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Research Scientist’s New Book Shows How to Distinguish Truth from Truthiness

– Modern Guidebook for the Perplexed Provides Easy-to-understand Methods for Weighing the Evidence Behind Claims –

NEW YORK, N.Y. – November 18, 2015 – Cambridge University Press today announced Howard Wainer’s new book, ‘Truth or Truthiness: Distinguishing Fact from Fiction by Learning to Think Like a Data Scientist’ will be available in hardcover February 29, 2016.

Claims. Everyone makes them. The news media, elected officials, politicians, analysts, experts and the list goes on.

Teacher tenure is a problem. Teacher tenure is a solution.

Fracking is safe. Fracking causes earthquakes.

Our kids are over-tested. Our kids are not tested enough.

We read claims like these in the newspaper every day, often with no justification other than ‘it feels right.’ How can we figure out what is right?

Escaping from the clutches of truthiness begins with one simple question: ‘what is the evidence?’

With usual verve and flair, Wainer, a distinguished research scientist at the National Board of Medical Examiners in Philadelphia, shows how the skeptical mindset of a data scientist can expose truthiness, nonsense, and outright deception.

He offers a refreshing fact-based view of today’s complex problems and uses the tool of casual inference to show how to evaluate the evidence, or lack thereof, supporting claims in many fields, with special emphasis on education.

This book is a must-read for anyone who’s ever wanted to challenge the pronouncements of authority figures and a lucid and captivating narrative that entertains and educates at the same time.

Wainer’s book serves as a toolkit to help readers determine the extent and validity of evidence offered to support claims and determine what truth or truthiness is.

A mixture of modern scientific theory and real drawn-from-the-headlines examples, the book, will change the way readers view the world.

And well-timed for the upcoming U.S. Presidential Election where voters are being asked to judge political candidates and make important decisions that can change the direction of the country.

“The book is a modern guide to the perplexed,” says Wainer. “It is aimed at those who are overwhelmed by claims made in the media and elsewhere and who might have no way to evaluate them.”

Wainer’s exposition provides simple, easy-to-understand methods for weighing the likely evidence of such claims.

Advance Praise for Truth or Truthiness
“This book is like the proverbial bag of potato chips. It's impossible to stop reading after just one of its fun and thought-provoking examples of statistical reasoning.
–Andrew Gelman, Columbia University

“Howard Wainer persuasively argues that you cannot be an informed citizen unless you understand the new data science. Using examples and anecdotes from education, medicine, and elsewhere, he arms readers with tools they can use to make better decisions and a better world. And he does it with the ease, charm, and brilliance of the originator of truthiness.”
–Arthur E. Wise, President Emeritus, National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education

“[This is] compelling reading on contemporary topics that exemplifies how to think clearly about the busy world around us … Wainer gets more clever over the years, finding deeper anecdotes, discovering better quotes, and writing with more grace than ever.”
–Ben Shneiderman, University of Maryland

“Wainer has taken a leap forward with his new book, Truth or Truthiness. He has shown that he can take on complex issues using the basic premise that our new societal norm addresses policy solely through inference while lacking supportive evidence. With his usual interesting and direct style, Wainer looks at this lack of data support in examining societal issues, especially education. This is truly a compelling read and I think should be required reading for those who set educational policy.”
–Kurt Landgraf, President, and CEO, Educational Testing Service, 2000–2013

“Howard Wainer was an expert witness in cases where I defended public school teachers who were accused of changing students' answers on standardized tests. I implored him to explain his theories in terms that would be understandable to lay people. Truth and Truthiness makes clear that he took this to heart.”
–Keith J. Zimmerman, Kahn, Smith and Collins, P. A., Baltimore

Howard Wainer is a distinguished research scientist at the National Board of Medical Examiners in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and has published more than four hundred articles and chapters in scholarly journals and books. He is a well-known expert on education issues and is the author of Uneducated Guesses: Using Evidence to Uncover Misguided Education Policies.

Wainer’s book, ‘Truth or Truthiness: Distinguishing Fact from Fiction by Learning to Think Like a Data Scientist’ available in hardcover ($29.99 US) February 29, 2016. 232 pages. The book contains 52 black & white illustrations; nine color illustrations and 12 tables. [ISBN: 9781107130579].