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Rus Slater

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what is your favourite ‘Statistic’ ……? (Prize offered)


I'm compiling a list of popular statistical "factoids" that are drawn from real studies (even if they are misquoted.)

I've got the 70/20/10 of Blooms Taxonomy

and the

7/38/55 of Mehrabian's work

but what others do we find really useful int he training room?

What is your favourite?

A free copy of my latest book to anyone who can quote and link to a genuine study I'm not yet aware of!

Rus Slater

8 Responses

  1. Reagan economics: 50/50/50

    Reagan economics: 50/50/50

    50% of our national income must go on social welfare, 50% on defence spending and the third 50% on capital infrastructure.

    on a more serious note: 

    Pareto Analysis and the 80:20 rule.






  2. My favourite misquoted statistic

    My favourite misquoted statistic is the belief that short-term memory is a fixed quality. The 1956 research paper by psychologist George Miller, called “The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two,” established the rule that human short-term memory was limited to seven pieces of independent information (and gave The Bell Telephone Company cause to settle on seven-digit phone numbers). The limit was called channel capacity,
    During the 1970’s Ericsson showed that the existing model of short-term memory was wrong. Memory wasn’t like shoe size—it could be improved through training and practice to develop structures of memory.
    Excellence is a habit. —Aristotle
  3. My favorite..although not drawn from a real study…sorry!

    86% of statistics are made up on the spot..

  4. Statistical analysis

    A few more spurious ones…

    If you think you can or you think you cannot you are 100% correct, (Ford).

    I know that if I take no shots I will not score any goals, (Wayne Gretsky)

    50% of all marketing and advertising spend is useless – we just cannot tell which 50% it is…….. (anon)


  5. Another non-attributable one

    Great thread Rus.

    One I quote (but do not have any reference – can't even remember where I heard it first) is about the complaints. 

    Apparently, 80% of the complaints any organisation receives boils down to poor communication – either internally or communication with the customer. 

    If anyone knows where that came from I would be delighted to find out!


  6. Lies *** lies

    It's a statistical truth: Most people are below average. As a result, it takes less than you might think to move into the top group of performers.

    (Taken from Bill Murphy Jnr.)

  7. Nice ones

    Thanks to all for your contributions.

    I've selected Jules as the "winner" of the prize and I've PMed Jules so I can send her the book.

    Jenny, I strongly suspect that the stat you quote is hidden in one of the TARP reports, but don't quote me on that.

    Once again thanks to all


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Rus Slater


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