The book Super Crunchers: Why Thinking by Numbers Is the New Way to Be Smart by Ian Ayres is a comprehensive overview of society’s development from the time when people relied on predictions based on experience to nowadays when the reliable data is used as a way to determine the future happenings.
The introductory part of this book gives an overview of how quality of wine can be predicted. It states that over the times, prediction over the quality of wine has been based on the weather patters (Ayres 4). The temperatures and level of rainfall have been the major determinants of the quality of wine. However, Orley Ashenfelter came up with a way in which data could be used to determine the possibilities of having a quality wine.
Though many have criticized Orley’s formula, Michael Broadbent, who is the chairperson of International Wine Department at Christie’s in London, appreciates the fact that the findings of Orley are workable in the current society that is so obsessed with data (Ayres 8).
Just like wine, baseball results may not be determined by how well the members of a certain team are as compared to another team. The only sure way to predict the winner in such a game is to watch the game itself and compare the strong sides of the two teams in the field (Ayres 14).
Chapter one of this book titled ‘Who Is Doing Your Thinking’ is a close analysis of the factors that determine the decision-making processes of a person. The current society has witnessed changes from what used to happen in the past. Decision in the current society must be backed by some data. If this is not done as thus, the decision may remain an opinion that lacks for relevance (Ayres 20). This chapter focuses on the factors that would influence the decision of an individual on certain aspects of life.
Chapter two puts more emphasis on the importance of using data as a means of supporting decisions of a person. It suggests steps through which an individual can create data to support his or her own decisions. Chapter 3 looks at how governments make decision. It observes that governments around the world base their decisions on data rather than opinionated reasoning (Ayres 69). Chapter 4 is an overview of the importance of relevant data to professionals like physicians when undertaking their duties.
Analysis of the Book
The world is fast changing because of the changes brought about by technology. Technological advancements have seen changes in how decisions are made by an individual, a group, a society, or state (Ayres 14). The book Super Crunchers: Why Thinking by Numbers Is the New Way to Be Smart is a detailed overview of how decisions are made by different units and the impact of such decisions on their makers.
Decision making process is not an easy task. Ayres (31) asserts that it is not bad for one to give an opinion on a given subject. However, it will remain an opinion. Depending on the person giving the opinion, it may or may not be taken seriously. Making decision based on past occurrences may at times be misleading.
This author notes that as much as one may determine the performance of a team by the abilities of the players, it may not be advisable to make a rushed up decision on how such a team will perform against another team. The best way to know the winner is to watch the game. It is only through this that one may report on the game (Ayres 8).
Similarly, quality of wine may be determined by various factors. The most determining factors of the quality of wine are weather and temperatures. However, it may be illogical to make assumptions based on these factors if one has not tested the wine. It will remain an opinion if such a person praises or criticizes wine because the only sure way to make a judgment is through tasting the vine (Ayres 9). The world has turned to be to much depended on numbers. Technology has increased the need to have supportive data that is quantifiable.
Because of his love for wine, Orley Ashenfelter came up with modalities of determining quality of wine quantitatively. He took rate of rainfall during and before the harvest, and the temperature rates as the variables (Ayres 5). Using this information, he developed a formula that would enable a qualitative approach to establishing a judgment on the quality of wine (Ayres 6).
Although some critics have disagreed with the mathematical concept put in place by Orley in determining quality of wine, a number of current analysts have agreed with the theory as the most convenient and appropriate for the current society.
Michael Broadbent observes that the current society is very sensitive, that is why the matters concerning certain aspects of life must be seriously taken into account (Ayres 4). For this to be achieved, it is necessary that some form of data that would support one’s opinion would be made available. However, this view is strongly opposed by Robert Parker, a renowned publisher. He notes that it is impractical to come up with some mathematical concepts to make a general idea about a given factor in the society (Ayres 6).
The society is very dynamic, and factors that may influence a certain result may not be held after some time. Therefore, it would be illogical to come up with some fixed formula in determining quality of wine (Ayres 7). The only way to know the quality of wine is to taste it just as it is necessary to report on a movie after watching it.
Bruce Kaiser says, “Young wines are changing so quickly that no one, I mean no one, can really evaluate a vintage at all by taste, until it is ten years old, perhaps older” (Ayres 4). This perception differs from that of Orley and Parker. Parker argues that taste is important in determining quality, Bruce insists that time is the most important factor, while Orley thinks that developing some quantitative approaches would be of help in determining its quality (Ayres 6).
As this author states in chapter two, it is important for one to ensure that the decisions he or she makes are not influenced in any way by factors that cannot be authenticated. A show of maturity in thought is exhibited when an individual makes decision that can be supported by solid facts (Ayres 21).
It is irrational to make decisions based on the thinking of another individual if that thinking lacks some supportive data. This is further emphasized in chapter eight. As stated in this chapter, it is normal for an individual to have a certain perception towards a certain concept that would shape their attitude towards it (Ayres 31). It is important to develop such perceptions after a careful and unbiased analysis of the same.
The institutions of leadership are faced with various instances that require decision-making. Governance goes beyond showing the subject which should be followed (Ayres 69). The system should be always fair and seen as such. Judgments made by such institutions should be based on some common guidelines that are free from bias from whichever angle.
Governance by chance can be very dangerous both to the governed and the government. It is obvious that in such cases, there will be dissatisfaction from the governed. They will show their attitude in a way that may jeopardize the position of leadership (Ayres 77).
Professionals may also need to base their argument on some facts. This may be showed in a form of experience that can be recorded by other professionals in that field or any other solid evidence. As a physician, it is very important to note that life of an individual is priceless (Ayres 88).
For this matter, one should not try to experiment with life of a patient, especially with drugs that are not tested. As a physician, it is recommended for the one to use tried and tested medications. Evidence based medicine should be used in cases of emergency (Ayres 97). However, this should not limit the need to conduct further research.
A Reflection of the Book
The information in the assigned chapters is very important as they explain the importance of making decisions based on some fact. Judgment, as outlined in the first four chapters of this book, is always vital to both the individuals and the organizations. Opinions may be necessary at times, but it is worth noting that in most cases, they are easy to assume because they lack evidence.
As such, they remain baseless, especially if the person making such opinions does not command authority in that field. On the other hand, judgments are made after looking at the evidence, which is available. Based on the given data, the judgment made will be easy to trust by other individuals.
As a class, there are various occasions that judgment has to be applied. One of such examples can be observed during an examination. An exam requires an individual not only to give an opinion about the subject matter, but also to back that thought with some available evidence.
The student makes more judgments than just gives opinions. The exams demand judgments. As Ayres (15) states in this book, a decision made by an individual should reflect and exam some evidence, a data that can easily be referred to in case there is a need to do so.
Another important objective in a class set up is to facilitate the development of individuals who are in a position to make decisions on various issues outside classroom. This may be in places of employment after a completion of the course, or within the society one lives in. In either way, the decision should have some factual evidence from which it draws it validity. This would make such judgments be trusted by individuals concerned.
The information in this text is relevant to individuals and groups. This book challenges the basis upon which certain decisions are made and states the importance of the background of these conclusions. Thus, a decision made by individual without factual back ups may remain just an opinion with no grounds to support it.
Ayres, Ian. Super Crunchers: Why Thinking by Numbers Is the New Way to Be Smart. New York: Bantam Dell, 2007. Print.