Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. – E. F. Schumacher

I would not give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity, but I would give my right arm for the simplicity on the other side of complexity. – Oliver Wendell Holmes

These quotes frame the two siren calls that leaders must ignore as they navigate complex situations. They must avoid settling for either complexification or premature simplicity.


At this point I can no longer remember the when/where/why of my encountering this simple quote from the British statistician George Box. But the raucous cheering that erupted in the recesses of my brain still echoes. So much import across nine simple words:

All models are wrong, but some models are useful.

Of course the model/framework/typology/whatever has flaws and gaps. If it were completely aligned with reality, then it would be reality. But it's not. To quote the Pythons, “it's only a model”. And to insist that it be “right” in all conditions is just a silly attempt to evade dealing with the usefulness of the model in question for addressing the situation at hand.