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

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Broadway Books, 2003 - Business & Economics - 277 pages
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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 who can process the information in front of them.

What the Numbers Say offers remedies to this national problem. Through a series of witty and engaging discussions, the authors introduce original quantitative concepts, skills, and habits that reduce even the most daunting numerical challenges to simple, bite-sized pieces. Why do the nutritional values on a Cheerios box appear different in Canada than in the U.S.? How is it that top-performing mutual funds often lose money for the majority of their shareholders? Why was the scoring system for Olympic figure skating doomed even without biased judges?

By anchoring their discussions in real-world scenarios, Derrick Niederman and David Boyum show that skilled quantitative thinking involves old-fashioned logic, not advanced mathematical tools. Useful in an endless number of situations, What the Numbers Say is the practical guide to navigating today’s data-rich world.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - setnahkt - LibraryThing

In the tradition of Innumeracy and the various Freakonomics books. The authors are a PhD mathematician (Niederman) and a PhD in Public Policy {Boyum). The book is interesting to browse, but we’ve ... Read full review

What the numbers say: a field guide to mastering our numerical world

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

The bad news is that, in an age of science, complex financial planning, and competing deficit forecasts to support competing stimulus packages, the average citizen needs math more than ever. The good ... Read full review

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About the author (2003)

DERRICK NIEDERMAN is a financial writer and a senior contributing editor at Worth magazine. His previous books include The Inner Game of Investing, A Killing on Wall Street, and several volumes of math puzzles. He received his B.A. from Yale and his Ph.D. from MIT, both in mathematics. He lives in Needham, Massachusetts.

DAVID BOYUM is an independent consultant whose clients have included major corporations, government agencies, law firms, and private investors. He received his A.B. in applied mathematics and Ph.D. in public policy from Harvard. He lives in New York City with his wife and two children.

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