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Turning Numbers into Knowledge: Mastering the Art of Problem Solving Paperback – April 28, 2008
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From the Author
Ive included cartoons and other amusing graphics, as well as quotes and examples galore. The chapters are short and to the point, with plenty of further reading in the back for readers who want to explore further. I hope that any person who takes an intelligent interest in the world will enjoy it and find it useful. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
* Examine key factors, such as information, attention and action within the context of a cycle of actions that begins with goals, and moves through execution, how events in the external world influence the meeting of those goals, an evaluation and refinement of goals. Then the process starts anew.
* Structured methods for getting organized. The techniques given are simple, yet powerful.How to collect and critically analyze data and information, common fallacies and how to spot them. Two of my favorite parts that reinforce these are then single-page chart titled "What Scientists Say, and What They Mean", and Chapter 20 (Uncertainty Principle and the Mass Media).
* The straightforward process of numerical analysis, using relatively simple math techniques to make sense of numbers and turn them into knowledge, is priceless. What makes this part of the book valuable is that the author integrates the preceding chapters that lead you to a critical thinking mindset with common sense and techniques that are within the grasp of high school students. It looks easy, but is testimony to the author's exceptional ability to communicate and inspire.
Overall this book is one of my personal favorites and one that I recommend to colleagues. Another book that complements this one nicely is Systems Thinking: Managing Chaos and Complexity by Jamshid Gharajedaghi.
"Although the technical aspects of this process are taught at many universities, the art of problem solving is rarely discussed and even more rarely written down," Koomey notes in the preface. His goal is to amend that lack, helping the reader "to become a first-rate analyst in your chosen field."
"Your chosen field" covers a lot of ground, and while the book delivers on Koomey's promise, much of the pleasure of reading it comes from his eccentric definition of both his topic and his audience. Not a textbook -- or not just a textbook -- "Turning Numbers into Knowledge" is aimed at students and professors alike; at problem solvers in business, government, and research; at middle managers and potential investors; and even at journalists.
Beginning with a chapter titled "Beginner's Mind" and including others titled "Question Authority" and "Reflect," one might think Koomey's book could have been named "Zen and the Art of Statistical Analysis." But it's also full of technical advice, in chapters like "Let Tables and Graphs Do the Work," "Use the Internet," and many more.
In fact Koomey has organized his topics thoughtfully, beginning with considerations of why anyone, professional or amateur, would undertake quantitative analysis.Read more ›
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.
Filled with useful tools and tips for problem solving under real-life situations it is one of the most useful books available. "Turning Numbers Into Knowledge: Mastering the Art of Problem Solving" is a masterful work in the area of critical analysis and a highly recommended read for anyone involved in creating or using information of any kind.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I don't get the point of this book. It's not very interesting in spite of the engaging title.Published 14 months ago by John L
Not very interesting at all.
If you have any mathematical background, do not buy this book.
I actually enjoyed this book for one reason, it makes you think about how you can become a more credible and useful resource for information. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Robert Kirk
Reading "Turning Numbers into Knowledge" has been one of the best uses of my time. You learn rules, tools and insights to become a better thinker. Read morePublished on August 14, 2014 by Jorge Juan Fernandez
I purchased this book for a course I was taking. I found the book very interesting and enjoyed reading it. Read morePublished on June 4, 2014 by Mary D.
Too simple. I was waiting for something beyond the obvious, but the book presents generic and well know ideas. It is an easy read,anyway.Published on November 24, 2013 by Luigi Carro
This is one of the best overviews I've come across on how estimates are made, how to use them for your own research, where to look and what to keep in mind while doing so, and the... Read morePublished on April 2, 2013 by Conor
I was expecting a lot more from this book (perhaps as it comes recommended by Josh Kauffman). However this book is a lot of fluff. Case in point section about getting organized. Read morePublished on July 30, 2012 by Pranav Desai
I learned a lot and enjoyed reading Jonathan Koomey's book as I also did from David Perkin's Outsmarting IQ. Read morePublished on April 2, 2012 by Ali M.