Super Crunchers: Why Thinking-By-Numbers Is the New Way to Be Smart

Super Crunchers: Why Thinking-By-Numbers Is the New Way to Be Smart

Author:

Hardcover, Pages: 260

Genres: Nonfiction, Business, Economics, Science

Language: English

Reads: 220

Downloads: 9822

Rating: Rated: 5481 timesRate It

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Book Description

Why would a casino try and stop you from losing? How can a mathematical formula find your future spouse? Would you know if a statistical analysis blackballed you from a job you wanted?Today, number crunching affects your life in ways you might never imagine. In this lively and groundbreaking new book, economist Ian Ayres shows how todays best and brightest organizations are analyzing massive databases at lightening speed to provide greater insights into human behavior. They are the Super Crunchers. From internet sites like Google and Amazon that know your tastes better than you do, to a physicians diagnosis and your childs education, to boardrooms and government agencies, this new breed of decision makers are calling the shots. And they are delivering staggeringly accurate results. How can a football coach evaluate a player without ever seeing him play? Want to know whether the price of an airline ticket will go up or down before you buy? How can a formula outpredict wine experts in determining the best vintages? Super crunchers have the answers. In this brave new world of equation versus expertise, Ayres shows us the benefits and risks, who loses and who wins, and how super crunching can be used to help, not manipulate us.Gone are the days of solely relying on intuition to make decisions. No businessperson, consumer, or student who wants to stay ahead of the curve should make another keystroke without reading Super Crunchers.

Reviews
  •    Voodoobei Hitten
    2020
    An older book that I had wanted to read for awhile. Provides a good overview of the increasing significance of numbers in our day-to-day lives and the importance, as the future rolls forward, of being able to “crunch” those numbers to better understand the world around us. The book starts off in detail with, and steadily contributes throughout, a long list of situations and events which underscore the importance of quantitative thinking in the modern US society, let alone the increasingly connected world as a whole. The author then demonstrates how humans need not be captives of these numbers but can instead retain positive control. The importance of having a quantitative understanding coupled with a qualitative mindset is emphasized again and again. The author makes the strong case that it is not so important to be educated on the minutiae of data analysis methods or statistical research. Instead, having a broad acceptance of the quantitative environment in which we live and an understanding of numbers as a foundation of most aspects of life will provide continued success to future citizens. I was immediately motivated after reading this book to reiterate the importance of Mean and Standard Deviations to my kids. Highly recommended for those wanting to better understand the relationship between quantitative and qualitative thinking.
    Reply
  •    Doran Herbault
    2020
    Throughout this book, the author keeps trying to make the phrase "Super Cruncher/ing/ed" happen. I kept thinking back to the character in Mean Girls that said, "Gretchen, stop trying to make 'fetch' happen. It's not going to happen."

    It gets distracting. And annoying. It doesn't help that it sounds like a breakfast cereal. In the end, it becomes a little embarrassing.

    (To be fair, the author notes that he "super crunched" the title -- he ran multiple titles through some regression testing to see which one would perform better.)

    Aside from that, the book is okay. It's very Malcolm Gladwell-esque in that it's a series of anecdotes about how data analysis ("Big Data") is changing everything. A lot of the stories were admittedly interesting, but I struggle to figure out the audience for the book. This is not a detailed, instructional book, so was the author just trying to let people know that this stuff happens?

    In the end, am I at all better for having read it? Probably not, but I've read this stuff before, so it wasn't new to me. If you've never heard of any of this, you might be fascinated. I recommend:

    "Big Data"
    />
    "Automate This: How Algorithms Came to Rule Our World"
    />
    But, of course, both of those books are the same thing -- lots of anecdotes, presumably meant to prove a vague point.

    The afterword of the book (from the paperback edition, I'm assuming) is a mess. The author starts talking about his weight loss and some bet he made, which doesn't seem to have anything to do with the rest of the book. Then he appears to start making a sales pitch for his own web startup.
    Reply

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