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Robert Rubin Quotes

Robert Edward Rubin

Robert Rubin quotes: on making decisions, weighing risk versus reward, purpose over profit, and more.

“I promise not to flood you with words. Whether I leave you with a drop of wisdom is for you to judge.”

“A truly probabilistic view of life quickly leads to the recognition that almost all significant issues are enormously complex and demand that one delve into those complexities to identify the relevant considerations and the inevitable trade-offs.”

“The key is to continue to focus on the challenges that lie ahead, to continue to remain deeply engaged.”

“You need to have a certain discipline.”

“In the complex world of today, decision-making has become ever more difficult, but the fundamentals of decision-making have remained the same. And, one lesson I can draw from my life is that effective decision-making is the key to almost everything you will do.”

“Decisions tend to be judged solely on the results they produce. But I believe the right test should focus heavily on the quality of the decision-making itself.”

“It’s not that results don’t matter. They do. But judging solely on results is a serious deterrent to taking the risks that may be necessary to making the right decision. Simply put, the way decisions are evaluated, affects the way decisions are made. I believe it would be a more effective job if judgments were based on the quality of decision making instead of focusing solely on outcomes.”

“Any individual decisions can be badly thought through, and yet be successful, or exceedingly well thought through, but be unsuccessful, because the recognized possibility of failure in fact occurs. But over time, more thoughtful decision-making will lead to better overall results, and more thoughtful decision-making can be encouraged by evaluating decisions on how well they were made rather than on outcome.”

“I have faced difficult decisions. But the lesson is always the same: good decision-making is the key to good outcomes. Reject absolute answers and recognize uncertainty. Weigh the probabilities. Don’t let uncertainty paralyze you. And evaluate decisions not just on the results, but on how they are made.”

“I believe that there are no absolutes. If there are no absolutes then all decisions become matters of judging the probability of different outcomes, and the costs and benefits of each. Then, on that basis, you can make a good decision.”

“Even the best decisions about intervention are probabilistic and run a real risk of failure, but the failure wouldn’t necessarily make the decision wrong.”

“First, the only certainty is that there is no certainty. Second, every decision, as a consequence, is a matter of weighing probabilities. Third, despite uncertainty we must decide and we must act. And lastly, we need to judge decisions not only on the results, but on how they were made.”

“A healthy respect for uncertainty, and focus on probability, drives you never to be satisfied with your conclusions. It keeps you moving forward to seek out more information, to question conventional thinking and to continually refine your judgments. And understanding that difference between certainty and likelihood can make all the difference. It might even save your job.”

“Some people are more certain of everything than I am of anything.”

“Be yourself. I have found in my life the only thing that I can be is me.”

“You need to be able to shrug your shoulders—become a little bit existential in outlook.”

“You have very different people with very different styles and very different approaches, leading in very different ways and getting very good results. Then you have somebody try to use somebody else’s style and get very bad results.”

“I try to get the best, smartest people around me that I can get. The fundamentals are to get the right person in the right place, have a strategy, and so forth, and you can bring the experience you have in so many different ways.”

“I think the right thing to do is find your footing substantively and know who you are substantively. Because then you’re grounded in what you believe in and you’re much more strongly positioned to deal with all the pressures.”

“I think you need to think of ways to try to be honest about things, speak honestly about things that people don’t want to hear honest comments about. At the same time, you don’t want to be suicidal.”

“Take an active role.”

“You have to make some compromises. You do it because you’re doing it for the greater purpose of getting done what you want.”

“You know where you stand, and I think that’s very important, not only in an obvious substantive sense, but I think in terms of maintaining your balance and being effective.”

“In a world without provable truths, the only way to refine the probabilities that remain is through greater knowledge and understanding.”

“The tendency to go to excess seems to stem from something inherent in human nature, as does the remarkable failure to draw lessons from past experience.”

“The pursuit of fewer errors is sensible; the insistence on none at all, counterproductive.”

“Inner needs drive external accomplishments but can never be satisfied by those external accomplishments. Which is merely to say that, for some people, the inability to be satisfied is a chronic condition.”

“I think there is more work to do, and we simply have to all work together and do everything we can to get it done.”

“Business today is conducted largely without borders.”

“I don’t have a distaste for ambiguity. In fact, ambiguity is what I think life is all about.”

“The only place people find fulfillment is within themselves. And too often, that’s the last place they look.”

“Once you’ve internalized the concept that you can’t prove anything in absolute terms, life becomes all the more about odds, chances and trade-offs.”

“By continuing to build on this foundation throughout your life, you will be well prepared for the great opportunities and challenges of the new century.”

“I took a $26 million pay cut to join the fledgling administration to be head of the new National Economic Council. For a long, long time, I had thought it would be extraordinarily interesting to see what the world looked like from inside a White House, assuming that one had a reasonable job and an effective relationship with the President. And I also cared enormously about the issues. When this opportunity came along, it brought those two things together, and so, for me, there was never any question about doing it.”

“I’ve got 11 fly rods and a lot of unread books.”

Cory Johnson: CEO of a business he has yet to launch. As seen on your mom’s phone. Scaled to 7-figures in seven seconds selling a course on selling courses. Kidding. Watch this.