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John Johnson, PhD is an expert in reading and understanding data and statistics. He talks with Zack about how to become a discerning consumer of data, now that we can track personal data as well. Listen in to learn how to ask questions about data, using data to forecast, and when to not pay attention to data.

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Cheat Sheet

  • What econometrics is all about and how it can be used to find the truth of what the data is really telling you
  • How to communicate data-driven observations to people who don’t like statistics
  • Dr. Johnson’s experience as an expert witness
  • Why the idea of the quantified self is important (but only if you know what datapoint to consider)
  • How to be discerning when looking at data and find the real meaning
  • Why “cherrypicking” is rampant among data analysis and what you can do to spot this
  • How to ask effective questions when you are presented with data
  • The hidden danger in looking for patterns in everything you see
  • How forecasting works and why it’s important
  • The benefits from applying an information diet


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Book, tool, ritual

Book: The Last Lecture
Tool: Rewire app (Android)
Ritual: Going to the gym

Connect with John Johnson, PhD



  • Freshbooks.com/productivity
  • For a 30 day free trial, be sure to enter the word ‘productivity’ in the “How Did You Hear About Us?” section

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