The book lives up to its title the leading indicators a short history of the numbers that rule our world it covers the development and shortcomings of headline statistics such as gross domestic product unemployment and international trade. The leading indicators a short history of the numbers that ruled our world is a must read book for anyone who is concerned about the economy karabell addresses concerns regarding the methodolgy statisticians use to quantify the economy. How did we come by the leading indicators we place such stock in we allocate trillions of dollars and make public policy and personal decisions based upon them but what do they really tell usthe leading indicators shape our lives intimately but few of us know where these numbers come from what they mean or why they rule the world. Our statistical map however is showing signs of age in our desire to have simple numbers to make sense of a complicated world we forget that our indicators have a history a reason that they were invented in the first place and that history reveals their strengths and limitations just as our own personal histories do. Our understanding of the economy is shaped by the numbers we use to measure it in this engaging and subversive history zachary karabell tells the story of how the indicators came to rule us who invented them what they actually tell us and why we need to rethink all of them if we are to make sense of the world today
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