A.B. in Economics with distinction, Georgetown University, 1981
Ph.D. in Economics and University Fellow, University of Texas at Austin, 1989
Phi Kappa Phi
Teaching Winter 2017
Applied Probability Study Group
Publications click here.
Referee for: Acta Biotheoretica, American Economic Review, American Economist, American Journal of Agricultural Economics, American Political Science Review, Applied Stochastic Models in Business and Industry, Biometrical Journal, BMC Medical Research Methodology, Chemometrics and Intelligent Laboratory Systems, Communications in Statistics: Simulation and Computation, Computational Economics, Computational Statistics and Data Analysis, Computational Statistics, Econ Journal Watch, Economics Letters, El Trimestre Economico (Mexico), Empirical Economics, European Journal of Operational Research, Informs Transactions on Education, Interfaces, International Journal of Forecasting, Journal of Applied Econometrics, Journal of Development Studies, Journal of Econometrics, Journal of Economic and Social Measurement, Journal of Environmental Quality, Journal of the European Economic Association, Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Journal of Forecasting, Journal of Income Distribution, Journal of Industrial Economics, Journal of Physiology, Journal of Quantitative Economics, Journal of Statistical Software, Journal of the Association for Information Systems, LIBER Quarterly, Management Information Systems Quarterly, Management Science and Engineering, Mathematica Journal, Mathematics Magazine, National Science Foundation, Progress in Development Studies, Proceedings of the Royal Society A, Research Policy, Review of Accounting and Finance, Review of Economics and Statistics, Science (AAAS magazine), Statistics and Probability Letters, The American Statistician, Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Computational Statistics
CAREER BOOKS FOR THE UNDERGRADUATE:
How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life by Scott Adams, of "Dilbert" fame. Goals are for losers. Acquire new skills because each new skill doubles your probability of success (which is low to begin with, so it needs to double a few times!). You only need to be successful a few times, so failing a lot shouldn't be feared.
The Curmudgeon's Guide to Getting Ahead: Dos and Don'ts of Right Behavior, Tough Thinking, Clear Writing, and Living a Good Life by Charles Murray. For those starting out in their careers - and those who wish to advance more quickly - this is a delightfully fussy guide to the hidden rules of the road in the workplace and in life. At senior levels of an organization there are curmudgeons everywhere, judging your every move. Yet it is their good opinion you need to win if you hope to get ahead. His larger career advice includes: (i) What to do if you have a bad boss (ii) Coming to grips with the difference between being nice and being good (iii) How to write when you don't know what to say (iv) Being judgmental (it's good, and you don't have a choice anyway); and much more.
BOOKS FOR THE LAYMAN:
My suggestions for learning more about the interplay between statistics, decision sciences, and business. These books are written for laymen, not for technical specialists. Moreover, they are all very well-written.
Uncontrolled: The Surprising Payoff of Trial-and-Error for Business, Politics and Society by Jim Manzi shows how experimentation leads to better results in all walks of life.
Predictive Analytics: The Power to Predict Who Will Click, Buy, Lie, or Die by Eric Siegel is seven chapters on different topics in Predictive Analytics, together with many interesting vignettes. Well worth the read, to learn exactly what is going on.
Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think by Viktor Mayer-Schonberger and Kenneth Cukie provides hundreds of examples of data mining at work.
Super Crunchers by Ian Ayres is a book on which you shouldn't waste your time. The author doesn't know the first thing about data mining. Read my review "Ian Ayres's Super Crunchers Is Not about Super Crunching" SIGKDD Explorations 28(10), 50-52, 2008
Influence by Robert Cialdini
The myriad ways you incorrectly think your decisions are your own. After reading this superb book, Charlie Munger (Warren Buffett's sidekick) gave Cialdini a share of Berkshire-Hathaway as a token of appreciation.
How We Know What Isn't So by Thomas Gilovich
"The fallibility of human reason in everyday life" but not just from a numerical perspective.
The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki
Under what conditions do groups of non-experts make better decisions than experts? When do committees make good decisions and when are they likely to produce groupthink nonsense?
Thinking Strategically: The Competitive Edge in Business, Politics, and Everyday Life by Avinash K. Dixit and Barry J. Nalebuff
You don't need to know the mathematics behind the field of "game theory", but you need to know what game theory can do for you. What will your opponent/competitor do? What should you do in response? How to see through your opponent's strategy. Filled with examples from everyday life and business.
Math and Statistics:
Innumeracy by John Allen Paulos
"Mathematical illiteracy and its consequences" is the focus of this timeless book. Many simple examples show common pitfalls in thinking about numbers and how to overcome them.
Moneyball by Michael Lewis
How did the use of simple statistics propel the Oakland A's from the cellar to the playoffs and do it more cheaply than other teams?
Damned Lies and Statistics: Untangling Numbers from the Media, Politicians and Activists by Joel Best
Does the number of children who die from gunfire double each year? Does aorexia kill 150,000 women annually? If you trust the mainstream media, you believe these lies...
More Damned Lies and Statistics: How Numbers Confuse Public Issues by Joel Best.
Exposing more lies by journalists who, typically, cannot balance a checkbook let alone comprehend statistics....
Why Do Buses Come in Threes? The Hidden Mathematics of Everyday Life by Rob Eastaway and Jeremy Wyndham
This delightful book requires a bit of algebra once in a while, but answers some nagging questions. Why DO buses come in threes? Why am I always in traffic jams? Why can't I find a four-leaf clover?
Duelling Idiots and Other Probability Puzzlers by Paul J. Nahin
This book regularly requires freshman probability. Engineers who have taken a statistics course will enjoy this book.
The Lady Tasting Tea by David Salsburg
R. A. Fisher, a pioneer in statistics, created a famous example concerning a woman who claimed to be able to tell whether the milk was poured into the tea or the tea was poured into the milk; hence the title of the engaging story about statistics in the 20th century and many of the wonderful things that statistics has done. And not an equation in it!
Struck by Lightning: the curious world of probabilities by Jeffrey S. Rosenthal
What "statistical" studies do and don't show. Rare events (will you get struck by lightning?). Evolution and probability. How probability keeps your email box free of spam and your spam folder full of spam.
Fortune's Formula by William Poundstone
This engaging book tells the story of Kelly's Formula for asset allocation, starting with its roots in Shannon's theory of information transmission across noisy lines. Mobsters and racetracks; roulette, blackjack and Las Vegas Casinos; Michael Millken's junk bond operation and the implosion of the LTC Hedge Fund all play roles. For a light introduction to the quantification of Wall Street, this book is superb.
Fooled by Randomness by Nassim Taleb
An excellent book on statistics and financial markets.
The Black Swan by Nassim Taleb
Taleb should have stopped after the first book. Don't bother with this one.
Freakonomics by Levitt and Dubner.
At times entertaining, this book won't help you to apply economics in your personal life. Before you read this book, be sure to read the discerning reviews by Ariel Rubinstein ("Freak-Freakonomics", The Economists' Voice 3(9), 2006) and John DiNardo ("Freakonomics: Scholarship in the Service of Storytelling", American Law and Economics Review 8(3), 2006, 615-626)
BETTER THAN FREAKONOMICS BY FAR....
The Armchair Economist by Steven Landsburg
The Undercover Economist by Tim Harford
The Logic of Life by Tim Harford
I personally prefer Harford to Landsburg, but your mileage may vary.