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Numbers Rule Your World: The Hidden Influence of Probabilities and Statistics on Everything You Do
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Numbers Rule Your World: The Hidden Influence of Probabilities and Statistics on Everything You Do

3.46  ·  Rating Details  ·  710 Ratings  ·  57 Reviews

How long will your kids wait in line at Disney World?

Who decides that standardized tests are fair?

Why do highway engineers build slow-moving ramps?

What does it mean, statistically, to be an Average Joe ?

NUMBERS RULE YOUR WORLD In the popular tradition of eye-opening bestsellers like Freakonomics, The Tipping Point, and Super Crunche
ebook, 224 pages
Published February 19th 2010 by McGraw-Hill Education (first published January 25th 2010)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Chris Lynch
A fine little discussion of the impact of statistics on our everyday lives, in the tradition of Freakonomics. If I were asked to pick an alternative and more cynical title for this, it might be 'The Foolishness of Crowds' as Kaiser Fung offers a number of excellent examples of public perception being at odds with the reality revealed by statistics. Give people the feeling of being in control and they tend to see everything through rose-tinted glasses even though they may actually be better off s ...more
Dec 11, 2009 Julia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You don't need to be a "numbers person" (read: geek) to enjoy the fantasic and mind-boggling things some really smart people do with them. Fung manages to make the book an entertaining and speedy read while still boggling your mind with the secret statistics behind life's regular events.

And more importantly, this book could finally put the lottery debate to bed once and for all. Meaning, yes - it is silly to waste money on lotto tickets because the chances of winning or so, so slim.
Aug 15, 2012 Remo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Libro muy, muy interesante en el que en cuatro grandes bloques el autor analiza los usos cotidianos de la estadística, más allá de lo que solemos saber. La estadística se usa cuando aparece un brote epidemiológico, cuando diseñas análisis de dopaje, o exámenes de polígrafo, cuando intentas minimizar los tiempos percibidos por los visitantes de Disneylandia o los viajeros de una red de autopistas, o cuando intentas diseñar un examen tipo test que no discrimine a los estudiantes según su origen. E ...more
Apr 19, 2010 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have to say that I thought this "pop statistics" book was much better than others I have previously read (Super Crunchers and the Freakonomics series). (Disclaimer: I have read Kaiser Fung's blog Junk Charts for a few years, so I was predisposed to think positively of his book.)

I found this book to be less into the sensational aspects of using data to make decisions and more about the challenges of doing so. Also, it explored the fact that context makes a difference. Each chapter was set up to
Sean Goh
May 04, 2016 Sean Goh rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
Long queues form because services cannot be stockpiled, customers have to be served as and when they arrive. The variability in arrival times plus the fixed service capacity = long queues (RE6006 yo)

Statistics works by showing (likely) causation and correlation.

For meaningful comparisons group differences have to be accounted for. E.g. compare the performance of high-performers for different racial groups, rather than the entire lumped group (which may have different proportions).

Statistics can
Atman A. Pandya
May 17, 2016 Atman A. Pandya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book started out a bit slow but after powering through the first few pages I was hooked (for the most part). The author takes an in-depth look on the enormous thought and decades of research that has gone into designing certain parts of our life that most of us take for granted.

Each chapter takes a particular theme and looks at it from two different points of view. The author explains the problems faced and subsequent solutions while also explaining the reasons for the chosen courses of act
John Pyrce
A few demonstrations of how statistical thinking is non-intuitive. Fast Pass at Disney is no "faster", but it "spreads out" the waiting time to make it seem shorter. When stratifying/grouping, you have to group correctly: high performance whites perform the same as high performing blacks (and also for lows), but the total group of whites performs better than the total group of blacks (Simpsons Paradox). Rare events are rare. There is a tension between trying to optimize against false positives o ...more
Nov 28, 2010 Erik rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I hear about this book in a completely random way, as I had turned by TV on to CNN where Fareed Zackaria was finishing up his program, GPS, and he ended it by recommending Fung’s book. Coming in at just under two hundred pages, Fung – an Ivy League educated mathematician and statistician – has a remarkable and singular capacity to make statistical theory both applicable and astonishingly clear for the layperson to grasp.

Not only does he mathematically debunk the irrational fear of flying becaus
Great sections on PEDs tests in cycling and baseball and on polygraph testing. Other sections were a little dry. The book is about statistics though, so don't expect a smooth read.

Regarding baseball, because the USADA/WADA and MLB are so overly paranoid of the false positive drug test, Fung (author) argues that they knowingly use less stringent testing standards. This not only minimizes the number of true positives and false positives, but also increases the false negatives. In other words, mor
Josh Kopp
Slightly deeper reading on the probabilities and statistics that affect you everyday. Author Kaiser Fung writes how you are directly changed by numbers day-by-day rather than just generating another book about the theoretical probability of something happening.

Chapter 1:

Looks at two examples of waiting time: Minnesota's road system and Disneyland's ride lines. How can the time of waiting be reduced? Author Fung proves that increasing road width and park size will do nothing. The solution lies in
Mar 31, 2011 Arifperdana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Adakah aktifitas kehidupan kita yang tidak terpengaruhi oleh angka ? Tidak ada, semua aktifitas kehidupan kita selalu dipengaruhi oleh angka, baik secara langsung maupun tidak langsung. Kehidupan kita dibatasi oleh usia dan waktu yang diukur dalam angka. Kehidupan yang bahagia dan ideal mulai dari kekayaan hingga bentuk fisik tubuh seringkali dikaitkan dengan angka. Kesuksesan di bidang akademis tak luput dari angka-angka. Pertumbuhan ekonomi suatu negara tak lepas dari ukuran angka-angka. Bahka ...more
I find it ironic that the book ends with "if you know how to use number to make everyday decisions, you rule the world". In fact, almost none of the examples involves everyday decisions made by us, the readers. Ramp meter policy were made by engineers who studies traffic; Disney fast pass were the result of careful study by "Imagineers"; SAT test fairness are ensured by ETS; and so on and so forth. None of these decisions were everyday decisions, and certainly none of them were made by us.

