- Paperback: 247 pages
- Publisher: Analytics Press; 2nd edition (April 28, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0970601921
- ISBN-13: 978-0970601926
- Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.6 x 10 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 42 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #778,609 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Turning Numbers into Knowledge: Mastering the Art of Problem Solving Paperback – April 28, 2008
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But aside from a few enjoyable stories, this book didn't teach me anything that I hadn't already picked up by the end of college. There is a great deal of commonsensical advice, like "Next time you find yourself resisting a new idea, take a deep breath and try to see the other point of view," plus outright fluff, like "After deciding what to do, you must follow through with action" and "Science and technology are a critical part of modern life." This might be an excellent primer for high schoolers, but based on the blurbs I was expecting something more advanced.
I suggest using this book to do a quick "needs analysis" of your research style. Turn to the Preface and read through the annotated table of contents to identify the research tactic you most need to improve. (Mine was "Establish a Filing System.") You can assimilate the corresponding chapter in a few minutes and begin improving your skills.
With 38 different chapters covering topics that range from overcoming "Beginner's Mind" to "Use the Internet" there is something for every researcher. I can envision an undergraduate research methods professor leading beginning researchers through a needs assessment discussion and assigning them to both remediate their top weakness and sharpen their top strength--knowing all the time that many will be enticed into reading most of the other chapters, too. (I can also imagine a surly senior professor hurling it at his new research assistant with "Don't bother me until you have read this!" I suppose that teaching strategy would work, too. But I won't recommend it.)
The chapters are well organized and easy to learn from. Resources include both recommended books for in-depth exploration of each topic and a large number of relevant web sites for fast-click discovery. The book's own web site is a great place to start.
A great resource to sharpen your research abilities and an enjoyable read, this book is worth its place on your bookshelf.
Non-scientists & scientists alike will find useful:
1) the methods and ideas for analyzing and testing for plausibility the everyday information encountered in the media,
pointers to finding logical flaws in arguments, and common tricks used by presenters in order to be ambiguous or downright deceptive.
2) simple methods of keeping facts at your fingertips
3) the chapters on life improvement and work-efficiency which made this book pay for itself in a matter of days.
4) helpful links to the Internet and to other books.
Scientists and Engineers in particular will find useful
· The back-of-the-envelope numerical methods. Many sci/engs do not use them enough.
· The description of the scientific process, of which they are (often unconsciously) a part.
· Suggestions on efficient, non-sloppy data analysis. The examples on data analysis are somewhat geared to the field of Energy Analysis, but easy to understand and generalize; in the process I learnt something about that field.
· suggestions for clear, concise presentation of text and figures during presentation of results.
This is also a good book to lend to a student intern or new employee to teach them back of the envelope statistical methods, how to get organized, and good habits, both organizational and data-analysis wise.
Most recent customer reviews
If you have any mathematical background, do not buy this book.