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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything about parsing numbers you want to know but were afraid to ask..
"I think numbers are the best way to represent the world's uncertainties", "I see numbers, I question them and I can interpret them for the less numerate", "I see numbers and I freeze". These three possible options are based on a rough categorisation of the attitudes I have seen towards numbers. Depending on my mood, they can amuse me or cause me despair.

In...
Published on 21 April 2010 by S. Yogendra

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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Longwinded
Longwinded, simplistic and repetitive. The authors take some interesting ideas and drag them unwillingly into a book length analysis which simply doesn't hold up. Not to sound snobbish, but if you have a passing knowledge of economics and maybe even read the Economist, you'll find this offering a little lowbrow.
Published 17 months ago by Miran Ali


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything about parsing numbers you want to know but were afraid to ask.., 21 April 2010
By 
S. Yogendra "Shefaly" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Tiger That Isn't: Seeing Through a World of Numbers (Paperback)
"I think numbers are the best way to represent the world's uncertainties", "I see numbers, I question them and I can interpret them for the less numerate", "I see numbers and I freeze". These three possible options are based on a rough categorisation of the attitudes I have seen towards numbers. Depending on my mood, they can amuse me or cause me despair.

In fact, I believe that, with the right degree of scepticism, and a willingness and an ability to question numbers both in absolute and relative terms, it is possible for everyone to make sense of numbers thrown at us every day. That is pretty much the premise - and the promise - of The Tiger That Isn't: Seeing Through A World of Numbers, by the journalist Michael Blastland and Andrew Dilnot, an Oxford Don. The book delivers brilliantly on the premise and the promise.

The introduction of the book says, rightly, that it is written from the point of view of the consumers of numbers; in fact, it is written for the consumers of numbers, which means people like you and me. Each chapter presents some examples that illustrate a typical problem with comprehending numbers, and then proceeds to demonstrate how to see those numbers in context and how to make sense of them. There are, in addition to the introduction, eleven chapters dealing with numbers-related issues including Size, Chance, Averages, Risk (my personal favourite), Data (my favourite heading in this book "Know the Unknowns") and Causation. While most of the examples are British - understandably because both authors are British - it is not difficult for the reader to apply the 'lessons' to numbers being bandied about in his or her own country.

Aimed at the non-numerate reader, the tone of the book is easy, the language accessible, the explanations lucid. Yet the book is not patronising in the least, which, in my book, is a considerable achievement in explaining apparently complex things. At 184 pages in all, it is not a hugely difficult read; the section on Further Reading will serve those, whose curiosities are piqued and whose courage with numbers restored on reading this book.

Reviewing this book is not easy. I could summarise all chapters for you, but it would be pointless. Yet not saying much about the contents of the individual chapters may make the review meaningless. It is worth every bit of the 90 minutes or so you will spend on it.

Usefulness note: I am known for buying books as presents for friends of all ages. This book would make an ideal present for a curious teenager, as well as those adults who have let 10 simple symbols terrify them for years. For younger readers, I would suggest conversations around the themes of the chapters so that they can get a feel for the numbers being bandied about.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, 14 Oct 2008
By 
Paul M. Clark (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Tiger That Isn't: Seeing Through a World of Numbers (Paperback)
A fascinating book. On the face of it, it is about statistics, but actually it is about something far deeper - how we perceive and interpret the information that affects all our lives deeply. Ex post, everything you read seems like common sense, ex ante however it is not. This simple, highly entertaining book will provide you with a practical sense of how to interpret much of what you hear in the press. You will never view a number in the same way again (and that is a very good thing).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and interesting., 23 May 2009
This review is from: The Tiger That Isn't: Seeing Through a World of Numbers (Paperback)
I saw this book at the airport, and I liked it, I saw it as a possibly interesting book. Finally, I bought it here at Amazon, mainly because I wanted to get some insights in statistics, but in a divulgative style. And this book fits perfectly for that. It teaches statistics from the ground with examples from the real life, with examples to which we are so used, and are very near to us. The book is written in a straightforward and clear way, thus one gets the ideas behind the book very well. At the end of the book there is a summary with the ideas briefly stated, so even better. Finally, the book is very nice to read because of the stories that tells, that give to the book a colourful and nice "novel"-style. I recommend absolutely this book to all the people in order to get a better idea of what statistics is and how the numbers that we see on the mainstream usually are obtained.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Making the boring bit of the news interesting., 6 Aug 2008
By 
J. Duducu (Ruislip) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Tiger That Isn't: Seeing Through a World of Numbers (Paperback)
Freakanomics got a big push by its publishers and was quite the book to be seen to be reading about a year ago. Here with "The tiger that isn't" is a similar book aimed at a similar market but with nowhere near the same exposure.

