Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Another Moneyball quote

Gotta get back in the habit of posting...

A quick way is to post another quote from Moneyball that I really liked

Intelligence about baseball statistics had become equated in the public mind with the ability to recite arcane baseball stats. What James's wider audience had failed to understand was that the statistics were beside the point. The point was understanding; the point was to make life on earth just a bit more intelligible; and that point, somehow, had been lost. "I wonder," James wrote, "if we haven't become so numbed by all these numbers that we are no longer capable of truly assimilating any knowledge which might result from them."

What I like about this quote is that it is something may of us in the analytics world have experienced: losing the point of the modeling or summary statistics by forgetting why we are doing the analysis in the first place. Or, as my good friend John Elder used to describe it, "rapture of the depths"


M Functor said...

There is another name for it-Paralysis by analysis.

Dean Abbott said...

:) Yes! I've heard that one before as well and it is an apt description.

Will Dwinnell said...

Dean, welcome back from banishment to Siberia, heh heh!

A related issue is what one might term "fools rush in", which involves hurried performance of analysis- any analysis- just to "get going", without any forethought or planning. Very often the fruit of such efforts is completely unusable and cannot be extended to something which is. There are certainly corollaries to this in software development.