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How We Use Numbers to Decide What Matters

Deborah Stone



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06 October 2020
Early in her extraordinary career, Deborah Stone wrote Policy Paradox, a landmark work on politics. Now, in Counting, she revolutionizes how we approach numbers and shows how counting shapes the way we see the world. Most of us think of counting as a skill so basic that we see numbers as objective, indisputable facts. Not so, says Stone. In this playful-yet-probing work, Stone reveals the inescapable link between quantifying and classifying, and explains how counting determines almost every facet of our lives?from how we are evaluated at work to how our political opinions are polled to whether we get into college or even out of prison. But numbers, Stone insists, need not rule our lives. Especially in this age of big data, Stone's work is a pressing and spirited call to reclaim our authority over numbers, and to take responsibility for how we use them.
By:   Deborah Stone
Imprint:   Liveright
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 218mm,  Width: 145mm,  Spine: 30mm
Weight:   441g
ISBN:   9781631495922
ISBN 10:   1631495925
Pages:   312
Publication Date:   06 October 2020
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Deborah Stone is an acclaimed scholar who has taught at Brandeis, MIT, and universities around the world. Her award-winning book Policy Paradox has captivated readers through three decades, four editions, and six translations-but who's counting? She lives in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Reviews for Counting: How We Use Numbers to Decide What Matters

[An] incisive treatise. . . . Stone distills a wealth of thinking about statistics and their psychological and social foundations into lucid, engaging prose, illustrated with piquant graphics and cartoons . . . [This] is a stimulating layperson's guide to the pseudo-mathematical rationalizations behind so much of what governments do. An indispensable triumph.--Virginia Eubanks, author of Automating Inequality Anyone who believes that 2 x 30 is equal to 3 x 20 is in for a delightful surprise.--Charles Wheelan, author of Naked Statistics Deborah Stone makes clear in her delightful new book that counting, that most basic mathematical activity, is anything but basic or mathematical when the topic is the social world. . . . The book is both enlightening and a joy to read.--John Allen Paulos, author of Innumeracy and A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper Deborah Stone's book, reckoning with the mechanisms and myths of numbers--but also with their morality and politics--adds up to a profound meditation on this essential yet so rarely considered marker of the human. . . . An enlightenment and a call for justice.--James Carroll, author of The Cloister Deborah Stone's inspired book could not be better timed. Endless arguments about how to construct and understand COVID-19 statistics prove her point--ostensibly objective numbers are never neutral. Stone brings to this endeavor her signature brilliance at demystifying daunting topics.--Robert Kuttner, coeditor of American Prospect How does Deborah Stone keep doing this? She has an unerring ability to see our culture in an entirely new light and transform the way we think. Every page sparkles with insight and delight.--Colonel Wallace Earl Walker, PhD, U.S. Army, retired, founding dean of the Citadel School of Business Administration In this splendid book, Deborah Stone reveals that what we count depends on what we consider important, which in turn reflects how we make meaning out of a world of infinite facts and possibilities. Required reading for anyone who's interested in the truth.--Robert B. Reich, Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley This book is hard to put down. With a sharp wit and vivid examples from real life, Stone shows that numbers are never as straightforward as we're taught in school. Whether they inform or mislead depends a lot on who is using them and why.--Marcia Angell, MD, former editor-in-chief, New England Journal of Medicine

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