- Taschenbuch: 336 Seiten
- Verlag: Profile Books (30. Mai 2013)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 1846686202
- ISBN-13: 978-1846686207
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 13,5 x 2,4 x 21,6 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 4 Kundenrezensionen
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 282.265 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
Norm Chronicles (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 30. Mai 2013
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A very funny book ... this is one of those maths books that claims to be self-help, and on the evidence presented here, we are in dire need of it Telegraph Praise for Joe, the Only Boy in the World: 'From this careful, serious book emerges a man with a quick wit and far-seeing eye for what makes life so peculiar ... Joe stands out as a work of rare enlightenment Seven A witty, insightful, educational and wholly original book - and a wonderful achievement. Read it! -- Tim Harford, author of "The Undercover Economist" and presenter of "More or Less" on BBC Radio 4 Fascinating -- John Harding Daily Mail A fast-paced, whizz-bang style -- Iain Finlayson The Times Helping people make sense of the barrage of confusing (and often misrepresented) statistics that riddle every day is a noble goal. Making the process enjoyable is a real achievement. The Economist The statistics are presented with admirable lucidity, using an ingenious method devised by the authors, and may serve to reassure more neurotic readers ... Witty and illuminating, The Norm Chronicles is essential reading for anyone wanting to know whether they should try skydiving, or accept that third glass of wine -- Orlando Bird Financial Times Illuminating ... eye-catching ... a real achievement The Economist
Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende
Michael Blastland is an author, journalist, and BBC Radio 4 broadcaster. He co-authored, with Andrew Dilnot, Profile's best-selling The Tiger that Isn't . David Spiegelhalter OBE is Winton Professor of the Public Understanding of Risk in the Statistical Laboratory, University of Cambridge. He is a fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge and the Royal Society.
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Equally good reading for lay persons as for professionals who want to improve their communication on risks.
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There are 27 short chapters, mostly on specific sources of risk (Accidents, Drugs, Transportation, Lifestyle, Crime, Surgery, ...) A recurring theme is quantitative comparisons of different risks via the concepts of Micromorts and Microlives. Mentioned in passing are many psychological factors (natural vs human-made risks, availability heuristic and confirmation bias, zero-risk bias, cultural theory of risk, the influence of media, ...) but these are not given the heavy emphasis as in Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow. Risks arise from activities we want, or de facto need, to do, and the book emphasizes that there are no "right answers" to the balance between risk and reward. In other words it avoids being judgmental, either in the "your intuition is wrong" sense of Kahneman, or in the "risks in the medical and financial world are deliberately obfuscated by self-serving professionals" sense of Gigerenzer's Risk Savvy: How to Make Good Decisions, instead implicitly inviting readers to judge for themselves. Reading the non-judgmental Drugs chapter would benefit anyone expressing opinions on that issue. And a dramatic graphic (figure 6) shows the complete disconnect between the actual magnitude of risks and the extent of their media exposure.
My only mildly critical comments concern matters the authors are well aware of. The examples and data are mostly British, as in the literary style of fiction. It focuses on risks of death, rather than injuries or quality of life issues, for the usual reason that we have much clearer data on deaths, but this inevitably skews the choice of topics. Finally, the authors know perfectly well that the major serious risks to everyman Norm are in fact the smoking/alcohol/diet/exercise factors in Chapter 17; so it is ironic that, echoing the media disconnect mentioned above, the book devotes only 1 of 27 chapters to these factors.
The authors explore the evaluation and communication of risk through fictional characters: Norm, Prudence and the Kelvins and their journey's through life. Norm is the average man who uses reason and probability/statistics to traverse the challenges of life. Prudence is extremely risk averse and views the world through a lens of fear. The Kelvins are the risk-takers, the daredevils. Each chapter is themed on an important part of everyday life associated with risk. The chapter begins with a vignette in the lives of the characters, The vignette is followed by a clear, extremely interesting and sometimes provocative look at the data.
This book is brave in the scope of issues it covers and its honest discussion of the tension between our fast and slow thinking aspects of our brains (to use Kahneman's characterization). Topics such as transport, crime, sex, , hralthcare, unemployment, aging and death. The issues of framing, availability bias, our propensity to over and under-estimate risks are covered well.
The complex philosophical issues of what is probability, and do humans act rationally and the complexity of decision making are discussed. The authors arrive at a compassionate pragmatic view that probability is a tool that is our best bet for an event based on the available information that can be updated with new information. A tool that we can use to deal with uncertainty. The authors demonstrates a number of complex tools in understandable methods: the power of graphically visualizing data, the importance of realizing the expected values versus observed (example of Poisson model of murder rates), and the limitations our predictions.
I admit that I was not as much interested in the fictional narrative as the discussion of the data and its interpretation and limitation., This is an important, brave, at times humorous and clearly written book that should help us all think more clearly and risk and consequences.
Still, the book is not without a few boo-boos. On page 117, the authors state that "The prosecution has been caricatured in some quarters as typical of a country that tortured Galileo, typical of a public demand for fortune-telling from necessarily uncertain scientists." But Galileo was never tortured. Also the Index is wanting (Galileo, for example is not only misrepresented, but he’s indicia non gratis (sorry for my twisted Latin).