Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics by Michael Wheeler. Published in 1976--forty years ago!!!--it is about the manipulation of public opinion in America. It was scary stuff then and now, it feels eerily prescient.
The end-of-the-year "Best Books" lists are starting to come out and one that I'm seeing a lot is Cathy O'Neil's Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatans Democracy.
Here's the sales pitch:
A former Wall Street quant sounds an alarm on the mathematical models
that pervade modern life — and threaten to rip apart our social fabric
live in the age of the algorithm. Increasingly, the decisions that
affect our lives—where we go to school, whether we get a car loan, how
much we pay for health insurance—are being made not by humans, but by
mathematical models. In theory, this should lead to greater fairness:
Everyone is judged according to the same rules, and bias is eliminated.
as Cathy O’Neil reveals in this urgent and necessary book, the opposite
is true. The models being
racing the arc of a person’s life, O’Neil exposes the black box models
that shape our future, both as individuals and as a society. These
“weapons of math destruction” score teachers and students, sort résumés,
grant (or deny) loans, evaluate workers, target voters, set parole, and
monitor our health.
O’Neil calls on modelers to take more
responsibility for their algorithms and on policy makers to regulate
their use. But in the end, it’s up to us to become more savvy about the
models that govern our lives. This important book empowers us to ask the
tough questions, uncover the truth, and demand change.
The book was published by Crown and honestly, I think it's got one of the ugliest covers I've seen this year. But I cannot wait to read the book.