W. Edward Deming Quotes from The New Economics

See our quote overview page for important background information and more quotes by Dr. Deming.

Quotes from:

The New Economics for Industry, Government, Education (2nd Edition)

There is no substitute for knowledge.

W. Edwards Deming, The New Economics, Page 2

It is easy to date an earthquake, but not an economic decline.

W. Edwards Deming, The New Economics, Page 5
Actual quote is “It is easy to date an earthquake, but not a decline.” (but economic decline is understood by the context.

Does the customer invent new product or service? The customer generates nothing. No customer asked for electric lights. There was gas and gas mantles, which gave good light. The first electric lights had carbon filaments. They were fragile and inefficient. No customer asked for photography. No customer asked for the telegraph, nor for a telephone. No customer asked for an automobile. We have horses: what could be better’? No customer asked for pneumatic tires. Tires are made of rubber. It is silly to think of riding on air. The first pneumatic tires in the United States were not good. The user had to carry with him rubber cement, plugs, and a pump, and know how to use them.

W. Edwards Deming, The New Economics, Page 7

The moral is that it is necessary to innovate, to predict needs of the customer, give him more. He that innovates and is lucky will take the market.

W. Edwards Deming, The New Economics, Page 10

No defects, no jobs. Absence of defects does not necessarily build business… Something more is required.

W. Edwards Deming, The New Economics, Page 10

To copy is to invite disaster.

W. Edwards Deming, The New Economics
Related quote: “American management thinks that they can just copy from Japan—but they don’t know what to copy!” from “If Japan Can… Why Can’t We?”, NBC white paper broadcast in 1980.

It is wrong to suppose that if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it – a costly myth.

W. Edwards Deming, The New Economics, Page 35

The aim proposed here for any organization is for everybody to gain – stockholders, employees, suppliers, customers, community, the environment – over the long term.

W. Edwards Deming, The New Economics, Page 51
also see blog post: When the organization is viewed as a system the inter-dependence of the stakeholders is appreciated

The System of Profound Knowledge provides a lens. It provides a new map of theory by which to understand and optimize that we work in, and thus to make a contribution to the whole country.

The New Economics, Page 94

A system must have an aim. Without an aim, there is no system.

W. Edwards Deming, The New Economics, Page 95-96

It is extension of application that discloses inadequacy of a theory, and need for revision, or even new theory. Again, without theory, there is nothing to revise. Without theory, experience has no meaning. Without theory, one has no questions to ask. Hence without theory, there is no learning.

W. Edwards Deming, The New Economics, Page 103

Information is not knowledge.

W. Edwards Deming, The New Economics, Page 106

As I use the term here, the job of a leader is to accomplish transformation of his organization. He possesses knowledge, personality, and persuasive power.

W. Edwards Deming, The New Economics, 116 (read more text from that page)