Strong opinions, weakly held

2006/07/20 at 13:43

Today, I ran across Bob Sutton’s blog, Work Matters. Just up my alley: he shares lots of practical applications of some fairly esoteric ideas. I found Bob’s blog via this post: Strong Opinions, Weakly Held. In it, Bob shares this insight:

A couple years ago, I was talking the Palo Alto’s Institute for the Future’s Bob Johansen about wisdom, and he explained that – to deal with an uncertain future and still move forward – they advise people to have “strong opinions, which are weakly held.” They’ve been giving this advice for years, and I understand that it was first developed by Instituite Director Paul Saffo. Bob explained that weak opinions are problematic because people aren’t inspired to develop the best arguments possible for them, or to put forth the energy required to test them. Bob explained that it was just as important, however, to not be too attached to what you believe because, otherwise, it undermines your ability to “see” and “hear” evidence that clashes with your opinions.

That’s an eloquent description that I find ever so sensible. I do indeed have strong opinions, and like my friend Rafe Colburn, I like to think my opinions are based on well considered evidence, and that I’m willing to change my opinions in light of new evidence.