Axioms #6: Occam’s Razor

3 Aug

William of Ockham (c. 1285–1349) formulated this principle in the 14th century and it has enormous importance to anyone engaged in the operation of large systems. He said, “Thou shall not multiply thy entities needlessly,” or more simply, in any pair of explanations one should favor the simpler. This is also called the Law of Parsimony, the philosophical and scientific rule that states that simple explanations should be preferred to more complex ones and that explanations of new phenomena should be based on what is already known.

Thoughtfully combining the Pareto Principle with Occam’s Razor allows leaders and managers with a powerful pair of tools for assessment, analysis and potential action. It permits pairs of comparisons and a criterion for evaluating the efficacy of each. Peter Drucker said, “It takes knowledge to transform data into information.” In a world where we often seem to be struggling with too much data and too little information this pair of axioms provides leaders with a simple and powerful tool to engage people and understand the results.

Does some of this sound a like the KISS principle?

For a more comprehensive discussion of Pareto and Occam”s tools with an actual example go to Analyzing key axioms for leadership in the Corridor Business Journal.

Beyond Luck is now an e-book on Amazon.  At $6.95 it’s a great deal.

One Response to “Axioms #6: Occam’s Razor”


  1. Pump Primer (a) « Managers Into Leaders - December 12, 2012

    […] 6, 4, 2, 1, 1, 1, 1 on an X – Y axis and you have a Pareto analysis.  Next week let’s look at and Pareto the second half of the analogy.  […]

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