An approximate answer

Sep 9, 2010

Far better an approximate answer to the right question, which is often vague, than an exact answer to the wrong question, which can always be made precise.

—John Tukey

3 Comments

  • I would add relative to what question or situation
    i would rather have the exact answer of:

    you must add 5lbs of salt and 1 teaspoon of sugar to your margarita mix to make it perfect than…

    the approximate answer of:
    if you move approximately 5 feet to the right you might miss the head on collision a few feet away

  • Chris Pudney September 9, 2010 at 8:31 pm

    Edward Tufte started an “Advice for effective analytical reasoning” thread with a (similar?) Tukey quote:

    “Be approximately right rather than exactly wrong.”

  • I think you mean “wrong question”, not “wrong quesiton”…
    And the point is still valid.

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