30 reviews between Feb 02, 2022 and Jun 08, 2023.
Learn how to make numbers meaningful and compelling in your communication. This book provides tips and techniques for conveying numerical information in a way that your audience can understand and remember. It emphasizes the use of examples, analogies, and visual aids to make numbers more relatable and accessible. Highly recommended for anyone who needs to communicate numbers effectively.Making Numbers Count: The Art and Science of Communicating Numbers: Heath, Chip, Starr, Karla:
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30 reviews between Feb 02, 2022 and Jun 08, 2023.
The focus of this book was how to covey numbers so that they make sense to the reader - and it succeeded by example. Using lots of examples, it demonstrated how a little more thought, and some basic techniques, could provide clarity to readers when numbers are used to convey information.
1. Communicating numbers effectively requires understanding both the art and science of presenting data.
2. The use of analogies, stories, and examples can make numbers more relatable and understandable for audiences.
3. Visual aids, such as charts and graphs, can help to simplify complex data and make it more accessible.
4. Using real-world examples and case studies can help to contextualize numbers and make them more relevant to audiences.
5. Clear and simple language is crucial for effectively communicating numbers.
6. Consistency in the way numbers are presented and labeled is important for avoiding confusion and misinterpretation.
7. Communicating numbers in a way that is easy to compare and understand can help audiences to identify trends and patterns.
8. Highlighting key data points, such as averages and outliers, can help audiences to understand the significance of numbers.
9. Communicating numbers in a way that is easy to remember, such as using simple rules of thumb, can help audiences to retain important information.
10. Using interactive tools and resources, such as online dashboards and apps, can help audiences to engage with and understand numbers in new ways.
Skip this book but if you do read it don't buy it -- get it from the library or simply go there and read it. There isn't much content in it and it is an easy read and a couple of hours is all you need.
But it is a few pages of content crammed into a couple hundred pages. The content is boiled down in the books appendix with three rules. Yes three. As I was reading the book, as part of a book club, we found ourselves talking about how a current chapter wasn't much different from the chapters before it and we asked ourselves what the point was. The author gave examples with the left side being the original version and the right side being the "better" version according the book. But many times I felt the left side was far superior to the right, "better", side. Superior meaning I understood what the author was trying to say on the left side whereas the right side left me bewildered. But this is sometimes an unfair assertion because the confusion really came from the book putting much more data in the right side and the rambling (yes - rambling) through that information made you miss the point of what the book was trying to say. The author should have taken much more time to ensure both sides had equal amounts of information. The book would also have been better if: 1. The set up three or four examples then used these examples in all of the comparisons so the reader can assimilate the technique the author was trying to showcase. 2. Provide more information about the technique--why it works, why it should be better, the nuances about it, the pitfalls that would make it wrong, and the best and worst places to use it. 3. Removing the attempts at wit. Let's face it, the author sorely missed the boat on each of these attempts.
I'm convinced this book was written by Karla Star. It reads like a magazine article and probably should have been left at a short magazine series (three or four articles at most). I've read a couple of Heath's books and this is not his style. So yes, I've been bamboozled by the publisher buying a book with the lead author I know and respect only to be disappointed because it really is not him.
This is a repetitive book that essentially presents the same information in different ways chapter after chapter. I will not be recommending this book to anyone.
Excellent book 📕! Highly recommended 👍
"Understanding numbers is essential—but humans aren’t built to understand them."
Except, of course, when humans do.
That single quote alone, found a few short lines down in the book's description, will tell you almost everything you need to know about this book. Almost. The rest -- i.e. the preposterously obvious, arrantly unconvincing tendentious tone, which pervades every page -- is an undisguised front for the authors' garden-variety left-wing political views. These views are of the most plaitudinous and even parody-like sort, and this, I can assure you, is written by someone who is no right-winger.
Make no mistake: the views espoused in this ridiculous excuse for a book are in no way intended as a parody. Nor are the authors (one of whom I know) remotely sophisticated in their politico-philosophical worldview.
"Understanding numbers is essential—but humans aren’t built to understand them."
I quote that again because it compendiates perfectly -- PERFECTLY -- the very quiddity of this book.
