Kahnemann: Thinking, Fast and Slow

Daniel Kahnemann got the nobel prize for his study. And he wrote one of the most important books on behavioural economics – ever. Does this have anything to do with tech. Not at first. But it is all about intuition, analysis and formulas and how we make desicions based on gut feeling or rationality. And now that we are entering a more and more data- and metric-driven society, it is about time to think about why we are acting the way we do and what algorithms want us to do. One thing upfront: this book is awesome!

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Silver: The Signal and the Noise

Nate Silver is the wunderkind of American media. On his blog FiveThirtyEight he managed to predict the outcome of the last US presidential election with a precision never seen before. Silver bases his estimation on the works of Thomas Bayes and his „Essay towards solving a Problem in the Doctrine of Chances“. Silver’s success with this approach is astonishing and casts a shadow on the work of political pundits and experts. In “Signal and the Noise” he explains how he does that.

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Ormerod: Why most things fail

Paul Ormerod’s „Why most things fail“ was published in 2005. Before the subprime crisis, but nevertheless it is a crisis book, that deals with information, lack of information and „bounded rationality“ (Stieglitz / Akerlof). The question is the very basic „why do companies fail?“ – a welcome antonym to all sorts of overconfident management literature. And it seems to me it is he last book written before Big Data came to life. Ormerod leaves some barriers to decision-making and predictive analysis – these are exactly the barriers companies – such as Google or Amazon – try to break.

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Klausnitzer: Das Ende des Zufalls

Big Data ist schwer in Mode. In diversen Artikeln liest man immer wieder welche Datenmengen täglich produziert werden. Klar, hier müssen wahre Informationsschätze liegen, die weit größer sind als das was Werbung und Marktforschung liefern können – vom „Schwarzen Gold“ des Informationszeitalters ist die Rede. Die Revolution liegt aber ganz woanders: statt sich auf die Intuition und die Analyse von Experten zu verlassen, suchen unbestechliche Filter und Algorithmen nach Mustern und interpretieren diese.

Der österreichische Journalist hat Big Data ein Buch gewidmet und verspricht darin das Ende des Zufalls. Die Kombination von intelligenter Analyse mit den technologischen Möglichkeiten der Verarbeitung extrem großer Datenmengen eröffne zudem völlig neue Perspektiven und verändert grundlegend das Kopf-Bauch-Verhältnis von Entscheidungsfindungen, so Klausnitzer.

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Flyvbjerg: Megaprojects and Risk

When he wrote „Megaprojects and Risk“ Bent Flyvbjerg is Professor in the Department of Development and Planing at Aalborg University, Denmark. You wouldn’t expect a crime thriller from someone in that position – and you don’t get one. But Flyvbjerg refers to a concept called the zero-friction world and he points out, that we are living in a world that doesn’t allow any friction. Google’s latency tought us to be impatient – and even megaprojects have to be finished early, financed thoroughly and communicated transparently. Impossible.

Flyvbjerg

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