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Publisher's Summary

How the study of causality revolutionized science and the world

"Correlation does not imply causation". This mantra has been invoked by scientists for decades and has led to a virtual prohibition on causal talk. But today, that taboo is dead. The causal revolution, sparked by Judea Pearl and his colleagues, has cut through a century of confusion and placed causality - the study of cause and effect - on a firm scientific basis. His work explains how we can know easy things, like whether it was rain or a sprinkler that made a sidewalk wet, and how to answer hard questions, like whether a drug cured an illness. Pearl's work enables us to know not just whether one thing causes another: It lets us explore the world that is and the worlds that could have been. It shows us the essence of human thought and key to artificial intelligence. Anyone who wants to understand either needs The Book of Why.

©2018 Judea Pearl and Dana Mackenzie (P)2018 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great book! Not a great audiobook.

This is a book about probability and graphical models. As an avid audiobook reader, it pains me to say: this is not a good audiobook. There are quite a lot of figures that are essential to understand the text (e.g. textual references to “A” and “B” in figure X.X), and many probability formulae that are read out loud in all their manifold subscript glory. This makes the text very hard to understand from the audio alone (and there was no accompanying PDF to show the figures when I bought this book!).

But this is a fantastic book! I bought the kindle version to complement the audio. I would suggest that this is essential. Even if the figures accompanied the text in a PDF, the formulae in the text still make the audio an insufficient medium to comprehend the rich ideas expressed.

I’m very glad this audiobook exists; it gives me a way to chew on many of these ideas when I can’t read a physical book. But you should definitely expect to read the textual version if you want a good understanding of this material.

42 of 43 people found this review helpful

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The accompanying pdf is missing

The book is meant to come with a pdf but it hasn't been attached. I like the book though.

17 of 18 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Great material, but highly visual

The examples, problems (and theirsolutions), etc. rely on visual models. You can look at the PDF of the diagrams while listening, but it’s tough to do if, like me, you mostly listen during times when visuals are inconvenient, say on your commute to work or while running,

The book is super interesting, though. Well worth a listen with pdf in hand.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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do not recommend this for audio book

too much mathematicians story, many opinions and not concise. may be better for a book

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Totally dry

Very boring material and subpar narrator. Wouldn't reccomend it for a read. Definitely was boring

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars

Couldn't make it past an hour

The subject matter is interesting but this is a bad audio book.The narrator is terrible. His delivery is sing-song and didactic with no emotional nuance to follow the text. It was as if he were reading a difficult story to children. I gave the narrator two stars because his diction is excellent but I couldn't stand to listen to him any more.

I can't say much about the content because I didn't make it very far into the book. The ideas are quite abstract and difficult to absorb in an audio version. The book depends on many illustrations and diagrams. You can download these but I listen to audio books while driving so they are of no use to me. During the time I spent with the work, I could not decide whether it describes new tools for statistical analysis or is a bit crackpot.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Daniel
  • United States
  • 06-15-18

Great book with clear explanations

Needs kindle copy to follow diagrams and equations but aside from that it gives very clear explanations.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

Correlation does not imply causation...

That is he premise of the book, a concept which the author then repeats with supporting evidence throughout the book. Loosely links said ideas with the development of a.i. Says we aren’t as close to developing A.I as the general public assumes. Gives reasons why in the first and last chapter. Overall the book reads like a lecture on statistics given by a cool professor who has forgotten that her students aren’t as well versed on said topic as she is. Information presented is sometimes contradictory to earlier chapters. Great narration; listened at 3x speed and could still follow the narrator.

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Tough read

This one is very dense and requires more active listening than most popsci books. While interesting and deep, the topic is a bit dry and the innovative ideas presented require more familiarity than most folks have.

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Great ideas that need to communicated visually

I concur with many of the reviews that this book doesn't work that well as an audiobook. Although the PDF helps there is even more visual content in the form of equations that does not appear in the PDF. Still, I got a lot out of it just listening and it has prompted me to buy the Kindle version as well.

I count my audiobook experience as a "skim" but plan to do a "read".

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  • Alban
  • 08-10-18

Read it today

This book will cause you to think, and think deep. The content of this book should be made available to schools for people to have access to these concepts from younger age but of course they should be adopted for early thinking in one's life.

This book talks about concepts that are hard to get in from the outset and definitely it is a book that needs to be read alongside listening; if that's what you're like but to get full access to the knowledge it consists of you definitely need to study it slowly and think about the equations and theories so that you help yourself gain access to the useful application thereof.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-09-18

Amazing book

I was always intrigued by AI and searched for foundational information on how an AI can be built ? Stumbled across this book which is quite frankly tackles the fundamental building block of AI
Computing to reasoning !
We are a long way off from achieving that
Excellent book!!! Loved every bit of it may be will get a hard copy for my collection