Mini Review: Facts Are Sacred – The Power Of Data (Guardian Shorts)

For a “Short”, this is surprisingly long, nicely detailed and looks at a broad range of aspects to do with the core subject:

• a little history of data usage and visualisation to tell a story

• trying to make sense of data relating to UK government spending

• how the Guardian used data released by the government , and its own research, to determine some of the real reasons behind the English riots of August 2011

• a look at Big Data, mainly highlighting points from McKinsey’s Big Data: The next frontier for innovation, competition and productivity report

• the shortcomings of measuring GDP

• some examples of countries embracing the principal of Open Data

Only one thing niggles: the “Top 100 numbers” section at the end takes up nearly a third of the book.  It’s interesting enough, but hardly necessary to be that long.  I wasn’t feeling short-changed by the rest, so why tag on so much?

Overall, a recommended read.

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