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I’ve never dog-eared as many pages in a book as Counting: How We Use Numbers to Decide What Matters by Deborah Stone. It’s very trendy to be “data-driven” and assert that “science matters” but what gets counted and how it’s defined make all the difference. Numbers and statistics are nice, but only if they represent reality and not what we want to see or what is easy to count. What really matters is our underlying assumptions and what we do with what we count. The example of provider and patient incentives around subjective pain numbers alone is reason for reading the book. Chapter One starts with “There’s No Such Thing as a Raw Number” but be sure to get to Chapter Six “The Ethics of Counting.” The book ends with a chapter on lessons from COVID and the flurry of numbers we’ve been glued to for the last year. I’ll be re-reading this soon.