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The Model Thinker: What You Need to Know to Make Data Work for You
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The Model Thinker: What You Need to Know to Make Data Work for You

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  216 ratings  ·  29 reviews
How anyone can become a data ninja

From the stock market to genomics laboratories, census figures to marketing email blasts, we are awash with data. But as anyone who has ever opened up a spreadsheet packed with seemingly infinite lines of data knows, numbers aren't enough: we need to know how to make those numbers talk. In The Model Thinker, social scientist Scott E. Page
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Hardcover, 448 pages
Published November 27th 2018 by Basic Books
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Mel (Epic Reading)
As a professional Business Intelligence Analyst (BIA) this is the perfect non-fiction book for my desk. I do data aggregation, reporting, and analysis at my day job. And we are constantly trying to determine what the best correlation, representation or model is for analysis the data available to us.
Scott E. Page starts us off talking about WHY. This is an often overlooked piece of any business work. The why. Why do we do something? Why do we care? Why use X over Y? And so on...
In this case
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Greg
Nov 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really like the subject of this book. Model thinking is one of the best subjects I have taken in Coursera. The concepts are really useful and practical. It helps you to frame your thinking about numerous things in our world.

I would not give this book a 5 stars because I think this subject is best convey through other format like videos, lectures, or course. The topic is a bit complex especially for those who ate not comfortable with numerical reasoning. By putting it in book format it limited
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Rachel
Professor Page certainly introduces some interesting concepts in The Model Thinker. His overall aim here is to get you to use multiple models in your thinking, and the plethora of models provided will be an aid to any person out there.

That said, I found it rather difficult to get through. My attention wandered far more than I thought it would. I think that is just the nature of non-fiction sometimes. Even when interested in a subject, a book on it is not always enjoyable. Thus, my star rating
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Alexis Bauer Kolak
Jan 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
The title of this book is a little misleading. While the author provides a clear, informative overview of the different types of models and the kinds of problems they are regularly used to solve, he never touches on examples of where you might want to apply them. I was expecting a little more guidance on what this information means to me.

In spite of that, I could see this being very useful, and it did make me want to read more on some of the topics covered here.
Ramanathan Palaniappan
Jun 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Charlie Munger (the billionaire investor/partner of Warren Buffett) said: "The first rule is that you’ve got to have multiple models—because if you just have one or two that you’re using, the nature of human psychology is such that you’ll torture reality so that it fits your models, or at least you’ll think it does. You become the equivalent of a chiropractor who, of course, is the great boob in medicine.

It’s like the old saying, “To the man with only a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.”
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Héctor Iván Patricio Moreno
This book is awesome. First, it heightened my appreciation for math. I've never had the opportunity to learn about models in such great detail and extensiveness. The book explains formally many models used to understand several problems and phenomenons that happen in the current world. The models help you understand in a mathematical and formal way some thoughts you may have intuitively and explain it. Other times, applying the same model to different problems makes you understand things you ...more
Jasper Burns
I was first introduced to Prof Scott Page by listening to Farnam Street's podcast called The Knowledge Project. I've been increasingly curious about mental models, and this book was my first full book on the topic.

The Model Thinker reduces real-life interactions into mathematical models. If you have not had an undergraduate-level background in mathematics I'd imagine it difficult to follow along, but if you are familiar with math symbols and formula, the book is incredibly interesting and
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Jim Mehnet
Nov 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-books-read
The case made by the author is that social systems are very complex and often have vast numbers of what could be causal forces at play. In physics, chemistry and biology, sciences from which social sciences emerge we have often had few enough variables that relatively simple models have been constructed since the enlightenment that are so surefooted at predicting fairly granular aspects of the future that we call them laws. The social sciences (economics, psychology, political science, ...more
Ben Hughes
Sep 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a thorough coverage of various types of models that can help us apply to problems. A strong foundation in mathematics is helpful, as most of these models are spelled out formally via math, but not necessarily required. This book advocates for, importantly, a "many-models" approach to problem analysis: many people approach problems myopically, applying the models and intuitions that are most familiar to them to a problem, convincing themselves they have it all figured out - with ...more
Fadri Mokolintad
Sep 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
How to make sense the data? Use model!

No model is bad. One model is probably good. Many models are better.

Dunia ini kian hari semakin kompleks. Dan for most of the time since cognitive revolution, hanya manusia yang bisa "mengerti" kompleksitas dunia. Manusia melakukan itu dengan membangun "model" di dalam kepalanya. Model itu mungkin cuman intuisi/feeling yang tidak ada bentuk formal matematisnya, tapi sejauh ini terbukti cukup efektif untuk mengendalikan dunia.

