any perception of"immeasurability" is based on certain popular misconceptions aboutmeasurement and measurement methods
  • Shows the common reasoning for calling something immeasurable,and sets out to correct those ideas
  • Offers practical methods for measuring a variety of"intangibles"
  • Provides an online database ( ofdownloadable, practical examples worked out in detailedspreadsheets

Written by recognized expert Douglas Hubbard—creator ofApplied Information Economics—How to Measure Anything,Third Edition illustrates how the author has used his approachacross various industries and how any problem, no matter howdifficult, ill defined, or uncertain can lend itself to measurementusing proven methods.

Product Description

From the Inside Flap

Anything can be measured. This bold assertion is the key tosolving many problems in business and life in general. The myththat certain things can t be measured is a significant drainon our nation s economy, public welfare, the environment, andeven national security. In fact, the chances are good that somepart of your life or your professional responsibilities is greatlyharmed by a lack of measurement by you, your firm, or evenyour government. Regardless of your role in business, understandingthe power of measurement will make you, those around you, and yourorganization more efficient and productive.

Using simple concepts to illustrate the hands–on application ofadvanced statistical techniques, How to Measure Anything, ThirdEdition reveals the power of measurement in our understandingof business and the world at large. This insightful and engagingbook shows you how to measure those things in your business thatyou may have previously considered immeasurable, including:customer satisfaction, organizational flexibility, technology ROI,and technology risk. Offering examples that will get you to attemptmeasurements even when it seems impossible this bookprovides you with the underlying knowledge and the necessary stepsfor measuring anything, especially uncertainty and risk. Thisrevised third edition provides even deeper insights into thefascinating practice of measuring intangibles, with a specialemphasis on risk management and customer satisfaction. New andupdated chapters also include:

  • A philosophical discussion of different approaches toprobabilities, including what is known as the Bayesian vs. frequentist interpretations of probability
  • Information compiled from other popular works and compellingarticles from Douglas W. Hubbard
  • Enlightening new examples of where seemingly impossiblemeasurements were resolved with surprisingly simple methods
  • More measurement myths and other perceived obstacles tomeasurement debunked

A complete and updated resource with real–world case studies andan easy–to–follow format, How to Measure Anything, ThirdEdition illustrates how author Douglas Hubbard creator ofApplied Information Economics has successfully applied hisapproach across various industries. You ll learn how anyproblem, no matter how difficult, ill–defined, or uncertain, canlend itself to measurement using proven methods. Straightforwardand accessible, this is the resource you ll turn to again andagain to measure the seemingly immeasurable.

From the Back Cover

Praise for the second edition of How to Measure Anything:Finding the Value of Intangibles inBusiness

How to Measure Anything was already my favoritebook (just ahead of Hubbard s second book, The Failure ofRisk Management) and one I actively promote to my students andcolleagues. But the Second Edition, improving on the alreadyexquisite first edition, is an achievement of its own. As aphysicist and economist, I applied these techniques in severalfields for several years. For the first time, somebody wrotetogether all these concerns on one canvas that is at the same timeaccessible to a broad audience and applicable by specialists. Thisbook is a must for students and experts in the field of analysis(in general) and decision–making.
Dr. JOHAN BRAET, University of Antwerp, Faculty ofApplied Economics, Risk Management and Innovation

Doug Hubbard s book is a marvelous tutorial on howto define sound metrics to justify and manage complex programs. Itis a must–read for anyone concerned about mitigating the risksinvolved with capital planning, investment decisions, and programmanagement.
JIM FLYZIK, former Government CIO, White House TechnologyAdvisor and CIO magazine Hall of Fame Inductee

Praise for the first edition The bestselling BusinessMath book two years in a row!

I love this book. Douglas Hubbard helps us create a pathto know the answer to almost any question, in business, in science,or in life . . . How to Measure Anything provides just thetools most of us need to measure anything better, to gain thatinsight, to make progress, and to succeed.
PETER TIPPETT, PhD, MD, Chief Technology Officer,CyberTrust, and inventor of the first antivirus software

Interestingly written and full of case studies and richexamples, Hubbard s book is a valuable resource for those whoroutinely make decisions involving uncertainty. This book isreadable and quite entertaining, and even those who considerthemselves averse to statistics may find it highlyapproachable.
Strategic Finance

This book is remarkable in its range of measurementapplications and its clarity of style. A must–read for everyprofessional who has ever exclaimed, Sure, that concept isimportant, but can we measure it?
Dr. JACK STENNER, cofounder and CEO of MetaMetrics,Inc.

