Super Crunchers | Ian Ayres

Summary of: Super Crunchers: Why Thinking-By-Numbers is the New Way To Be Smart
By: Ian Ayres


Welcome to the world of Super Crunchers! This intriguing book, written by Ian Ayres, explores the power of statistical analysis in our everyday lives. You are about to embark on a journey through the realms of data-driven decision-making, where you’ll discover how complex concepts like regression and randomization are transforming our understanding of everything from wine quality to medical treatments and even relationships. Get ready to challenge traditional assumptions and delve into the incredible ways that super crunching is reshaping our world. Engaging and thought-provoking, this summary will guide you through some compelling examples and show you why thinking by numbers is the new way to be smart!

The Power of Super Crunching

Super crunching, the statistical analysis of large data sets, has numerous practical applications. For instance, it helps predict the quality of vintage wine by analyzing historical weather data; wine dealers now use this method to determine the future value of a wine. Similarly, Bill James used data-based analysis, rather than merely assessing a player’s form through observation, to conclude that Jeremy Brown, an overweight player, had potential as a baseball player. Brown’s successful major league debut proved James’s calculations accurate. Super crunching can be a powerful tool across multiple fields and challenges conventional wisdom.

The Power of Regression

Regression, a statistical super crunching technique, is capable of predicting future events and detecting fraud. This technique involves using historical data to determine how different factors impact a particular variable of interest. Regression is used by eHarmony to determine romantic compatibility by assessing various emotional, social, and cognitive factors that influence the relationship. The dating platform uses regression to generate an equation that predicts compatibility between users accurately. Similarly, regression is also used to analyze past events or patterns to identify fraudulent activities. In one instance, regression was used to expose fraud in public construction projects in New York, where con artists used bribery to place the lowest bid just below the original one. Regression is a very effective method that allows individuals to examine historical data to detect fraudulent activities and make predictions about future events, including matters of love.

Super Crunching for Medical and Business Worlds

The use of super crunching in medical and business research is becoming increasingly common and effective. Randomized testing, a powerful super crunching technique, is revolutionizing medical research by allowing researchers to determine whether a treatment is effective. Randomized testing involves randomly assigning patients to different treatment groups, eliminating the impact of small variables like lifestyle habits. Randomized testing is also being utilized in the business world to determine the effectiveness of marketing strategies by using software to randomly display different designs and analyzing which generates more clicks or purchases. Overall, super crunching is transforming the way we approach research and providing new insights in both medical and business fields.

The Power of Randomized Testing

Randomized testing is changing the landscape of public policy and global economic development. Politicians and organizations are using data generated from randomized trials to make more informed decisions. For instance, the Move to Opportunity experiment is helping policymakers decide if housing vouchers benefit poor families. Randomized trials are also being used in developing countries to test poverty-fighting strategies. The Poverty Action Lab at MIT has demonstrated the effectiveness of small pilot studies in identifying successful measures to be implemented on a larger scale. By measuring the impact of specific policies and strategies on various areas of life like employment, education, health, and crime, randomized testing provides valuable and concrete information for policymakers. The use of randomized testing is revolutionizing the way politics operates in the modern world, allowing for more effective and efficient decision-making processes.

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