Sekarang, dunia yang kompleks
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JQAdams
Nov 03, 2019 rated it liked it
In this quasi-textbook, Page introduces a wide range of elementary social-science (mostly economics and political-science, with some sociology mixed in) models, arguing that having a wide variety of potential approaches to a problem allows for richer and more robust insights. In his culminating example, for instance, he talks about where economic inequality comes from, using the models he has shown to provide a range of potential insights and explanations about inequality.

It feels like Page
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Safiya
Mar 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: rmtd, vuca
Data -> Information -> Knowledge -> Wisdom

Basically sums the "Model Thinking" Course by the same professor.
The style in which the book was written, makes it a perfect handbook/manual for class...
And I guess that regardless of one's background, and with enough openness, you can discern magical phenomena (obviously it's just that we ignore how stuff work), while reading this book.
Now back to the oldest idea about models as mere reductions, and are not reliable or so: Yes they are
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Adrian
Apr 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Well crafted with clear examples, and no excessive formulae to intimidate non-experts (the detailed formulae are boxed away or footnoted rather than in the main body of text). The book is an overview only, not diving deep into any particular model, and achieves what it intends to: Suggest the many available models and how combining them can help people plan better, to achieve better results in a complex interactive world. Such an approach is extremely useful today, when you can easily look up ...more
Aaron Lee
Jun 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Overall, the book accomplishes its goal of introducing many different models. The writing is clear, and technical concepts are explained well without superfluous detail or jargon. That said, the book would benefit from better organization of the models — grouping chapters together, or contextualizing them so readers start each chapter with an idea of how and when they might apply the model. As is, each model is explained clearly, but it is on the reader to generalize and recognize when the ...more
Christopher Alleman
Apr 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
For the thinking minds that desire clarity with complex data or social issues. I had a really great time reading this book. Having recently graduated with a Mechanical Engineering degree, I found some chapters to be trivial and some to be concepts I had never thought of or ever actually understood. The book has been beneficial during the read and I hope to reference this book as I move forward in life. This by no means goes into detail of any one model but rather adequately explains the ...more
Spencer
Nov 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
Read all but the 2nd-to-last and 3rd-to-last chapters, because I ran out of time before the book was due back at the library. I did read the final chapter. I found thee book to be very dense, but interesting at times. The first 100 pages were tedious and largely review for me. There were some interesting nuggets from game theory, signaling models, random walks, and spatial vs. hedonic models. All in all, like an encyclopedia that would be best digested in 6+weeks, each chapter lulling you to ...more
Mitch Malone
Jan 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
There are some useful models in here that I've been able to apply directly to my work. The overall thesis—using many models to explain, predict, and act is more helpful than using one—is something that really came into focus.

It's a very dense book with "textbook" style writing. I wish it had more narrative prose to make the reading more enjoyable. There aren't as many real world examples in the book—it's mostly math and visuals of the models themselves.
Mikhail Filatov
Sep 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Изначальный посыл автора-применение нескольких моделей для сравнения и «усреднение», как улучшение в соответствии с “jury theorem” интересен. Но практического применения он не приводит за исключением нескольких общих рассуждений. В результате книга похожа на справочник, причём с непонятной аудиторией-математики много для популярной литературы, но она не достаточно строга для учебника. А примеры слабо связаны с приведёнными моделями.
Ganapathy
Feb 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good reference for knowing model names. Nothing more. It is not for people without basic statistics, computer science, and math knowledge. And It is not for people who were looking for advanced models. I was not really sure who the author's intended readers are. On the plus side, the book gives a very broad view of the models used in various fields--from economics to epidemiology.
Denis Romanovsky
Feb 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is a great source of wisdom. 25 something general prediction models with simple math explanation, good examples and comprehensive insights. Many model approach reasonable as nothing else in this world. Invaluable food for thought!
Joel Temple
Dec 05, 2019 rated it liked it
More of a reference manual than a book to be read straight through. Had some good tidbits here and there and the last chapter was great. But I mostly found the real world examples to be the only part of this book that were intelligible.
Boo
Sep 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
A good reference book for the different models used in the social sciences.
Rad
Apr 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In the spirit of parsimonious factor models: fundamental.
Peter
Jun 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great clear but brief walk through several models from various disciplines. Enjoyable read - spent more time on some parts than others.
Dan
Sep 01, 2019 rated it it was ok
Unless you've got a background in data science I'd leave this one on the shelf.
Ben
Aug 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Narrative and foxy statistics for the 21st century.
Kazuya Sakakihara
Didn't finish, maybe revisit later.
Bryan Alkire
Apr 03, 2019 rated it liked it
Good info but the writing is not compelling
David
Aug 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Doesn’t provide as much math as a textbook and doesn’t provide as much substance as a story/novel. Caught in between doing neither well.
Johannes Blank
rated it it was amazing
Nov 24, 2019
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