Hubbard has made a career of finding ways to measurethings that other folks thought were immeasurable. Quality? Thevalue of telecommuting? The benefits of greater IT security? Publicimage? He says it can be done and without breaking the bank .. . If you d like to fare better in the project–approvalwars, take a look at this book.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 5211 KB
  • Print Length: 433 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1118539273
  • Publisher: Wiley; 3 edition (24 Feb. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #229,483 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Understand what you want from measurement 4 July 2014
By ChrisN
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is an easy to read book which makes you review basic conceptions on measuring and value, as well as some interesting facts. Useful for considering benefits from projects of any sort. Can be a bit repetitive but no complex maths so far; over half way and still keen to complete the book which is not always the case.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A special book with several weaknesses 20 Sept. 2014
By Aris
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Good points:
1) Sort of unique book and a very interesting subject. Usually the quantitative risk theme refers to finance/derivatives, but this one is broader and business oriented.
2) Gives you perspective. I certainly know more things after reading it.

1) Very wordy, tends to be almost philosophical occasionally.
2) Trying to be intuitive, it leaves out maths but occasionally assumes that the reader is aware of several specialist concepts. This is a structural contradiction (I come from a science and business background and still didn't know a number of them).
3) In contrast, it overanalyses easy and intuitive concepts.
4) Includes excel sheets and uses them heavily. The whole flow depends on them. Very excel oriented (for my taste, other people may like it).
5) Numerous references to the author's seminars, sometimes the book feels like a teaser.
6) Tables and figures in the Kindle book are not readable if you do not change your setup (orientation etc.)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.7 out of 5 stars  37 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Taming Uncertainty 15 April 2014
By P. A. Smith - Published on
As a professor of Risk Management and Insurance at the College of Charleston, I would like to heartily endorse Douglas Hubbard’s masterpiece, “How to Measure Anything.” Hubbard gave the old, consensus based world of risk consultants a good shake out with “The Failure of Risk Management.” I use that book in conjunction with How to Measure Anything to show business students how to come to terms with seeming intangibles. One of the hardest habits which we have drilled into our students from birth is to have an exact answer or remain silent. This absolutist mentality is broken when we demonstrate that measurement is really a reduction in uncertainty and that any such reduction can lead to huge cost savings. Add in that most businesses measure the least important things the most, and the most important things the least, and we come to understand why things went so wrong in 2008 despite the so-called “expert knowledge.” It is wonderful to watch the student’s lights come on as they realize and grasp the fact that nothing is intangible. I also use Hubbard’s work to show that persons who seem to magically tame randomness can become significant masters in their chosen business profession. It isn’t magic, it’s Hubbard!
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Practical Way to Make Better Business Decisions 24 Mar. 2014
By Theo Pierce - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
Doug Hubbard’s How to Measure Anything is an immensely useful tool for anyone looking to improve their business decision-making. For several decades, it has been a well-understood social science principle that quantitative models have several advantages over expert intuition (a topic that’s covered extensively in the book). The potential applications within the business world are vast, yet seriously underappreciated, and this book does as good a job as any for guiding a reader to their utilization.

The book advocates a method called Applied Information Economics, which is thoroughly explicated with example calculations and practical applications, such that a reader can practically become a practitioner on their own.

The third edition of How to Measure Anything is updated with considerably more example calculations, further improving the accessibility of the material. The section on Bayesian methods, for example, is as thorough as some introductory statistics textbooks on the calculations, but infinitely more accessible with real-world case examples and applications to commonly perpetrated myths (e.g., “Correlation is not evidence of causation”, Bayes’ Theorem tells us that it is!).
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth Updating Your Library 25 Mar. 2014
By David Ambrosius - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have purchased all three editions of How To Measure Anything. Each has been more insightful than the last. The newest downloads are also worth the time to visit the author's site. I still marvel at Hubbard's ability to measure what others have deemed impossible. The best thing is you do not have to be a mathematician to perceive and use Hubbard's concepts.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An updated classic 28 May 2014
By Aaron C. Brown - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
There is no doubt this is a great book and the current edition adds both philosophical depth and more subjective or intangible applications. These are important extensions, probably not enough to reread the book if you have read an earlier edition, but enough to justify the 30% additional length. It wouldn’t hurt in the next edition to start cutting some of the more dated parts.

There is, however, an important sense in which this book is deceptive. I fully agree with the author that careful quantitative analysis backed by empirical research and rigorous validation can improve decisions. However he does not emphasize the difficulty of doing this in large organizations. Most of his examples are unusual combinations of circumstances, and had his credibility as world-famous, outside, paid expert (okay, in the early examples he wasn’t so famous). And while the decisions are clearly improvements at the margin, they are a long way from global optima. I still believe the effort is worthwhile, partly because improvements at the margin can add up to the difference between organizational success and failure, and partly because of the positive effect of the example. But anyone reading this book and expecting to fix the world tomorrow will find that truth is very disruptive, and there are strong forces opposing disruption.

