THE EYE TEST is a necessary course correction, a call for a more balanced, personal approach to problem-solving. Award-winning journalist Chris Jones makes the case for the human element—for what smart, practiced, devoted people can bring to situations that have proved resistant to analytics. Jones shares what he’s learned from an army of extraordinary talents, including some of the best doctors, executives, athletes, meteorologists, magicians, designers, astrophysicists, and detectives in the world. There are lessons in their mastery.
Of course, there is a place for numbers in decision-making. No baseball player should be judged by his jawline. But the analytics revolution sparked by Michael Lewis’s Moneyball now threatens to replace one kind of absurdity with another. We have developed a blind faith in the machine, the way a driver overly reliant on his GPS might be led off the edge of a cliff. Not all statistical analysis is sound. Algorithms aren’t infallible, and spreadsheets aren’t testaments. Trust in them too much, and they risk becoming instruments of destruction rather than understanding.
Worse, data’s supremacy in our daily lives has led to a dangerous strain of anti-expertise: the belief that every problem is a math problem, and anyone given access to the right information will find the right answer. That taste doesn’t matter, experience doesn’t matter, creativity doesn’t matter. That we can’t believe our eyes, no matter how much they’ve seen.THE EYE TEST serves as a reminder that if beauty is less of a virtue in the age of analytics, a good eye still is. This book is a celebration of our greatest beholders—and an absorbing, inspiring guide for how you might become one, too.
“Extremes are rarely a good thing—in politics, sports, or our culture. Chris Jones knows that, offering a nuanced argument that while analytics are all the rage, there isn’t any sort of mathematical equation to ensure success.”—Chris Cillizza, host of CNN's "The Point"
“Chris Jones is a marvelous storyteller who brings the ‘heartbeat’ back into understanding the wonders of the world. THE EYE TEST is the perfect guide to what role our own expertise and intuition tells us about deciphering the numbers. Chris Jones has written a playfully profound book that well passes its own eye test. It’s a book that my sport could use in marrying math with feel, instinct with matrices, and creating a balance that encourages a blend with new and old alike—for me, the only way to process the day.”—Joe Maddon, manager, Los Angeles Angels