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Super Crunchers: Why Thinking-by-Numbers Is the New Way to Be Smart

Super Crunchers: Why Thinking-by-Numbers Is the New Way to Be Smart
Author: Ian Ayres
ISBN 13: 9780553805406
ISBN 10: 553805401
Edition: 1
Publisher: Bantam
Publication Date: 2007-08-28
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 272
List Price: $26.00

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 book, 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 makers are 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 ex...

Publishers Weekly

An introduction to econometrics may not seem like the stuff that would keep listeners riveted-much less awake-during a long car ride, but Ayres's provocative audio does just that. Ever wonder how an airline decides to lower its prices? Or why businesses have preferred shopper cards? The answer is data, gigabytes upon terabytes of data. Companies are increasingly relying on data and number-crunching statisticians to make decisions, like how much money they can extract from consumers while still retaining their loyalty. Ayres's exploration of "super crunching" and its influence makes up the bulk of the audio, but listeners needn't navigate a sea of numbers. The discussion is illustrated by eye-opening examples such as how Continental Airlines took customer service to a new, personalized level and how Mexico instituted an innovative pay-for-performance parenting program. The final chapter on standard deviations may have some longing for the printed page or a PDF file with a graph or two, but overall, Lurie's mellow reading will make listeners firm believers in Ayres's refrain: "in a super crunching world, consumers can't afford to be asleep at the wheel." Simultaneous release with the Bantam hardcover (Reviews, June 4). (Sept.)

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