The Uncounted by Alex Cobham

The Blurb On The Back:

What we count matters – and, in a world where policies and decisions are underpinned by numbers, statistics, and data, if you’re not counted, you don’t count.

Alex Cobham argues that systematic gaps in economic and demographic data lead us not only to understate a wide range of damaging inequalities, but also to actively exacerbate them.  He shows how, in statistics ranging from electoral registers to household surveys and census data, people from disadvantaged groups, such as indigenous populations, women and people living with disabilities, are consistently underrepresented.  This further marginalises them, reducing everything from their political power to their weight in public spending decisions.  Meanwhile, corporations and the ultra rich seek ever greater complexity and opacity in their financial affairs – and when their wealth goes unallied, it means they can avoid regulation and taxation.

This brilliantly researched book shows how what we do and don’t count is not a neutral or ‘technical’ question: the numbers that rule our world are skewed by raw politics.  Cobham forensically lays bare how these issues strike at the heart of our democracy, entrenching inequality and injustice – and outlines what we can do about it.  

Thanks to the Amazon Vine Programme for the review copy of this book.

You can order THE UNCOUNTED by Alex Cobham from Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Waterstone’s or Bookshop.org UK.  I earn commission on any purchases made through these links.

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):

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The Money Formula: Dodgy Finance, Pseudo Science And How Mathematicians Took Over The Markets by Paul Wilmott and David Orrell

The Blurb On The Back:

There is no blurb on the back, but there are the following quotes:

“This book has humour, attitude, clarity, science and common sense; it pulls no punches and takes no prisoners.” 

Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Scholar and former trader

”There are lots of people who’d prefer you didn’t read this book: financial advisors, pension fund managers, regulators and more than a few politicians.  That’s because it makes plain their complicity in a trillion dollar scam that nearly destroyed the global financial system.  Insiders Wilmott and Orrell explain how it was done, how to stop it happening again – and why those with the power to act are so reluctant to wield it.” 

Robert Matthews, Author of Chancing It: The Laws Of Chance And How They Can Work For You

”Few contemporary developments are more important – and more terrifying – than the increasing power of the financial system in the global economy.  This book makes it clear that this system is operated either by people who don’t know what they are doing or who are so greed-stricken that they don’t care.  Risk is at dangerous levels.  Can this be fixed?  It can and this book – full of healthy scepticism and high expertise – shows how.” 

Bryan Appleyard, Author and Sunday Times writer

”In a financial world that relies more and more on models that fewer and fewer people understand, this is an essential, deeply insightful as well as entertaining read.”

Joris Luyendijk, Author of Swimming With Sharks: My Journey Into The World Of The Bankers

”A fresh and lively explanation of modern quantitative finance, its perils and what we might do to protect against a repeat of disasters like 2008-09.  This insightful, important and original critique of the financial system is also fun to read.” 

Edward O. Thorp, Author of A Man For All Markets and New York Times bestseller Beat The Dealer

You can order THE MONEY FORMULA: DODGY FINANCE, PSEUDO SCIENCE AND HOW MATHEMATICIANS TOOK OVER THE MARKETS by Paul Wilmott and David Orrell and David Orrell from Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Waterstone’s or Bookshop.org UK.  I earn commission on any purchases made through these links.

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Bad Choices: How Algorithms Can Help You Think Smarter And Live Happier by Ali Almossawi

The Blurb On The Back:

The secret recipe for modern success. 

Ali Almossawi’s first book Bad Arguments (“A flawless collection of flaws” Alice Roberts) was a cult hit all round the world.  In Bad Choices, he takes on algorithms, those perennially misunderstood principles that underlie so many of our everyday activities.  Taking us through twelve very funny, highly illustrated situations – from how we listen to music to finding every item on a shopping list as quickly as possible – Bad Choices explains how algorithms work and how to use them for yourself.

We all have an intuitive knack for solving problems, but can we use this ability to find items in logarithmic time?  Can we create cognitive stacks to cut down on errands?  Can we figure out which book we want to read next with link analysis?  Almossawai shows us how and once we recognise what makes a method faster and more efficient, we’ll all become more nimble, creative thinkers, ready to face new challenges.

Covering everything from maze-solving in Ancient Greece to the Two Ronnies, and from rapping in supermarkets to how Facebook predicts our likes, in opening algorithmic thinking to all readers Bad Choices shows us how to choose better – and live happier.

You can order BAD CHOICES: HOW ALGORITHMS CAN HELP YOU THINK SMARTER AND LIVE HAPPIER by Ali Almossawi from Amazon USAAmazon UK, Waterstone’s or Bookshop.org UK.  I earn commission on any purchases made through these links.

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):

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