Mindware

Tools for Smart Thinking
by Richard E. Nisbett

At Altometrics we like to make tools, so the subtitle of this book caught my eye. If you have read Thinking, Fast and Slow this is a good followup book. The scope of the book is broader, but the author is thinking about thinking and using social research to get at how we really think vs. how we like to imagine we think.
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Singletasking

Get More Done One Thing at a Time
by Devora Zack

I’m no single-tasking champion or anything, but I’m already on board with the idea which means I’m not sure how convincing the first part of the book is. It may be that the first section isn’t effective to convince an inveterate multi-tasker.
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Red Team

How to succeed by thinking like the enemy
by Micah Zenko

6 Best practices for Red Teams:

Red Teams must:
Be outside & objective while being inside & aware
Be fearless skeptics with finesse (and a little odd)
Have a bag of tricks (that doesn’t grow stale)

The Organizations that want to implement red teaming must:
Have a boss that buys into the process (This is listed first in the book because it is most important)
Be willing to hear bad news and act on it
Red team just enough, but no more.

Superforcasting

The Art and Science of Prediction
by Philip E. Tetlock & Dan Gardner

The authors claim that by properly selecting questions and keeping predictors accountable, certain events can be predicted more accurately than chance.

The book describes an experiment that Tetlock designed like a forecasting tournament. He and his team selected questions that were time limited and verifiable so that the scoring wasn’t arbitrary.
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Antifragile

by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

The sub-title, “Things that gain from disorder” clarifies the meaning of the title.

The author claims that almost everyone says the opposite of fragile is something like robust or resilient. Whereas fragile things are harmed by disorder, robust things are unaffected by disorder. There wasn’t a word for things that benefit from disorder, so he coined the word “antifragile”. Much of the book is giving examples of things that are antifragile and exploring the concept.

The previous book in this series was Black Swan, the author’s term for an extreme event so rare you can’t predict it. For example, a catastrophic flood many feet above the 100-year flood line would be a Black Swan. (In other words: an unpredictable rare event of large consequence)
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Random Annie

We started posting on twitter, facebook, linkedin, and google+ this week, so there’s a little less grist for the mill but here’s a few good articles we’ve been thinking about:

Irresponsible Freedom

We’ve got social psychology, robotics and AI, personal uses of data algorithms, and a historical call for voluntary self-restraint:

Big Easy

Among other things we’ve been reading about neuroscience, society, financial market prediction, and statistical research results this week:

Look Around You

…there is data lurking around every corner. There are a few longer reads this week. This is what we have been reading and thinking about in the realm of technology, history, business, and data: