|Different Statistical Distributions|
To those like him, their experience tells them that data is the flag of the insecure. Data, or numbers, make anyone sound smarter than they are and keeps others form asking further proving questions. Perhaps worse, data also fails on an almost periodic basis. Who can forget the market catastrophe that resulted from Long Term Capital Management's misguided deployment of Nobel Prize winning mathematics? In 1998, the famous algorithms created a global economic meltdown.
|Late Richard Feynman|
To me, what makes data fail is not data itself, but our inability to use it properly. Whether an ignorance of what to measure or of how to interpret what was measured, data can prove to be quite difficult for even the most committed. This is especially true for the many who think that math is something that was left behind as we departed from school and that it should have no place in the real wold of business. But science offers this fantastic tool to help us make desired results predictable and repeatable. We just need to learn how to use it properly.
|Moneyball by Michael Lewis|
As a science optimist, I very much loved the book. Reading that Baseball has already demonstrated that regression analysis and statistical rigor can be used for unbelievable performance left me as happy as a child in a candy store. And that says nothing about the fact that the benefits can be quantified in real dollars. Baseball teams pay for success with either dollars or math.
The book is not a dry regurgitation of data. No, it is a fun narration by a writer who has demonstrated tremendous bandwidth and an ability to communicate in the most fluid fashion. If you love baseball, you will enjoy the book. On the other hand, if you are religious about the "proper" way the sport of baseball should be played, then this book will piss you off. The dividing line is quite fine.
|Moneyball 2002 Year; source: Wikipedia|
In the end, math helps the underdog win. And who in America doesn't like to root for the underdog?