NPR's Robert Krulwich blogs about Johannes Kepler's arduous search for a second wife and explains a strategy that would, had the widower applied it, maximized the likelihood of his satisfaction.
While Kepler opted to interview (!) 11 women, Krulwich says he might have saved himself a handful of bad dates had he followed a strategy derived in the 1960s as a solution to "The Marriage Problem."
Here, in Krulwich's words, is how to select a spouse (or a secretary):
The best way to proceed is to interview (or date) the first 36.8 percent of the candidates. Don't hire (or marry) any of them, but as soon as you meet a candidate who's better than the best of that first group — that's the one you choose! Yes, the Very Best Candidate might show up in that first 36.8 percent — in which case you'll be stuck with second best, but still, if you like favorable odds, this is the best way to go.