Turning Numbers into Knowledge: Mastering the Art of Problem Solving Hardcover – Apr 28 2008
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From the Author
This book grew out of my experience in training analysts whom I've hired in the past decade. It is written for beginning problem solvers in business, government, consulting, and research professions, and for students of business and public policy. It is also intended for supervisors of such analysts, professors, and entrepreneurs (who may not consider themselves analysts but who need to create analyses to justify their business plans to potential investors). Finally, it covers many topics that journalists who focus on scientific or business topics will find useful.
Ive included cartoons and other amusing graphics, as well as quotes and examples galore. The chapters are short and to the point, with plenty of further reading in the back for readers who want to explore further. I hope that any person who takes an intelligent interest in the world will enjoy it and find it useful. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
* Examine key factors, such as information, attention and action within the context of a cycle of actions that begins with goals, and moves through execution, how events in the external world influence the meeting of those goals, an evaluation and refinement of goals. Then the process starts anew.
* Structured methods for getting organized. The techniques given are simple, yet powerful.How to collect and critically analyze data and information, common fallacies and how to spot them. Two of my favorite parts that reinforce these are then single-page chart titled "What Scientists Say, and What They Mean", and Chapter 20 (Uncertainty Principle and the Mass Media).
* The straightforward process of numerical analysis, using relatively simple math techniques to make sense of numbers and turn them into knowledge, is priceless. What makes this part of the book valuable is that the author integrates the preceding chapters that lead you to a critical thinking mindset with common sense and techniques that are within the grasp of high school students. It looks easy, but is testimony to the author's exceptional ability to communicate and inspire.
Overall this book is one of my personal favorites and one that I recommend to colleagues. Another book that complements this one nicely is Systems Thinking: Managing Chaos and Complexity by Jamshid Gharajedaghi.
Filled with useful tools and tips for problem solving under real-life situations it is one of the most useful books available. "Turning Numbers Into Knowledge: Mastering the Art of Problem Solving" is a masterful work in the area of critical analysis and a highly recommended read for anyone involved in creating or using information of any kind.
Non-scientists & scientists alike will find useful:
1) the methods and ideas for analyzing and testing for plausibility the everyday information encountered in the media,
pointers to finding logical flaws in arguments, and common tricks used by presenters in order to be ambiguous or downright deceptive.
2) simple methods of keeping facts at your fingertips
3) the chapters on life improvement and work-efficiency which made this book pay for itself in a matter of days.
4) helpful links to the Internet and to other books.
Scientists and Engineers in particular will find useful
· The back-of-the-envelope numerical methods. Many sci/engs do not use them enough.
· The description of the scientific process, of which they are (often unconsciously) a part.
· Suggestions on efficient, non-sloppy data analysis. The examples on data analysis are somewhat geared to the field of Energy Analysis, but easy to understand and generalize; in the process I learnt something about that field.
· suggestions for clear, concise presentation of text and figures during presentation of results.
This is also a good book to lend to a student intern or new employee to teach them back of the envelope statistical methods, how to get organized, and good habits, both organizational and data-analysis wise.
I suggest using this book to do a quick "needs analysis" of your research style. Turn to the Preface and read through the annotated table of contents to identify the research tactic you most need to improve. (Mine was "Establish a Filing System.") You can assimilate the corresponding chapter in a few minutes and begin improving your skills.
With 38 different chapters covering topics that range from overcoming "Beginner's Mind" to "Use the Internet" there is something for every researcher. I can envision an undergraduate research methods professor leading beginning researchers through a needs assessment discussion and assigning them to both remediate their top weakness and sharpen their top strength--knowing all the time that many will be enticed into reading most of the other chapters, too. (I can also imagine a surly senior professor hurling it at his new research assistant with "Don't bother me until you have read this!" I suppose that teaching strategy would work, too. But I won't recommend it.)
The chapters are well organized and easy to learn from. Resources include both recommended books for in-depth exploration of each topic and a large number of relevant web sites for fast-click discovery. The book's own web site is a great place to start.
A great resource to sharpen your research abilities and an enjoyable read, this book is worth its place on your bookshelf.
Most recent customer reviews
I thought this book would be about quantitative approaches to solving problems. However, the author brilliantly weaved in a lot of common sense and practical advice on how to... Read morePublished on April 6 2012 by Horace McPherson
This book is quite useful for those are not good at numbers (like me) as well as those are. I got this book for my Consulting Skills class and it is great both for reading and... Read morePublished on Feb. 19 2010 by D. Le
In his role as leader of the End-Use Forecasting Group in the Environmental Energy Technologies Division of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Jonathan Koomey is professionally... Read morePublished on Nov. 30 2001 by Paul Preuss
Jonathan Koomey is a Staff Scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, a position he has held since 1984. Read morePublished on Sept. 12 2001 by Midwest Book Review
Turning Numbers Into Knowledge offers wise and witty advice on organizing your time/space and deciphering data in a world of information overload. Read morePublished on Aug. 8 2001 by Kayla V Roach
Dr. Koomey presents an excellent, concise, comprehensive, and extremely well written compilation of guidelines, common sense, and "rules of behavior" for analysts and anyone... Read morePublished on July 26 2001 by Richard L. Brehm
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