Why Thinking-By-Numbers is the New Way To Be Smart
By Ian Ayres
(Bantam, Paperback, 9780553384734, 320pp.)
Publication Date: August 26, 2008
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An international sensation—and still the talk of the relevant blogosphere—this Wall Street Journal and New York Times business bestseller examines the “power” in numbers. Today more than ever, number crunching affects your life in ways you might not even imagine. Intuition and experience are no longer enough to make the grade. In order to succeed—even survive—in our data-based world, you need to become statistically literate.
Cutting-edge organizations are already crunching increasingly larger databases to find the unseen connections among seemingly unconnected things to predict human behavior with staggeringly accurate results. From Internet sites like Google and Amazon that use filters to keep track of your tastes and your purchasing history, to insurance companies and government agencies that every day make decisions affecting your life, the brave new world of the super crunchers is happening right now. No one who wants to stay ahead of the curve should make another keystroke without reading Ian Ayres’s engrossing and enlightening book.
Ian Ayres ,an econometrician and lawyer, is the William K. Townsend Professor at Yale Law School, and a professor at Yale's School of Management. He is a regular commentator on public radio's Marketplace and a columnist for Forbes magazine. He is currently the editor of the Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, and has written eight books and more than a hundred articles.
"In the past, one could get by on intuition and experience. Times have changed. Today, the name of the game is data. Ian Ayres shows us how and why in this groundbreaking book Super Crunchers. Not only is it fun to read, it just may change the way you think."—Steven D. Levitt, author of Freakonomics
"Data-mining and statistical analysis have suddenly become cool.... Dissecting marketing, politics, and even sports, stuff this complex and important shouldn't be this much fun to read."—Wired
"[Ayres's] thesis is provocative: Complex statistical models could be used to market products more intelligently, craft better movies, and solve health-care problems—if only we could get past our statistics phobia."—Portfolio
"When statistics conflict with expert opinion, bet on statistics....Businesses, consumers, and governments are waking up to the power of analyzing enormous tracts of information."—Discover
"Super Crunchers shows that data-driven decisionmaking is not just revolutionizing baseball and business; it's changing the way that education policy, health care reimbursements, even tax regulations are crafted. Super Crunching is truly reinventing government. Politicians love to tout policy proposals, but they rarely come back and tell you which ones succeeded and which ones failed. Data-driven policy making forces government to ask the bottom line question of 'What works.' That's an approach we can all support."—John Podesta, President of the Center for American Progress
"A lively and yet rigorously careful account of the use of quantitative methods for analysis and decision-making.... Both social scientists and businessmen can profit from this book, while enjoying themselves in the process."—Dr. Kenneth Arrow, Nobel Prize winning economist, and Professor Emeritus at Stanford University
“Ayres’ point is that human beings put far too much faith in their intuition and would often be better off listening to the numbers.... The best stories in the book are about Ayres and other economists he knows, whether they are studying wine, the Supreme Court or jobless benefits.... Ayres himself is one of the [statistical] detectives. He has done fascinating research.”—The New York Times Book Review
"Ian Ayres [is] a law-and-economics guru."—Chronicle of Higher Education
“Lively and enjoyable.... Ayres skillfully demonstrates the importance that statistical literacy can play in our lives, especially now that technology permits it to occur on a scale never before imagined.... Edifying and entertaining."—Publishers Weekly
"Super Crunchers presents a convincing and disturbing vision of a future in which everyday decision-making is increasingly automated, and the role of human judgment restricted to providing input to formulae."—The Economist
"Insightful and delightful!" —Forbes