We picked up this book, Super Crunchers by Ian Ayres, at the urging of our father. He is very into the latest and greatest in econometrics, statistics, and being smart by utilizing numbers; making this book right up his alley. (The book is subtitled: Why Thinking-By-Numbers is the New Way to be Smart.)
Super Crunchers follows the lead of Freakonomics and The Armchair Economist, taking an anecdotal leap into the way the world works without your knowledge. Ayres discusses all the many ways that corporations, foundations, and even individuals manipulate large sets of data to predict the future and adapt current practices according to that future. A simple idea with radical outcomes, and one that is currently embraced in many fields, and adamently fought against in others.
Quick vote: This book was really good, and it made us think about the way we do things. We highly reccommend it!
Aunt Kenya's Philosophy: I do so enjoy reading about applied mathematics, but this book left something to be desired. The anecdotal evidence was not enough for me, I wanted more description of the regression models and techniques used to manipulate the large datasets. Boring! Pick up a good textbook instead.