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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,194 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Ian Ayres Narrator: Michael Kramer Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2007 ISBN: 9781415941225
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Why would a casino try to stop a gambler from losing? How can a mathematical formula find your future spouse? Would you know if statistical analysis blackballed you from a job you wanted?

Economist Ian Ayres has spent the better part of his career examining the power in numbers. Decisions used to be made by traditional experts based on experience, intuition, and trial and error. Nowadays, cutting-edge organizations are crunching ever-larger databases to find answers. Today’s super crunchers are providing greater insights into human behavior than ever before–and predicting the future with staggeringly accurate results.

In this lively and groundbreaking audiobook, Ayres takes us behind the scenes into the bold new world of today’s super crunchers. The author sweeps over a dazzling array of topics with strange-but-true facts, wry wit, and a raconteur’s talent for the fascinating anecdote. Entertaining, enlightening, and absolutely essential, Super Crunchers is an audiobook that no businessperson, consumer, or student–statistically, that’s everyone!–should make another decision without first listening to. Thinking-by-numbers is the new way to be smart.

Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • In the past, one could get by on intuition and experience. Times have changed. Today, the name of the game is data. Ian Ayres shows us how and why in this groundbreaking book Super Crunchers. Not only is it fun to read, it just may change the way you think. Steven D. Levitt, author of Freakonomics
  • Data-mining and statistical analysis have suddenly become cool.... Dissecting marketing, politics, and even sports, stuff this complex and important shouldn't be this much fun to read. Wired
  • "[Ayres's] thesis is provocative: Complex statistical models could be used to market products more intelligently, craft better movies, and solve health-care problems—if only we could get past our statistics phobia. Portfolio
  • When statistics conflict with expert opinion, bet on statistics....Businesses, consumers, and governments are waking up to the power of analyzing enormous tracts of information. Discover
  • Super Crunchers shows that data-driven decisionmaking is not just revolutionizing baseball and business; it's changing the way that education policy, health care reimbursements, even tax regulations are crafted.  Super Crunching is truly reinventing government.  Politicians love to tout policy proposals, but they rarely come back and tell you which ones succeeded and which ones failed.  Data-driven policy making forces government to ask the bottom line question of 'What works.'  That's an approach we can all support. John Podesta, President of the Center for American Progress
  • A lively and yet rigorously careful account of the use of quantitative methods for analysis and decision-making.... Both social scientists and businessmen can profit from this book, while enjoying themselves in the process. Dr. Kenneth Arrow, Nobel Prize winning economist, and Professor Emeritus at Stanford University
  • Ayres’ point is that human beings put far too much faith in their intuition and would often be better off listening to the numbers.... The best stories in the book are about Ayres and other economists he knows, whether they are studying wine, the Supreme Court or jobless benefits.... Ayres himself is one of the [statistical] detectives. He has done fascinating research. The New York Times Book Review
  • Ian Ayres [is] a law-and-economics guru. Chronicle of Higher Education
  • Lively and enjoyable.... Ayres skillfully demonstrates the importance that statistical literacy can play in our lives, especially now that technology permits it to occur on a scale never before imagined.... Edifying and entertaining. Publishers Weekly
  • "Super Crunchers presents a convincing and disturbing vision of a future in which everyday decision-making is increasingly automated, and the role of human judgment restricted to providing input to formulae. The Economist
  • Insightful and delightful! Forbes

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Roxanne Russell | 2/19/2014

    " Popularized stats. Great read. Accessible to and useful for anyone these days- consumers, marketers, researchers, patients, policy makers. Excellent anecdotes to show how powerful data mining can be. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ruth | 2/14/2014

    " This book does a good job of explaining why statistics can be helpful and how often people are actually using them (Amazon.com, eharmony, google, nonprofits, film industry, etc). It also explains about about how statistics work and how they can help you make good decisions. The book is both educational and has some fun/interesting examples of how people are using statistics to make the world a better place. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cathy | 2/13/2014

    " Great book...the parts I did understand ..however it is easy to read, much made sense even for a non statistician like myself. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stephen Cranney | 2/12/2014

    " Nothing too new or mind-blowing. It was fun to read about how some people crunch terabyte level datasets and how businesses use consumer preference analysis. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Natasha Acres | 1/24/2014

    " This is really interesting and for someone who's not into figures at all I liked discovering what is found out by studying vast numbers... it does tail off towards the end. I kind of feel sorry for the authors little girl who sums up life as an equation - but hey, each to their own. (It was probably because that went over my head!). "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Book | 1/20/2014

    " A less clever, and more number intensive, Freakonomics "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Dave | 1/13/2014

    " Not bad, but much of it I've seen elsewhere in the few years since its publication. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jessica | 12/21/2013

