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Presenting Financials and Other Numbers So People Will Understand You: Painting with Numbers by Randall Bolten

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CHAPTER 14

Quantation in Ordinary Life

A little simplification would be the first step toward rational living, I think.

—Eleanor Roosevelt

In this chapter, we'll discuss a few quantation examples that are a little off the beaten track. Still, they are excellent examples of the relevance of quantation to our daily lives, and provide further examples of how the rules and best practices we discuss can be applied. The topics we'll visit include:

  • Models—a particular type of quantation that makes decisions clearer in all kinds of situations by making processes and interrelationships easier to understand.
  • The meaning of words—a few examples from the newspapers, showing the importance of how we characterize numerical things.
  • That quiz I promised. Way back in the Introduction, I showed you a table of numbers and said that by the end of this book you would be able to identify its flaws. Let's see how you do.

Models

In the world of quantation, a model is a method of describing a process that can be quantified in a way that enables you to understand the dynamics of that process. In a business context, models also help estimate the impact of key uncertain variables on critical outcomes like profits or revenues. You could think of a model as a simulation.1. You can create a model on a sheet of paper, or a whiteboard, or a cocktail napkin, but the most effective way to create a model is with a spreadsheet, so you have a helping hand with the arithmetic as your underlying assumptions change. ...

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