What interested Levitt were the stuff and riddles of everyday life... 'He (Levitt) is an intuitionist. He sifts through a pile of data to find a story no one else has found. He figures a way to measure an effect that veteran economists had declared unmeasurable.It was the idea of "sifting", a prominent term in the Gartner Group definition (and one that I like in particular) that struck me. And all the examples Levitt gives in his book are examples of uncovering patterns in data that are not the most obvious answers, but rather are ones that fit the data better (in his opinion). I like the book because he approaches data with a forensic mindset.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
A bit late, but better late than never! Actually, I just heard Stephen Levitt speak at SPSS Directions in November and was reminded, of course, of his book Freakonomics. In 2005, I recommended the book to my data mining course attendees as my favorite data mining book of the year, despite the term "data mining" never appearing (to the best of my knowlege) in the book at all. I think a quote in the preface summarizes why I liked it: