How to make the world add up

This is another ebook I read during holidays. I reminded me to “Calling Bullshit” as it is about finding the “truth” among the noise.

The autor leads a radio program “More or less” in BBC. Unfortunately, I dont find time for listening radio or podcast.

The start was very interesting about how an expert of a famous Dutch painter failed to spot a fake picture because he was obsessed with one details from the painter. And how the fake painter exploited that weakness (and from the whole Netherlands….)

To be honest, I didnt take notes so I am not going to remember many things.

I liked a lot the personal details about John Maynard Keynes life that I didnt know (I tried to read one of his books in the past and I failed miserably):

When my information changes, I alter my conclusions. What do you do, sir? (JMK)

The ten rules from the book:

1- Search your feelings (Johannes Vermeer fake paint and Nazis)

2- Ponder your personal experience (London trains are not busy….)

3- Avoid premature enumeration

4- Step back and enjoy the view

5- Get the back story

6- Ask who is missing:

The power to NOT collect data is one of the most important and little-understood sources of power that governments have… By refusing to amass knowledge in the first pace, decision-makers exert power over the rest of us. (Anna Powell-Smith)

7- Demand transparency when the computes says no: Google’s quest to find flu outbreaks via searches.

8- Don’t take statistical bedrock for granted: The need of an independent Statistics body for the country to help the governments with decisions. Examples in USA (Wilbur Mills, then Congressional Budget Office aka CBO), UK (Office for Budget Responsibility – OBR) and Greece (Andreas Gerogiou troubles)/Argentina (Graciela Bevacqua troubles).

9- Remember that misinformation can be beautiful too (Florence Nightingale)

10- Keep an open mind (John Maynard Keynes)


Be curious.