Humans are not only "built" to understand numbers. Humans are the reason for numbers.
The conceptual faculty -- and nothing but the conceptual faculty -- is what gives rise to numbers. Numbers <I>are</I> concepts. The authors with their dogmatic, concrete-bound haranguing fail to realize that neither they nor anyone else couldn't write a single word were it not for the human capacity to abstract.
Numbers are abstractions.
The word "concrete" is an abstraction.
If it weren't for our capacity to form and understand abstractions, there would be no such word as "concrete." Neither would there be any such word as "abstraction" -- just as there would be no such things as numbers, nor would there be the word "numbers," nor any brain able to apprehend it.
Words are abstractions, as numbers are abstractions. The human brain invents abstractions as a way to denote, classify, and organize existence. Existence is the concrete. But the word "concrete," which denotes and specifies some aspect of existence, is itself a concrete. The <i>word</i> is concrete, I repeat.
The authors in their dogmatic attempt to "make this stick" do not understand this. Their primary interest here is in propagandizing for a progressive political viewpoint which, I say again, is of the most embarrassing sort.
Our sensory apparatus, like all sensory apparatus, begins by registering some aspect of reality (which is also known as existence) and then the human faculty of reason, which is also known as the rational faculty or conceptual faculty, <i>abstracts</i> -- i.e. "it makes discrete, isolate, regards as separate; pulls away from," as Oxford so excellently expressed it -- and finally our conceptual apparatus denotes and thereby organizes and better retains what it has isolated by means of naming it. Naming it is the word.
Words are abstractions.
And so are numbers -- which humans alone, far from not being "built to understand numbers," as the authors inanely put it -- are able to grasp and build upon. Which is, in turn, exactly what humans do when they invent new numbers and higher applications for these numbers.
I strongly recommend that, unless you're prepared to get sicker than a dog or desire your heart to start beating like a drum, you avoid this book of political cliche like the plague. It will, you may depend upon it, cut you like a knife.
If you see what I'm saying.
Lots of creative examples of the central premise. Numbers alone don’t tell nearly as much until framed in a context that’s memorable. If more citations of numerical conclusions and decisions used these principles, more good decisions and outcomes would result. A very practical book with a subtle, but large impact.
As someone who conducts surveys, I can easily get excited by number data, and easily forget that not everyone else does. What I found interesting is that humans can barely understand numbers. The suggestion that you avoid numbers whenever possible is quite intriguing. Highly recommend for anyone who must communicate numerical data for the masses.
I am a fan of any book written by a Heath. This one did NOT disappoint! In my profession, we look at “data” all of the time. Too often, this data computes in our minds as numbers only. Numbers alone don’t inspire action. Creating a picture or a story around numbers helps us to realize the importance of our actions (or what we do next) to ensure the data/our numbers get better.
With clear examples, the authors teach us how to use words to make numbers meaningful and compelling. They give us the formulas for translation that create an emotional and human connection to information. Learn how and your impact will grow exponentially! A must-read for scientists.
The book has a great core idea, nails it, and stays entertaining as well as informative, and then it ends without wearing out it's welcome. Highly recommended if you need to communicate information to humans.
The author uses liberal talking points to illustrate numbers which makes no sense except to make political statements. These comments add nothing except making you want to stop reading. Just write a book and get off your soap box.
Whether you are creating a Powerpoint for investors, writing an annual report or attempting to convince others at a school board meeting, this explains techniques that make people truly understand the numbers involved.
Surprisingly, however, the authors neglected to mention that the impact of your examples depends on choosing elements that your audience can relate to. Many examples in the book are relentlessly American to the point that readers in other countries may not understand them. In addition, they talk about the difference between a million and a billion without mentioning that whereas in the US, a billion is a thousand million, in parts of Europe and in Latin America, a billion is a million million. Another example: not being a sports fan, I couldn't appreciate some of their examples that they obviously felt were crushing.
The book has several good ideas, clearly explained. The aggregate of advice was somewhat thin and even repetitive in a slim work. For some of the concepts, I did not like the examples, in that they were not especially effective, or they were not neutral. Skip the agenda-based examples, please.
