The book describes methods of mathematical model-building using probability and statistics. Silver takes a big-picture approach to using statistical tools, combining sources of unique data (e. g. , timing a minor league ball player's fastball using a radar gun), with historical data and principles of sound statistical analysis; Silver argues that many of these are violated by many pollsters and pundits who nonetheless have important media roles. Case studies in the book include baseball, elections, climate change, the financial crash, poker, and weather forecasting. These different topics illustrate different statistical principles. As a reviewer in The New York Times notes: "It's largely about evaluating predictions in a variety of fields, from finance to weather to epidemiology. We learn about a handful of successes: when, for instance, meteorologists predict a hurricane's landfall 72 hours in advance. . . . But mostly we learn about failures. It turns out we're not even close to predicting the next catastrophic earthquake or the spread of the next killer bird flu, despite the enormous amounts of brainpower trained on these questions in the past few decades".