Category: 2 – BUY it! (All Categories are 1 – Read ASAP!, 2 – BUY it!, 3 – SHELF it, 4 – SOMEDAY it)
Comments: Another Heath Brothers classic – interesting research put masterfully together to make a simple point -> take the time to think about how we use numbers to make a point. There’s a lot of upside to getting it right.
Insights that resonated:
(1) A million seconds is 12 days from now. A billion seconds?
That difference surprised me as it wasn’t what I expected. A billion is significantly bigger than I had imagined.
We don’t have an intuitive understanding of big numbers. The implication is that we need to make the effort to always put numbers in context for the people we’re presenting to.
(2) Some “translations” that resonated:
The fastest human, Usain Bolt, would be beaten in a 100m dash by a Rhino by 2s and would be close to a Chimpanzee. he wouldn’t be close to a Cheetah or an Ostrich.
If cows were a country, they’d be #4 in Carbon emissions. They emit more than Saudi Arabia or Australia.
Apple market cap wealth is greater than 150 out of 171 countries. (or at least was – until recently :-))
If California were a country, it’s GDP would be more than all but 5 countries in the world.
Six sigma is 3.4 defects per millions. That means baking 2 decent chocolate chip cookies every day and going 37 years before baking one without a defect.
If everyone ate as much meat as a person in America, we would need to use every bit of land on the planet and add an extra Africa and Australia to meet the demand
Imagine your (US) tax payment is visualized as employment over the course of a year. It would mean working 2 weeks for social security, 2 weeks for Medicare and Medicaid, 5 days on national debt, 1.5 weeks for Defence, then most of the rest of the year would be government payroll, 6 hours for “SNAP” (Nutrition assistance), 12 minutes to National Parks, and 2 mins to NASA.
Translations make abstract numbers accessible.
(3) Florence Nightingale was a data wizard (more in the book ;-)).