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What the Numbers Say: A Field Guide to Mastering Our Numerical World
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What the Numbers Say: A Field Guide to Mastering Our Numerical World

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  76 ratings  ·  12 reviews
Our society is churning out more numbers than ever before, whether in the form of spreadsheets, brokerage statements, survey results, or just the numbers on the sports pages. Unfortunately, people’s ability to understand and analyze numbers isn’t keeping pace with today’s whizzing data streams. And the benefits of living in the Information Age are available only to those w ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published June 8th 2004 by Broadway Books (first published June 2003)
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Jan 12, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: math
See this review for comment which applies to both this book and The Numbers Game

I found this book interesting enough to read it in a relatively short time, but was probably a little too familiar with much of the material to get a lot of new knowledge out of it. For some reason I remember being a bit more excited about The Numbers Game by Michael Blastland, which I read more recently. The goal of the two books is similar, basically they are trying to make
Manuel Frias
Jan 21, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: science, mathematics
A good reminder of the importance of developing quantitative thinking skills whether you work with data or not.

I like the definition of a good quantitative thinker: "what distinguishes good quantitative thinkers is not their skill with pure mathematics, but rather their approach to quantitative information".

The book goes through all the skills necessary to survive in the Quantitative Information Age in plain English with lots of examples. My problem was that it is focused on American readers whi
John Fredrickson
Feb 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mathematical
This is a very informative guide to how we mess up our appreciation for what numerical arguments are indicating. The book is easy to follow; the math is not calculus, but rather takes as its focus the math that we get exposed to on a regular basis, and how we foul up its interpretation. It is well worth reading.
Jul 31, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a pretty important book that I think most adults and certainly all educators should read. Although it got a little ramble toward the end, this will probably be one I get a copy of and keep close by in my office. I plan to take some notes on a few ideas to use for workshops in my role as the assessment coordinator for the division. The main function, I think, will be to help people be less afraid of numbers and data an develop some strategies that, the authors contend, we all should have ...more
Oct 14, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Get this book. Today. Here's an link to the book. Or check out from your local library. Doesn't matter, just get this book.

Why? Because this is the best book I've read that teaches you how to understand the numbers thrown at us daily and how to be a quantitative thinker.

It explains the math tools you can use to cut through the deluge of numbers and 'facts' and how to glean meaningful data.

After reading this, pass it on to someone else.
May 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
A very practical tool for improving your quantitative reasoning. For those that are numerically lazy (like me), this is a good reminder of the many benefits of taking the time to think through a problem before reaching for the calculator and it provides an excellent toolbox for making the most of the quantitative world in which we live.
Mike Simmons
Jan 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
A solid book on the nuances of how numbers are represented to the public. I am a CPA and often have to present numbers in a simplified yet complete way. This book talks about how quantitative facts and calculations can be misleading (intentionally or unintentionally). I recommend reading this to give perspective to every day stories like the federal deficit, measuring flour, olympic scoring, etc.
Abby Jean
Mar 22, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011, mpp
good enough straightforward discussion on using math and common sense in everyday life. didn't love the obscure stock market examples. a bit basic, although the section on pareto's law was especially interesting. engaging with good examples.
May 15, 2011 added it
Statistics, their use and misuse, and how much they matter in daily life. Gives a lot of hints of what to look for to identify misleading statistics and how much of an impact their deliberate misuse can have. Very interesting, and funny enough for any reader.
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Jan 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
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