Herbert Simon 100 today: the eyes have it

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One of my greatest acdemic heroes, the polymath Herbert Simon, would have been 100 today. In addition to his transformational contributions to economics, psychology, computer science and organisation theory, you can find rare gems in his autobiography. Here’s one of my favourites:

“As [Jacob Marschak] had assembled a spectacular group of stars in the Cowles Commission, I asked him what qualities he looked for in selecting staff. “Oh,” said he, “I pick people with good eyes.” I stared at him. Good eyes, what could he mean? I told him he was joking, but he insisted: He looked at their eyes.” And then I began thinking of the clear dark Armenian eyes of Arrow, the cool blue Frisian eyes of Koopmans, and the sharp black Roman eyes of Modigliani. It was certainly true that they all had remarkable eyes. Ever since, I think I have included that among my own selection criteria; intelligence shines through the eyes.”

 

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