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I have a friend who is shrewd in his business decisions: he often takes a painful step if it is overall cheaper than something that might feel morally satisfying but comes at higher cost. I want to compliment him on this attribute.

Joe, you are the king of..

  1. not throwing good money after bad.
  2. intelligent tradeoffs.
  3. shrewd decisions.
  4. cutting your losses.

I can't find any words that are artful and pleasing; any suggestions?

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closed as not a real question by MετάEd, cornbread ninja 麵包忍者, Fixee, Robusto, tchrist Feb 15 '13 at 13:51

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Are you specifically looking for alternatives to #1 and #4 (I'm not sure even they are really identical)? Or are they just examples of #2 and/or #3, which are quite broad categories? In short, what exact attribute or achievement do you want to describe? – FumbleFingers Feb 15 '13 at 2:01
The attribute is his quality of foregoing self-satisfaction in favor of saving money. There are a number of excellent alternatives offered below in the answers section, all of which are superior to my attempts above. – Fixee Feb 15 '13 at 5:41
up vote 5 down vote accepted

"Joe, you are the prince of pragmatism!"

Meaning he sees past his emotions and instincts, to make the most practical (and profitable) decisions for his business.

Maybe not the most genuine or sincere compliment but it does make you sound like a poet. Any good?

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"Cost/benefit analysis" fits my aim perfectly, but your (nearly) original phrase has an irresistible alliteration. – Fixee Feb 15 '13 at 5:43

In economics any unrecoverable money previously invested is known as a sunk cost and a rational economist knows that sunk costs, no matter how large, should not affect decisions on prospective (future) costs, but in practice people often fall prey to the sunk cost fallacy and wind up throwing good money after bad.

Therefore you could say:
Joe, you are clearly the master of sunk costs

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+1 Beat me to it. – Kit Z. Fox Feb 15 '13 at 3:04
Sunk cost, was on the tip of my tongue all day. Thanks – MatthewFord Jul 27 '15 at 22:11

The reason none of the words are artful or pleasing is because it's not flattering to be the "king" of minimizing losses in a failed situation.

Say, Jack, you're the king of handling rejection from a woman!

See what I mean?

It might be better to say, "Joe, you're {not one / ever so wise not} to throw good money after bad." Don't crown Joe ruler of a whole kingdom of predicaments.

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In the situation you describe (as opposed to your stabs at phrasing), Joe is depicted as foregoing moral gain in order to realize fiscal gain.

Joe, you are the King of Cost/Benefit Analysis seems suitably ambiguous.

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Although I think I asked my question poorly, this is exactly what I was looking for. – Fixee Feb 15 '13 at 5:42
Passable, but I doubt that'll ever overtake master of the bottom line as the "standard" epithet. – FumbleFingers Feb 15 '13 at 14:25
@FumbleFingers Yah, but I think mine's snarkier. – StoneyB Mar 8 '13 at 13:37

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