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Chip Heath and Karla Starr: Not even accountants get the million/billion seconds comparison right

"If you get a letter in India from the USA by regular mail, it was sent about a million seconds ago. But a billion seconds ago, Sachin Tendulkar had just made his cricket debut."

February 25, 2022 / 05:11 PM IST
(Representational image)

(Representational image) "Numbers stick best when we think about them in the context of a known comparison," explain Chip Heath and Karla Starr.

Data can help us understand the world around us. Equally, numbers can be forgettable or simply too hard to relate to - even for those who love math and/or have the training and patience to look deeper.

Stanford Graduate School of Business professor Chip Heath and writer Karla Starr's book is a guide to making numbers relatable and sticky.

Making Numbers CountFrom presenting data in a way that makes people care about it to scaling numbers to human size and pegging them to examples, Heath and Starr share scenarios to explain ways to make numbers memorable.

To be sure, we have come across some of these solutions before. For example, we've all read descriptions of the size of a festival arena in terms of the number of football fields it might fit.