Communicating complex numbers is an important skill. This book is a quick read that provides a number of tips and tricks to make it easier to inform an audience without confusing them.
It can be challenging to talk about numbers in a way that makes a point clearly and accurately. While humans can do math, it’s not always natural to deal with overly precise, overly small, or overly large numbers. Making Numbers Count is a guide to describing numerical information in a way that your audience can grasp, remember, and perhaps act on.
The book is organized into short single topic chapters with heuristics, rationals for the heuristics, and examples. The book is short, but if you want to dig deeper there are references in an appendix that you can explore. It concludes with an appendix with the key points to remember, and you can later refer back to the book for details). I finished the book motivated to be better at considering how best to describe data in a way that works for my audience and not just myself.
Making Numbers Count is a great resource for anyone who deals with numbers, which could be anyone, from an Analyst, Physician, or even an advocate discussing policy on a community Facebook group or with your neighbor . It’s a quick read that will help you be a more effective data communicator.
Very insightful with actionable ideas to make communication w/ numbers or statistics clear and understandable. Perfect for people who love numbers and those who would never consider themselves to be “numbers people”. Highly recommend.
Which we need more than ever now. Love the concept of "translating numbers" and putting them into context. Adding emotion and even awe to make numbers more comprehensible and memorable. Highly recommend, and would like to see more on covid statistics and numbers from these authors.
As always, Chip Heath delivers insightful theory combined with practical application!
How to communicate clearly and make numbers understandable. Especially in a time when folk dont seem to grasp numbers beyond their personal experience. Numbers can be used to help people rather than confuse or mislead.
Finally! A framework to help you communicate numbers in a way that people inherently understand... I've attempted this throughout the years by just stabbing in the dark until I came up with something manageable. Now I finally have a framework I can turn to whenever I'm looking to communicate numbers and data. Very useful and I've already started applying :)
Really helps shift perspective on how to best use numbers. I’ll be mining from this book for a long time.
I'm an engineer working for a government social service agency. Needless to say my style that may be suitable for other engineers doesn't get much traction with my social worker colleagues and managers/executives. "Making Numbers Count" should be a required course for engineers, analysts and anyone else with a technical background trying to communicate their work to non-technical audiences. I have no doubt that with practice it will make me more effective in supporting my organization's efforts to become more data-informed.
Very practical! You can start using the tricks provided from day 1 and bring the right attention to your story.
I am one of the biggest fans of the Heath brothers. I once bought copies of "Made to Stick" for every employee in my department. Their "Switch" is a powerful and approachable book on change management. To say the least, I had my hopes up for this new book on communicating with numbers. But it is dominated by examples promoting a progressive, Left leaning politic. Certainly, all the examples are not from a liberal platform, but so many are that it distracts from the intent of the book (?): communicating with numbers.
Sometimes the authors seem to offer examples and get into areas that are not that helpful (Ronald Reagan and the deck of cards), but in general, this is a very helpful book.
A smart, user-friendly manual for journalists, editors, PR people, social media managers - and everyone who wants to communicate effectively. Which means - most of us. As the authors put it in the introduction: we live in a world in which our success often depends on our ability to make numbers count.
The authors give many tips, techniques, and examples that will help us to present numbers in a clear and imaginative way. In a way it reminds me of Factfulness and I think that these two books make a good set.
Thanks to the publisher, Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster, and NetGalley for an advanced copy of this book.
Like the other books in the series, this is solid. Great instructions and examples of how to make your numbers approachable, understandable, and memorable. Also a quick, easy, and engaging read. Strongly recommend for anybody who’s job requires convincing people using numbers, statistics, etc.
Genuinely useful tips for anyone who wishes to heighten the imact and memorability of any given statistic(s) within a presentation. Other readers are likely to be entertained by the creative ways the authors use, shall I say, "numerous" examples to illustrate how numerical facts can be made more resonant. The chatty writing style makes the book all the more readable.
This book is for ANYONE that uses numbers. They are not understandable to most, so making them understandable is important if you want to make change happen. This give provides great insight on how to do that.
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