Alvaro Berrios
A good, introductory book to the use of statistics and probabilities in every day life. Written in a way that is easy even for innumerate people to understand. It's certainly not a text book on statistics, but rather, through stories and real-life examples the author explains to the reader how numbers have changed our lives...for better or for worse. There are some nice little golden nuggets to take away that anyone can apply, such as the importance of variability when it comes to averages.

My bi
Alaeddin Hallak
The key message in this book:

Statistics are based on five key principles. Statisticians search for variations from the average, uncover causation and reveal correlation, account for group differences, are realistic about the unavoidable trade-offs they face and question patterns whether they appear obvious or odd.
Jul 26, 2011 Converse rated it liked it
An interesting short book about the applications of mathematics, mainly statistics and probability, to human behavior. Although it is about math, there is not a formula to be found. Topics include waiting times at Disney and at freeway on-ramps, lotteries, plane crashes, lie detectors and drug testing in sports. Lie detecting and drug testing share the same dilemma, that reducing false positives also means increasing false negatives; what differs is which of these is considered the bigger proble ...more
Chris Poulin
Jun 29, 2014 Chris Poulin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating treatment of select events and how data analysis can reveal the true causes. Well, fascinating if you have a critical mind. You don't have to be a statistics geek to understand this book, but it will still exercise your brain and challenge some preconceptions you may have.
Maggie Anaya
Although this book had decent examples of real life scenarios and was an easy read, it argues that statistics essentially is just the study of the nature of variability. What I took from this book was that everything is fine just being left up to chance.
Michael Quinn
Jun 04, 2013 Michael Quinn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kaiser Fung does a great job of illustrating some fundamental statistical concepts. This includes variance, stratification and hypothesis testing. Even better, he does it through a series of linked anecdotes, which both drive the key points home and make the journey light and pleasant. Do you ever wonder why we struggle to catch steroid abusers? Do you think polygraphs might be woefully inaccurate? Are you confused by some people's fear of flying? This is the book for you.

Unfortunately it's a li
Jun 24, 2015 Becky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book gave me a better understanding of stats and several pertinent applications while not becoming too textbook-ish. This would make for a wonderful supplement read for a college level stats or analytics class.
Sep 25, 2015 Tai rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
No practical stats info here, but plenty of really interesting stories about how stats has been used for everything from credit scores to traffic improvements.
Aug 02, 2014 N-rose rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Had high points in the discussion of how data and statisticians help glean truths that run counter to common beliefs/ myths/ stories. But it's a plodding read at times.
John Poor
Fun book canvassing a few interesting aspects of statistics. Not much new information but full of entertaining facts.
Stefanus Andre
Jul 27, 2015 Stefanus Andre rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
* Informative and mostly fun to read.

* Repetitive.
* Some information only apply to US readers.
Hilary Stork
Jan 10, 2015 Hilary Stork rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really good book about how statistics are used in the real world. Hoping I can remember details well enough to share some of the statistical applications with my students.
Sep 30, 2014 Brian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting material. Well written. Read for information, not entertainment.
Nov 05, 2012 Willis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As this book is written by a statistician, you might think that only a stat geek could enjoy this book. But I think it is written for a much broader audience and everyone could benefit from it. It is written to convince the general reader of some important statistical concepts that impact day to day life. There are so many misconceptions that people have because they don't really understand these relative simple concepts that are discussed in this book. This is the kind of book I wish I could ha ...more
May 27, 2011 Ctg7w6 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed most of the book. It is rather short and a good deal of space is spent on "conclusions", ie. summarizing what has already been said. In fact, the conclusion to the book lasts for many pages, yet just summarizes what you read in the past 150 pages. Very annoying. Each chapter ends with several pages of restatement of what was said in the chapter.

The book should have been 3/4 the size that it was. The good parts were generally pretty good though.
He analyzed the flaw of statistics and gave a better clarity how it can be interpreted and went through thoroughly from credit score/ sat exam / Insurance bet etc etc. Finally the book says not to believe on statistical evidence coz the output of result like doping test/polygraph may or may not be accurate. the author helps to change the perception on day to day event encountered by us especially by newspaper and TV news.
Aug 30, 2012 Berrett rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I read this book because I liked Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell so much. I was hoping this would be equally fun. It was not. It was pretty good, don't get me wrong. I'm glad I read it. But it just wasn't great. If you're looking for a really fun, non-fiction book about non-intuitive features of the world I'd recommend either Freakonomics or Tipping Point instead of this one.
Lo compré buscando algo similar a Freakonomics, y aunque tiene casos muy entretenidos de leer (rush hour en las autopistas, FastPass en Disney, etc) es menos ameno. Vuelve repetidamente sobre cada caso para explicar en mayor profundidad el concepto estadístico y eso lo hizo aburrido de seguir. No me arrepiento de haberlo leido pero no fue algo memorable.
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