My assignment involved two tasks: first, to figure out whether there were personality dimensions that mattered more in some combat jobs than in others, and then to develop interviewing guidelines that would identify those dimensions. To perform the first task, I visited units of infantry, artillery, armor, and others, and collected global evaluations of the performance of the soldiers in each unit, as well as ratings on several personality dimensions. It was a hopeless task, but I didn't realize that then. Instead, spending weeks and months on complex analyses using a manual Monroe calculator with a rather iffy handle, I invented a statistical technique for the analysis of multi-attribute heteroscedastic data, which I used to produce a complex description of the psychological requirements of the various units. I was capitalizing on chance, but the technique had enough charm for one of my graduate-school teachers, the eminent personnel psychologist Edwin Ghiselli, to write it up in what became my first published article. This was the beginning of a lifelong interest in the statistics of prediction and description.
Drawing on facts and real-life experience, we recommend policies designed to improve the quality of people's lives. We work with business, through the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD ( BIAC ), and with labour, through the Trade Union Advisory Committee ( TUAC ). We have active contacts as well with other civil society organisations. The common thread of our work is a shared commitment to market economies backed by democratic institutions and focused on the wellbeing of all citizens. Along the way, we also set out to make life harder for the terrorists, tax dodgers, crooked businessmen and others whose actions undermine a fair and open society.