American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

Did You Know? Good Judgment Comes from Experience, but Experience … That Comes from Bad Judgment

“Good judgment comes from experience, but experience … that comes from bad judgment.” That phrase has been heard at many a morbidity and mortality conference. But its origin is not surgical. 

Writer and screenwriter Rita Mae Brown (born November 28, 1944) used the aphorism from time to time without claiming it, as did American cowboy Will Rogers (November 4, 1879–August 15, 1936), American author Mark Twain (November 30, 1836–April 21, 1910), and American computer scientist James Horning (August 24, 1942–January 18, 2013).

It was Horning who traced the clever admonition to Nasrudin, a mystic Sufi who was born in 1208 in what is now known as Turkey and who died in 1284.