Synopses & Reviews
Start asking the big questions and learn how the study of causality revolutionized science and the world.
Cause and effect: it's at the center of scientific inquiry, and yet for decades scientists had no way of answering simple questions, such as whether smoking causes cancer. In The Book of Why, Judea Pearl and Dana Mackenzie show how Pearl's work on causality has broken through this stalemate, unleashing a revolution in our knowledge of the world. Anyone who wants to understand how science, the human mind, or artificial intelligence works needs The Book of Why.
"Illuminating. . . a valuable lesson on the history of ideas." --New York Times
"This book really gets you thinking about cause and effect as it applies to issues of our time. . . . Extraordinary." --Science Friday
A Turing Award-winning computer scientist and statistician shows how understanding causality has revolutionized science and will revolutionize artificial intelligence
"Correlation is not causation." This mantra, chanted by scientists for more than a century, has led to a virtual prohibition on causal talk. Today, that taboo is dead. The causal revolution, instigated by Judea Pearl and his colleagues, has cut through a century of confusion and established causality -- the study of cause and effect -- on a firm scientific basis. His work explains how we can know easy things, like whether it was rain or a sprinkler that made a sidewalk wet; and how to answer hard questions, like whether a drug cured an illness. Pearl's work enables us to know not just whether one thing causes another: it lets us explore the world that is and the worlds that could have been. It shows us the essence of human thought and key to artificial intelligence. Anyone who wants to understand either needs The Book of Why.