That is the title of my talk to be delivered next week at the JMP Discovery Summit (Sep 15 at 10:15 in Cary, NC). The other talks look great too, including Dan Ariely and Dick De Veaux.
Here is the abstract I submitted:
The phenomenal recent success of the Freakonomics and Gladwell franchises, and their offshoots, has sparked unprecedented curiosity in the analytics profession. Not long ago, business executives tended to see us as technocrats speaking an abstruse lingo engaged in niche activities with uncertain effects: smart, intimidating, hard to grasp, lost in details.
Times are changing. The famous authors have demonstrated how to use low-density, soft-touch narratives to convey analytical results to broad audiences. They imagine the analytics professional as a kind of intellectual hero, wielding data as weapons against conventional wisdom. The common structure of these stories follows the well-known analytical process, beginning with defining the research question, and ending with discovering the correct answer.
All this is masterfully told, but represents only half the story. In my experience, the analytics job is less a solitary struggle for the scientific truth than a managerial challenge in balancing objectives, facilitating collaboration, and creating consensus. In this talk, I will tell the second half of the story, using materials from my recently published book, Numbers Rule Your World. The focus is on what happens after the math is done.