One specific issue is calibration. If you ask people for confidence intervals on things they don’t know, like Fermi’s famous number of piano tuners in Chicago, they tend to either underestimate their knowledge (“I have no idea”) or overestimate it (“90% confidence the answer is between 280 and 300”). The author is correct that most people can get calibrated with a little practice.

But this is calibration on average, and average is not what you need. Consider the problem of setting a point spread for a football game. It’s easy to calibrate it perfectly, set it to zero points and one team will win exactly half the time. Or set it to minus 3 points for every home team, and half the home teams will cover. If you used these to accept bets from the public, you’d get killed. The hard part of calibration is not just finding a rule that gives the right average results, but using all of your knowledge and still getting the right average results.

There is a psychological issue as well. The calibration training has no stakes other than pride. Calibrating with no stakes is like poker for play money. The game is a lot harder with the rent money on the table, facing an expert player with an equal stake. When people move from training to estimating important business parameters all kinds of behavioral biases will kick in, not to mention conflicted interests and even calculated deception. Mike Tyson may not be as smart as the author, but he was right that “everyone has a plan until they get hit.”

With an expert like the author to guide the process, I think these and other issues can be surmounted. But without that, I suspect most attempts to apply these ideas will collapse. Putting it another way, if you plan to use the material in this book in a large organization, be aware that knowing how is only the first easy step on a long and difficult journey. It’s worth doing, but mainly for the viral spread of ideas like quantification, measurement, validation and rationality; not because you have much chance of making significant direct improvements on decisions.

Even doing this yourself, without the constraints and conflicts of a large organization, it’s hard. In my experience, when you start thinking about anything interesting, you realize you’ve started with the wrong question. When you get the right question, you realize you’ve got the wrong data. The process of collecting the right data changes your fundamental view of the issue. Once you have the right view, you realize that your original application was wrong. If you can get through this process honestly, which is very difficult given psychological and social pressures to be consistent, you may have a valuable plan. Doing this with backers or partners can be much harder, and doing it in an established organization nearly impossible.

So I recommend this book, with the caveat that this stuff is harder than it sounds.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dense With Information But Also Accessible 30 April 2014
By Paul Cassel - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
`How to Measure Anything' is a dense, terrifically informative and innovative book with a slightly misleading name. The author claims, and does a good job of supporting the claim, that anything is measurable to a useful degree. That doesn't mean perfectly quantifiable but rather within the limits of being highly useful for decision making - especially business sorts of decisions.

Right at the start, we're given three examples of things which were measured that would have caused most folks to give up before they tried because they'd think these are unmeasurable items. The three things are the circumference of the Earth. While this is well known today, this was accurately determined by a fellow in ancient Greece who had almost no tools much less Google or an airplane to assist him. The next item was a problem Fermi gave his students in the 1930's - to determine the number of piano tuners in the Chicago area. The last item was the most intriguing. A nine year old girl, as a science project, determined that a particular medical procedure was ineffective. Her results were published in a prestigious medical journal when she was eleven years old.

The trick with each of these and the further examples in the book is that the people doing the measuring came up with ingenious solutions to the problems they faced. Once they defined the area to be measured, then they had the problem mostly knocked. For example, the little girl came up with a method which didn't use any clinical trials at all. Instead, she turned to an indirect measurement which proved well beyond any clinical trial, the uselessness of the procedure.
From this introduction, the author goes on to further guide the reader on various methods and procedures you can use to reduce measurement error often in areas we call `intangible'. By intangible, most of us mean `unmeasurable' which the author says doesn't exist. He does a good job of backing this claim up too.

The book is about as complete as you can wish for. By the time I was done reading it, I felt I'd learned as much as I needed to about the topic - a mark of a well done book. The discussion isn't terribly technical although it is statistics in action because a good deal of what we're dealing with is keeping the probability of an acceptable answer sufficiently high to rely on it. The only area I think a high school educated person comfortable with numbers may hit some rough going is a middle chapter on the Monte Carlo simulation and its derivatives. Even if this utterly passes a reader by, there is much more in the book than just this nor is this simulation needed to understand the concepts in the book.

The misleading aspect of the title is that just reading this book won't make you ingenious and many of the solutions to measuring the formerly unmeasurable are, frankly, products of quick, agile minds. At least you will know, when presented with a problem, that the solution does probably exist and you only need find it. Knowing there is a solution to be found makes finding it a good deal easier.

Along the way you'll learn of your own estimate error and biases and encounter interesting snippets which, sometimes, run counter to your intuition. For example, I thought `impossible' when told of the Rule of Five but the author, in a few words, proved it using simple math which made me feel as stupid as I once felt when I demanded that the Monte Hall Problem's solution be proved to me. I can be awfully dense sometimes.

Well, that's why books such as this have such usefulness to the world and why this one has earned a permanent place in my bookshelf. Highly recommended for business professionals and those who are just interested in the topic. Well worth the money and the time to absorb it.
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