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Content by Kevin Hartnett
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Reviews Written by
Kevin Hartnett (Huntsville, Alabama)

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Turning Numbers into Knowledge: Mastering the Art of Problem Solving
Turning Numbers into Knowledge: Mastering the Art of Problem Solving
by Jonathan G. Koomey PhD
Edition: Hardcover
13 used & new from CDN$ 15.93

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars not for the technically minded, Jan. 17 2003
This is an entertaining and well written book on some of the do's and don'ts of data analysis. To quote from Dr. Beers review below, "The main emphasis is on the art of data interpretation." Indeed there are useful tools here for performing sanity checks and for asking critical questions about all sorts of data collections. ... The examples are, at best, sketchy and few in number. The anectodes are amusing but not terribly informative. I would have much preferred more concrete examples and further discussion on some technical matters. ....

Cathedral: The Story of Its Construction
Cathedral: The Story of Its Construction
by David Macaulay
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 13.92
64 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, but short on detail., March 18 2001
I bought this work, and one other MacAulay book, Castle, in the hope of learning some of the intricate details of these Medieval engineering marvels. Sadly there is a dearth of detail in both of these books and they are disappointingly brief. Admittedly, these are children's books and designed for kids' limited attention spans and lack of technical background. For this reason I give the books five stars for young readers. Adult readers will find their appetites for information insufficiently whetted and I can only provide three stars for them.

Truth Machine
Truth Machine
by James Halperin
Edition: Hardcover
32 used & new from CDN$ 4.72

2.0 out of 5 stars No long noses in Halperin's world - too bad!, Sept. 2 1997
This review is from: Truth Machine (Hardcover)
Well, "The Truth Machine" turned into a major disappointment. Why do some authors feel that their characters have to be the most handsome, richest, most intelligent, most famous people on earth to be engaging? The book started off with some interesting premises and characters, but then it just became another trite pop-novel about the problems of the rich and famous. The protagonist was, of course, the richest and most moral (there's an oxymoron!) person on earth due to his super intellect and his perfect memory. All his 'girlfriends' were the most beautiful women you could imagine and, naturally, the brightest. Not to say that beautiful women and men can't be intelligent, or that rich people don't have problems. It's just that these kinds of portrayals are so much fantasy that I can't sympathize with any of it.

And the story line soon becomes ludicrous, too. The eponymous truth machine helps create a perfect world where all crime and deception are steadily eliminated and everybody lives in bliss. I would have been more entertained if Halperin had shown the truth machine taking society in a completely different direction, revealing a hidden, sinister side or some bizarre characteristic (a la "1984"). Instead his Utopia is bland and homogenous and, as a result, uninteresting. Frankly I'd be bored to tears in his kind of world.

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