Companies used to rely on human experts and their years of experience to guide them. Now, cutting-edge organizations are mining the data and crunching numbers instead, to come up with more accurate, less biased predictions. As Freakonomics detailed, statistical analysis can reveal the secret levers of causation. But economist Ian Ayres argues that that's only part of the story - super crunching is revolutionizing the way we all make decisions.
Beginning with examples of the mathematician who out-predicted wine buffs in determining the best vintages, and the sports scouts who now use statistics rather than intuition to pick winners, Super Crunchers exposes the world of data-miners, introducing the people and the techniques. It illuminates the hidden patterns all around us. No businessperson, academic, student, or consumer (statistically that's everyone) should make another move without getting to grips with thinking-by-numbers - the new way to be smart, savvy and statistically superior.
Yale Law School professor and econometrician Ayres argues in this lively and enjoyable book that the recent creation of huge data sets allows knowledgeable individuals to make previously impossible predictions. He calls the data set analysts "super crunchers" and discusses the changes they're making to industries like medical diagnostics, air travel pricing, screenwriting and online dating services. Although Ayres presents both sides of this revolution, explaining how the corporate world tries to manipulate consumer behavior and telling consumers how to fight back, his real mission is to educate readers about the basics of statistics and hypothesis testing, spending most of his time in an edifying and entertaining discussion of the use of regression and randomization trials. He frequently asks whether statistical methods are more accurate than the more intuitive conclusions drawn by experts, and consistently concludes that they are. Ayres skillfully demonstrates the importance that statistical literacy can play in our lives, especially now that technology permits it to occur on a scale never before imagined.