If I still haven't decided if this book is what I expected, then I must not have had a very good idea of what I expected. Even if I didn't know exactl...moreIf I still haven't decided if this book is what I expected, then I must not have had a very good idea of what I expected. Even if I didn't know exactly what I had expected, this book was a solid collection of case studies of science ignored or misunderstood.
Rather than write in generalities, Goldacre deals with specific issues, often ones that he has been directly involved in. His experience aids him in showing us many common pitfalls that lie on the path to scientific understanding.
But this strength sometimes works against Goldacre precisely because he has been involved in most of the cases he writes about. His experiences can come across as too personal at times, which can detract from the situations and problems that should be the focus of each chapter.
If I couldn't decide what to make of this book, it is likely due, at least in part, to the author's constant walking the line between writing case studies and memoirs. Whichever side of the line he may be on at any given moment, he is an able author and there is much to be learned in this book.(less)
This book definitely seems to be intended to be more of an indictment of coaches, owners, and general managers and their decision-making. In that sense, it is closer to Moneyball because it looks at how statistics can be used to more accurately demonstrate the value of a player in terms of wins and losses and the view is far from that of the powers that be. Unlike Moneyball, the book does not have any resolution or cases of shifts in thinking, just figures, tables, and explanations about why decision makers get the decisions they make wrong.
The book is wider in its scope because it covers more than baseball but even though it covers more sports, the focus is still very narrow: wins produced. Scorecasting worked to dispel sports myths with evidence and those myths were not necessarily limited to a particular sport. Stumbling on Wins uses examples from the big three professional sports in the US to tell the same tale, that those in charge don't know how to evaluate talent in terms of the skills that matter in order to help their franchises win more.
There were two points I took away from this book, that people don't truly know how to measure value and that Phil Jackson is the only coach in American pro sports that measurably makes his players better. I guess I was hoping for a bit more to like this book more.(less)