Book Club: Making Numbers Count

If your job is to communicate policy and make sense of it, you need Making Numbers Count – The Art and Science of Communicating Numbers by Chip Health and Karla Starr. Numbers are the bedrock of policy (or they should be) but they are scary to 99.9% of people – including the people you need…

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Book Club — Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgement

Noise – A Flaw in Human Judgement by Daniel Kahneman, Oliver Sibony, and Cass Sunstein, is long, so it sat on my bookshelf for awhile. But it’s worth the time. Noise is the variation in judgements that shouldn’t vary. Judges should give similar sentences in similar cases, underwriters should find the same expected risks from…

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Book Club: Think Again

You have to read Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know by Adam Grant. We all think our minds are open, but we’re wrong. Intelligence is nice, but the critical skills are rethinking, relearning, and the courage to dump baggage. The Dunning-Kruger effect is real – the people with the most confidence…

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Book Club: The Long Fix

I’ve been avoiding reading The Long Fix: Solving America’s Health Crisis with Strategies that Work for Everyone by Vivian Lee. But this semester, one of my students asked if she could read it for her Book Review assignment. I couldn’t really refuse, so I had to read it too. The author, a physician and healthcare…

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Book Club: The Premonition — A Pandemic Story

Michael Lewis’s latest book, The Premonition – A Pandemic Story, dives deep into an untold story of how COVID crept up on the US healthcare system, particularly the state and federal agencies that were supposed to be watching and to know what to do. It’s a story of bureaucrats playing it safe while sacrificing our…

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Book Club — How Charts Lie: Getting Smarter about Visual Information

Data visualization is trendy for a reason. How Charts Lie by Alberto Cairo describes how well-designed charts and graphs can help make numbers clear, especially as competition for readers’ attention grows. But badly designed charts can confuse or even lie to the reader. Healthcare is more confusing than most areas so deceptive charts are more…

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Book Club — You Have More Influence Than You Think

By Vanessa Bohns I want to send every advocate a copy of this book. You Have More Influence Than You Think: How We Underestimate our Power of Persuasion, and Why it Matters uses research to make the counter-intuitive case that people are hearing us, even if they don’t seem to be. Well-documented, including much of…

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Book Club – In Defense of Troublemakers: The Power of Dissent in Life and Business

I’ll admit I bought In Defense of Troublemakers to find validation for advocates. Our job is to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” But the book goes much farther. It makes the case that dissent is critical to good decision-making. Our society values consensus – it makes people happy and gets to decisions far…

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Book Club: Medical Apartheid

Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present is very difficult to read. I stopped and re-started several times. You may know something about the Tuskegee syphilis project, but the wanton use and abuse of Black Americans as medical subjects goes much farther and continues into…

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BOOK CLUB — The Right Price: A Value-Based Prescription for Drug Costs

For your summer reading. The Right Price: A Value-Based Prescription for Drug Costs offers the best explanation I’ve found of how drug costs are set, and how they should be. Using real-life patient stories, the authors give a balanced and comprehensive look at fair and reasonable pricing for a product that epitomizes market failure. The…

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