Virtual Voice Edition

Are you a fan of audiobooks?

After you purchase the Kindle edition of Turning Data Into Wisdom (TDIW), you will be eligible to purchase Amazon’s Virtual Voice edition for just $1.99! Then you’ll have the option to listen to TDIW on the Audible app. The audiobook edition is just over 8 hours.

Through the Audible app, you can listen in your car during your commute, on a flight, during a workout, or read-along with the Kindle edition. When you ‘hear’ the text, you’ll likely find that you will retain the knowledge better.

I find it's also a great way to stay engaged with the subject when my energy is low (usually at the end of the day).

Here is a sample clip of the Kindle Virtual Voice edition:

Growing up, I often heard sayings like "don't judge a book by its cover" and "there are two sides to every story" that I didn't really believe and just thought were cliché. At that point, I thought I knew everything there was to know, but in reality, I knew very little about anything.

As I grew older, I studied math and statistics in school and was taught there is only one answer to a given problem. Whether it was a calculation, the truth value of a statement for a theorem, or something else, there was always only one right answer. Everything was black and white.

Then, as I got older and had a family, I was presented with a challenge. My oldest son is autistic. Without going into much detail, it can be very frustrating because the way he looks at the world and perceives things is very different than how I perceive things or how other kids perceive things. To him, the world is just like we are taught in math and statistics: black or white, right or wrong, true or false. There is no room for interpretation, and there are not multiple sides to every story.

Eventually, I started diving more into data literacy and had a realization. Each data point, bit of evidence, or observation is a piece of a greater puzzle. There is a story there waiting to be unlocked. Yes, the value of a point of data may be the number two or the color yellow, but what does that really mean, and what can we do with that information? This ties to the concept of data-informed decision-making. A single data point, bit of evidence, or observation is one-dimensional. However, when you start to combine data together, you are starting to put the pieces of the puzzle together. Then, when you add in your experiences and beliefs along with the experiences and beliefs of others, the data starts to come to life and tell you a story---a story that can give you great wisdom and insights. This is one reason why decision-making should celebrate diversity and inclusion and be a team sport, as these different perspectives allow you to see multiple sides of the data and what its story is.

With that realization and gained wisdom, I started to apply this thinking to my son. I stopped looking at his attitudes and behaviors as wrong. Just like with data, there is a story there and a puzzle that was waiting to be put together. I just needed to put aside my bias and try to understand his side of the story based on his experiences and beliefs.

My goal now is to continually educate him on different perspectives in the hope he will be well rounded and cultured one day and see that the world is not black and white. While this has not been a total success yet, the tenets in data literacy are the same ones I now apply to him. I am always curious why he believes what he believes and why he does what he does. I challenge him often, and I ask him sometimes to think through his thought process so that I can hear his perspective. In many cases, I have left the conversation realizing it was I who had tunnel vision and bias, not him. This practice with my son has opened up an entirely new world of collaboration between us, and I have a ton more wisdom than I did before as a result.

Let's go back to data for a second. In business, we should not think like we did back in school that there is only one right answer when it comes to data and analytics. Your experiences combined with others' experiences will allow you to turn that data into insights and wisdom that will continue to help businesses, society, and our planet. Continue to be curious about the data, and challenge it. Try to find ways to disprove your assumptions and beliefs rather than looking to justify them. And, just like I now celebrate my son's diversity and unique perspectives, I also preach that businesses should do the same when they are making decisions.