    " Engaging and smart, with well-elucidated examples and amusing anecdotes to punctuate the text. Worth reading just to start thinking about all the different ways statistical analysis influences and informs our lives. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Judy Bromley | 12/7/2013

    " Very well written book. Similar to Freakonomics. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kerith | 11/20/2013

    " A qualitative book about the value, outcome and use of a highly quantitative field of statistics. What more could a tree-hugger like myself want? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Evan | 10/1/2013

    " Fun intro to world of data driven. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ilya | 9/19/2013

    " A plethora of great examples, including bill james, freakonomics, etc., but the section on when computers (and the people who program them) get it wrong could have been more detailed. for example, why does my credit card call to alert me of fraud every 10th time i shop at my local grocery store. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Chris | 7/12/2013

    " Written before the terms "big data" and "data science" came into vogue, this able survey of the field is fine for a lay person's introduction, but has just enough misstatements to make an expert cringe. I'd recommend it to a family member, but not to a colleague. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Josh Pfau | 12/16/2012

    " I wish they gave more way to apply this to our everyday, but the concepts were very interesting. Again, this could have been summed up in a shorter fashion since the same ideas were continually presented. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Vern Wolfley | 11/28/2012

    " Great book! A great way to look at data. Gave me lots of great questions to ask at work. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Paul | 11/26/2012

    " Introduction level reading about statistics. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ben Jackson | 9/8/2012

    " This was recommended to me by my boss. He lent me his copy and I took this out to San Francisco on a trip. It was well worth the read. While it got a little too much into the hard math at the end, it was a real eye opener regarding how statistics influence our lives. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Will | 6/15/2012

    " Good introduction, but very, very basic if you work with computers. Data analysis has been done for a while now. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mark | 5/21/2012

    " Talks about how data crunching has changed things, but did not discuss the details behind the analysis. The beginning of the book seems much more thought out then the ending. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Owen | 4/24/2012

    " Ian Ayers is a very bright guy who works with huge datasets and Gaussian distributions. I was given this by Jeffry along with The Black Swan. It felt like being in the middle of an intellectual shouting match. Fun book, and Ayers writes with an easy, readable style. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lukas Vermeer | 11/8/2011

    " Pretty good primer, but lacks a little depth "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Darrenglass | 11/2/2011

    " The latest "next Freakonomics", and I felt pretty similarly about this book -- there were lots of interesting anecdotes, but I'm enough of a nerd that I actually wanted to see the details of the statistics and the data rather than just hear the cocktail-party version. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Marie | 4/24/2011

    " This was a disappointing read. The whole thing can be summed up with "databases make it useful to analyze data (sometimes the results are different than what you would expect). The end." "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jean | 4/14/2011

    " This is better than a borrowed Christmas book. It is, in fact, Jon's Christmas book which he read and gave back to me to donate to the library. I had to read it first, of course. I can't believe I actually enjoyed reading a book about numbers...what is the world coming to? "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Paul | 4/10/2011

    " Introduction level reading about statistics. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Claire | 3/22/2011

    " Really titillated my inner nerd. I refer to it too often, definitely captured my imagination. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Will | 12/26/2010

    " Good introduction, but very, very basic if you work with computers. Data analysis has been done for a while now. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dustin | 12/15/2010

    " Very mind opening. This book effectively convinces you that you must learn to look at the data. Like it or not, you are going to make a lot of bad decisions if you don't. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 James | 12/15/2010

    " Similar to "freakonomics". Perhaps the most significant case study was the reality that medical record digitization and consequent data mining is not only efficient but has saved hundreds of thousand of lives. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Alex | 12/11/2010

    " Note to Ian Ayres: If you're gonna plagiarize, at least plagiarize stuff that makes your book tolerable. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Iuri | 12/6/2010

    " It is a good book to know more about how the industry uses our data. But it is not a technical book, no statistics nor maths, so if you like theory, you might get bored at one point. But as scientific divulgation it is a very good book. The brazilian edition has some errors, though. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Linda | 11/22/2010

    " I read it a couple of years ago. Never thought economics could be this much fun. Its not going to be my favourite of all time. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brian | 11/4/2010

    " this is an excellent book showing how accumulation of data to find relationship for good decision making for long-term horizons. "

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About the Author

Ian Ayres is an economist and lawyer who is the William K. Townsend Professor at Yale Law School and a professor at Yale’s School of Management. He is a columnist for Forbes magazine and a regular contributor to the New York Times  Freakanomics blog. He is the author of several books, including Super Crunchers, which was a New York Times bestseller and named one the Best Economics and Business Books of the Year by the Economist. He lives in New Haven, Connecticut.

About the Narrator

Michael Kramer has narrated many audiobooks over the last twenty years; his favorite authors include Donald E. Westlake, Thomas Perry, and Robert Jordan. He has received several AudioFile Earphones Awards for his work. He lives in the DC area, where he also works in theater as an actor and director.