In this well-organized and well-edited book, Page clearly demonstrates why his course in Coursera is a hugely popular one. Anyone who has to deal with (or would like a more formal approach for thinking about) strategy, policy, processes, or systems will significantly benefit from this book. One could argue that the models presented are not new - and thats true; what is beneficial to the reader is the well-orchestrated progression of types of models and their assumptions, structure, limitations and examples.
Page first makes a well-reasoned plea in favor of approaching any problem with a diverse set of models - each have various assumptions and may therefore implicitly capture (or discard) certain aspects of the system. After motivating the reader with basics of distributions, Page covers an extensive range of models ( a glimpse of the table of contents is sufficient for a potential reader to understand that various modeling techniques and learning mechanisms are covered). Page uses a variety of examples drawn from various domains, though skewed to policy/social sciences. The common theme is mostly "think strategically, in a tractable, explainable way'. The earlier chapters discussing aspects of a model in itself is a useful discussion. The book's organization largely follows his approach in his online course – a “visit to the zoo” - the order in which you visit the exhibits is not that crtitical (nor is this is a book to be necessarily read linearly).
While the editing of the book is excellent (no extraneous information, fillers), the book is essentially a text book or a reference source. A student in engineering, political sciences, business/management and any practitioner in these fields will benefit from this book. Most of the content (if not all) is available for free in slightly different formats via his course. However, the utility of having a well-produced book that one can leaf through and pick models to investigate is a huge bonus. There are some changes that makes the content more streamlined too. One wishes there were more examples or challenges to the reader as a "homework'. Nevertheless, this is a must-have book for any one interested in modeling strategic and operational decisions and informatics/machine learning students.
(Review Based on an ARC via NetGalley)
- Hardcover: 400 pages
- Publisher: Basic Books; 1 edition (29 January 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0465094627
- ISBN-13: 978-0465094622
- Product Dimensions: 16.4 x 4.3 x 24.3 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 635 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 667 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)