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

Ian Ayres
260
November 25, 2015
★★★ (-18.92%) 🛈

Throughout this book, the author keeps trying to make the phrase “Super Cruncher/ing/ed” happen. I kept thinking back to the character in Mean Girls that said, “Gretchen, stop trying to make ‘fetch’ happen. It’s not going to happen.”

It gets distracting. And annoying. It doesn’t help that it sounds like a breakfast cereal. In the end, it becomes a little embarrassing.

(To be fair, the author notes that he “super crunched” the title – he ran multiple titles through some regression testing to see which one would perform better.)

Aside from that, the book is okay. It’s very Malcolm Gladwell-esque in that it’s a series of anecdotes about how data analysis (“Big Data”) is changing everything. A lot of the stories were admittedly interesting, but I struggle to figure out the audience for the book. This is not a detailed, instructional book, so was the author just trying to let people know that this stuff happens?

In the end, am I at all better for having read it? Probably not, but I’ve read this stuff before, so it wasn’t new to me. If you’ve never heard of any of this, you might be fascinated. I recommend:

But, of course, both of those books are the same thing – lots of anecdotes, presumably meant to prove a vague point.

The afterword of the book (from the paperback edition, I’m assuming) is a mess. The author starts talking about his weight loss and some bet he made, which doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the rest of the book. Then he appears to start making a sales pitch for his own web startup.

This is item #421 in a sequence of 515 items.

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