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Super Crunchers | [Ian Ayres]

Super Crunchers

Today, number crunching affects your life in ways you might never imagine. In this lively and groundbreaking new audiobook, economist Ian Ayres shows how today's best and brightest organizations are analyzing massive databases at lightening speed to provide greater insights into human behavior. They are the Super Crunchers.
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Publisher's Summary

Why would a casino try and stop you from losing? How can a mathematical formula find your future spouse? Would you know if a statistical analysis blackballed you from a job you wanted?

Today, number crunching affects your life in ways you might never imagine. In this lively and groundbreaking new audiobook, economist Ian Ayres shows how today's best and brightest organizations are analyzing massive databases at lightening speed to provide greater insights into human behavior. They are the Super Crunchers. From Internet sites like Google and Amazon that know your tastes better than you do, to a physician's diagnosis and your child's education, to boardrooms and government agencies, this new breed of decision maker is calling the shots. And they are delivering staggeringly accurate results. How can a football coach evaluate a player without ever seeing him play? Want to know whether the price of an airline ticket will go up or down before you buy? How can a formula outpredict wine experts in determining the best vintages? Super crunchers have the answers.

In this brave new world of equation versus expertise, Ayres shows us the benefits and risks, who loses and who wins, and how super crunching can be used to help, not manipulate, us. Gone are the days of solely relying on intuition to make decisions. No businessperson, consumer, or student who wants to stay ahead of the curve should make another keystroke without listening to Super Crunchers.

©2007 Ian Ayres; (P)2007 Random House, Inc. Random House Audio, a division of Random House, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Lively and enjoyable....Ayres skillfully demonstrates the importance that statistical literacy can play in our lives." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (46 )
5 star
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3.6 (12 )
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4.0 (12 )
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  •  
    Fabio São Paulo, Brazil 11-05-12
    Fabio São Paulo, Brazil 11-05-12 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "good, but missing a lot of stuff"

    The whole approach of the book is descriptive, nothing teaching how to implement any of what he talks about. It's Cool to see what's happening on the field.

    I think a chapter about big data, Map reduce and machine learning is missing. These are new and interesting fields that are very popular in todays crunching environment. would be cool if he would cite examples of tools so the reader can do his own crunching.


    Well.. th Book is a good read if you're trying to know what it is, not how to do it. And the topics I cited above are things to research for after this book

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jonathan San Francisco, CA, USA 01-30-08
    Jonathan San Francisco, CA, USA 01-30-08 Member Since 2005
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    "Essential reading"

    It is too bad that this has somehow gotten categorized as a "business book". Certainly many of its anecdotes are business oriented, as indeed are many of the applications of supercrunching. But the profound effect that Internet-driven statistical and probability analysis has had on the lives of ordinary people are profound.

    To his credit, the book is written for the lay reader. you don't have to be an expert in statistics, and the examples are from everyday life. I was expecting something pretty dry and in fact found his writing quite entertaining.

    I felt there was only one omission. It seems pretty clear that business, medical, and other decision making will increasingly be driven by supercrunched statistics. So the author could have spent more time discussing the implications of this. For example, if your physician defaults to software which is generally accepted to make good diagnostic decisions, does this mean that he or she no longer has liability for malpractice? Should a bank loan officer be fired for ignoring an obvious reason for declining a mortgage which wasn't covered by the analytical software? The book could have offered more discussion of these second order consequences.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    PHil Fairbanks, AK, United States 12-15-12
    PHil Fairbanks, AK, United States 12-15-12 Member Since 2012
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    2
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    "Quant in everyday life"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This book is only of interest if you enjoy learning about numbers and the role they play in our everyday life. Easy Read with no Math in it, just how math effects our lives.


    What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

    The change in advertising and medicine as a result of evidence and math.


    Have you listened to any of James Lurie’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    zNone


    Any additional comments?

    This book is a good mix with "Thinking Fast and Slow" by D kahneman. They both address what we think and what the numbers probably are telling us. Sometimes they are not what we think.....

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ed POINT COOK, Australia 10-30-10
    Ed POINT COOK, Australia 10-30-10 Member Since 2010
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    "References to references that reference research"

    If you have read books that provide insightful information on how statistical data can open your eyes to a hidden reality then I would not recommend this book, inversely if you have never touched a book like freakonomics then this might be a good start, although I would recommend going for Steve's book. The author doesn't actually provide any research of his own, rather spends the entire book referencing others research, puts a narrative around it and puts it forward as a conclusion.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rick Colora, MD, USA 02-28-10
    Rick Colora, MD, USA 02-28-10 Member Since 2009
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    "Data, data everywhere"

    Great overview of how technology is shaping our world and our understanding.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    W Brian Louisville, KY, USA 01-02-10
    W Brian Louisville, KY, USA 01-02-10
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    "Statistics drove me to listen"

    The 4 out of 5 got me to listen and it was worth it. It gets a little over-the-top near the very end otherwise very interesting. The reported facts are many in the narration and most I didn't know about. I do wish I would have noticed this was an abridged version however the unabridged was only an hour longer so maybe I didn't miss much.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kenny 01-05-08
    Kenny 01-05-08 Member Since 2005
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    "A must read"

    The world has changed. Data has opened a new door of perception. This book and Freakonomics are the must reads for anyone who wants to understand how the future will be understood.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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