We reexamine the role of environmental variability in the evolution of life history strategies. We show that normally distributed deviations in the quality of the environment should lead to normally distributed deviations in the logarithm of year-to-year survival probabilities, which leads to interesting consequences for the evolution of annual and perennial strategies and reproductive effort. We also examine the effects of using differing criteria to determine the outcome of selection. Some predictions of previous theory are reversed, allowing distinctions between r and K theory and a theory based on variability. However, these distinctions require information about both the environment and the selection process not required by current theory.