Monday, June 3, 2013

Numbersense by Kaiser Fung (ARC)

A big big topic nowadays is Big Data (I almost watched an episode on this in Genzai Closeup - it's this Japanese show). So when I saw that this book is a way to make sense of big data, the nerd in me jumped out and clicked the "request" button. Good thing I got it, my nerd doesn't come out often enough!

Numbersense uses a number of difference scenarios, from as law school admissions to fantasy football, and shows us how data can be manipulated and how to see past the manipulations.

I'm not a numbers kind of girl, but I found this book to be easy to understand. The tone is friendly (without being condescending), and somehow, Kaiser Fung has a knack for explaining things simple.

Plus, after reading the first chapter, I'm kind of worried about the whole admissions to university thing. It's actually quite interesting to think about this chapter while bearing in mind the stuff written about in College (Un)bound (link reads to review). College (Un)bound, just to refresh your memory, is this book that I reviewed recently which looked at the necessity of college. One chunk of the book looks at which college are suitable for a particular student, and when tied in to admissions, well, it's really interesting.

For some reason, I felt like the chapter on admissions was the longest. After I finished reading that chapter, it seemed like everything else flew by. I'm not sure if it's some kind of skewed perception of time, but I do wonder if anyone else felt this way.

By the way, I think it's possible to read this book in any order, provided you read it a chapter at a time. Since they deal with unrelated topics, it's possible to read it in order of interest and still understand everything.

All in all, an interesting look at how people use data to lie to us and how we can see through the lies.

Disclaimer: I got a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.

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