Super Crunchers Why Thinking by Numbers Is the New Way to Be Smart [HC,2007] -

~~Moved from GR~~


Through extremely entertaining anecdotes and stories, Ayres provides a wonderful glimpse at some of the ways in which statistics and big data improve our ability to make intelligent decisions. Ayres tends to stay far away from the actual math or technical aspects and simply focuses on the concepts, making it a great read for anyone unfamiliar with probability, statistics, machine learning, and similar. For someone with some experience behind this, it was a little galling to hear, for example, linear regression described as an advanced machine learning technique that not only provided the answers, but provided the probability that the answer was correct (Heh. I wish life were that simple!).


However, I was quickly caught up in some of the wonderful real-world examples that Ayres deftly narrates. Some of the stories are absolutely inspiring, such as the way that Mexico used randomized trials to determine the best way of helping people achieve more and rise out of the welfare system, to the entertaining, such as the case in which fine wine aficionados had their noses put out of joint by a computer which could beat them at their own game. An overall brilliant book and a great read for anyone who wants to get a glimpse at the potential of big data.