Essentially this is a very well written book that talks the layman (like me) through the fog of averages, chance and statistical anomalies. Yes, that does sound a bit dull but there are excellent down-to-earth examples and information that will stick in your mind. Did you know for example that you almost invariable have MORE than the AVERAGE number of feet?

It didn't get the full 5 stars as it is quite a slender tome (like Freakanomics) but it is always well written with thought provoking examples and a definite sense of humour.

If you want an intelligent and fun read on a topic that you are unlikely to know much about, or you want to know more about what numbers actually mean when they are grandly announced on the news then this is the book for you.

If you liked this there's more historical debate and fun at @HistoryGems on Facebook and Twitter
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended reading for anyone interested in statistical abuse, 17 Jan 2013
By 
Andrew Dalby "ardalby" (oxford) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Tiger That Isn't: Seeing Through a World of Numbers (Paperback)
The authors have presented a BBC radio program on statistics and one of the authors was also a regular contributor to the BBC website with articles on the abuse and misuse of statistics. Here they present an equation free view of how statistics can be misused by both politicians and those who should know better, scientists.

Some of the reviews have said that the book is too simple. It is true that it does not contain any formulae but that is a good thing. Formulae are not everything in Maths and Statistics. Sometimes the deeper insights are in the words, because the formulae are only a way of trying to make the words unambiguous and more rigorous. The explanations of the limits of averages is particularly important and revealing. Especially when the policy makers are further exposed in later chapters as having no idea about who pays the most tax and how much is the median wage. Making sense of the way statistics is presented and getting a deep view of how they fit into the real world is essential. I hate maths texts that have endless theorems and proofs for idealised equations that bear no relationship to reality. This is a book firmly based in the real world.

I think it it perhaps the best book I have read about the abuse of statistics and number in general. It is ideal as a text for a short course on the misrepresentation of data and I am going to make it recommended reading for future years.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This is the new edition of the book from 2007, 7 Feb 2009
By 
Mr. M. Jung (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Tiger That Isn't: Seeing Through a World of Numbers (Paperback)
Numbers are important when it comes to displaying real results. Whether it is in politics, welfare, business or just doing your tax, drug testing, cancer and many other real-life examples given in this book. Numbers give a more honest answer than any one can put into words. Thus this read is eye-opening and giving more 'aha - there we have it!' effects than you would get from any car review Jeremy Clarkson ever given on TV.

Don't fear the dull math from school, this is certainly not in here.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Facts behind the Numbers, 13 Nov 2011
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This review is from: The Tiger That Isn't: Seeing Through a World of Numbers (Paperback)
The book to read if you enjoy BBC Radio 4's More or Less. Very easy to read - you quickly learn why 300 million is a fairly small number whilst 6 is a very big number. Learn how journalist pounce on real numbers but distort the facts. An enjoyable read that chalenges while it entertains
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent exploration of how badly statistics can be misinterpreted, 23 Oct 2011
By 
Jim J-R (West Sussex, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Tiger That Isn't: Seeing Through a World of Numbers (Paperback)
An excellent exploration of how badly statistics can be misinterpreted and misreported, both by those with their own agenda and those who are tasked with communicating the truth to the public - much like the authors, two BBC journalists. The book splits the problems faced in reporting numbers into one issue per chapter and demonstrates with plenty of examples how badly results can be reported.

It's a really good book that I would certainly recommend to anyone who has to use statistics, whether reporting them to the public or just internally within an organisation, and especially managers and politicians who need to base their decisions on these reports. Even in my own recent experience at work there have been people I've wanted to hit over the head with this book.

One thing that must be noted is that the book needs to be read in small chunks - a chapter at a time. It's not something to read in one or two sittings, and it's a book that probably needs to be returned to a few times for the messages to sink in. I'll be keeping it handy at work for when I'm faced with numbers, and plan to offer it around my colleagues too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Useful insights for daily life, 28 Dec 2010
This review is from: The Tiger That Isn't: Seeing Through a World of Numbers (Paperback)
At some point in your life you may have read too many popular science books. In that case, stop reading them. Except for the "Tiger that isn't", because this book is more than a book that presents statistics in a popular way. Without the use of any formula this books gives you thorough insights in how to interpret statistical statements that you may encouter in daily life. Anyone who reads a newspaper will find this book useful.

You don't need to be a statistician to read this book. At the same time, even those who studied statistics will appreciate the many interesting examples and the way the author looks at them.

Many popular science books are fun to read but don't give a real understanding of the theory that is behind it. These books are in my opinion unsatisfactory. But "The Tiger that isn't" isn't.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Interesting and Entertaining, 27 Oct 2009
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This review is from: The Tiger That Isn't: Seeing Through a World of Numbers (Paperback)
Great book. Some very interesting points are made in this book in an entertaining way
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The Tiger That Isn't: Seeing Through a World of Numbers
The Tiger That Isn't: Seeing Through a World of Numbers by Michael Blastland (Paperback - 10 July 2008)
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