"It is not enough to do your best;
you must know what to do, and THEN do your best."
W. Edwards Deming
(1900-1993) American engineer, statistician, professor, author, lecturer
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Reader comments about this quote:
I guess in context, absolutely. Often, the knowledge of what to do is not really clear or available. I have tried court, petitioning legislators, educating government workers and worked at a grass roots level, all at the time - doing my best - to promote liberty while tyranny and despotism advance seemingly untouched. I have an engineer friend that is one of the most renown engineers in the field of building to withstand earthquakes. Speaking to him, he says what was 'known' in academia 30 years ago was largely incorrect (what did they really 'know'?). Those doing their best to promote immorality, anti-natural law / tyrannical government, poverty, pain and ignorance have known what they are doing; SO, is knowing what to do always required when doing your best?, Sometimes.
 -- Mike, Norwalk     
    Further, from another perspective:Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. (Calvin Coolidge) Again, in context, absolutely; to the broader application, not so much.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
  • 1
    He is not an individualist, that is for sure. His form of management, applied to central governmental rule, noted for his work in Japan after WW II, in their rebuild. An electrical engineer. Perhaps, I suspect, siding with Aristotle. Trusting in empirical activity. To do your best, want get the job done ! as an individual. Knowing what to do, without mastered skill, creates a substandard product. He was into mass control and production. As far as teaching goes, from a starting point, the statement bears one star. but stops there.
     -- Ronw13, Yachats Or     
    Knowing what one must do is the conundrum, isn't it. It should at least serve as a reminder that since we don't always know the right thing to do, we ought not force our ways upon others until we do -- or not at all. Revolution may tear down existing power structures, but without knowledge of the right, often another system of oppression simply replaces the old.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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