Painting By Numbers cover

PAINTING BY NUMBERS: How to sharpen your BS detector and smoke out the “experts”

Using examples drawn from polling data, medicine, climate modeling, and more, PAINTING BY NUMBERS is the essential toolkit for evaluating the numbers that shape our lives. How well do you know what you think you know? If you’ve ever pored over election polling data, argued about climate change, or read an article describing the latest study on a topic you care about, PAINTING BY NUMBERS is for you. Written in an entertaining and approachable style and with humorous illustrations to help explain complex modeling concepts, PAINTING BY NUMBERS is an essential tool for making sense of the numbers shaping modern society.

“There’s a desperate need for every literate person to understand this.”
Dr. Elton McGoun, Accounting and Business Professor, Bucknell University

“I read it without stopping. Some examples are brilliant, some are hilarious. All are disturbingly relevant.”
– Mark Glaess, former Executive Director, Minnesota Rural Electric Commission
“What is truth? Pontius Pilate’s question echoes two millenia later as numbers have become the oracle where we seek the truth. But who is fact-checking- and method checking – the oracles? In the wake of 2016’s wrong predictions, Painting by Numbers provides a prescient look at why Pilate’s question remains unanswered.”
– Dr. Stephen Werner, Religious Educator, Author, and Social Philosopher
“The voice from this book lingers. I thought I normally questioned everything. Now I’m even more consciously aware.”
– Ronald Gombach, The Gombach Group &


Coming in 2017:

My first novel, The Moment Before, is due out from Amphorae Publishing Group in November 2017. Log Line: A woman and her beloved Syrian father, separated forty years earlier when he is swept up in a geopolitical odyssey from hell, are almost reunited by a lawyer struggling to save his Illinois hometown from financial ruin. If interested in the summary or a reader review copy, write


Lights Out: The Electricity Crisis, the Global Economy and What It Means to You

Published in 2007, Lights Out is a behind-the-scenes exposure why our electricity system is headed for a state of emergency and what can be done to head it off.

The publisher’s description: Most people don’t realize that skyrocketing global energy demand and economic growth severely affect the supply of electricity. Between production (power plants) and delivery is an antiquated, “third-world” transmission grid that is in desperate need of hardening against breakdowns, terrorist attacks, inadequate carrying capacity, and operational obsolescence. And while electricity doesn’t hold the headlines or dramatic power of oil, the ability to ensure its uninterrupted supply at a reasonable price is even more essential to global survival and prosperity. Lights Out is today’s most detailed, in-depth examination of this largely unreported looming energy crisis. Written by one of the world’s top electricity industry experts, this powerful book covers numerous hot button economic and political issues-free markets versus regulation; energy independence versus foreign imports; nuclear power, global warming, and other environmental issues; and much more. Beyond just uncovering and illuminating the problems, however, it proposes a comprehensive road map of technical solutions and regulatory reform from both the production and demand sides of the equation-a framework for rethinking, rebuilding, and enhancing the entire electricity production and delivery infrastructure. Prescriptive and provocative, Lights Out will redefine the simmering debate on how the world can-and must-act now to head off a global catastrophe, one that could eventually wreak even more havoc than the ongoing oil crisis.


An Investor’s Guide to the Electricity Economy

Published in 2002, An Investor’s Guide provided an inside look at the sector that went far beyond the usual investing hype.The publisher’s description: 2001 was perhaps the most tumultuous year in the modern history of the energy industry. As with telecommunications, computer and information technology, and Internet/e-commerce businesses over the last two decades, it is now a truly delicate but potentially lucrative time to invest in electricity. Deregulation means that investors face a breathtaking array of new companies and technologies that have the potential to grow and accumulate wealth. With a focus on understanding market dynamics and “technology capital,” Jason Makansi shows you how to get beyond analyst hype, uncover new opportunities, and invest wisely in An Investor’s Guide to the Electricity Economy.Divided into three sections-“The Industry,” “The Investor,” and “Case Studies”-this book introduces readers to the most current and relevant industry trends, critical insights and research based on the author’s tested methodology, and the companies and technologies that are transforming the industry. The author’s “Technology Matrix” assesses the potential of new companies based on technology development cycles, market-entry timing, commercialization progress, and strategic alliances. Understanding the new energy wholesale and retail experience, in which business and consumers will have a variety of providers and service plans to choose from, is emphasized throughout.


Managing Steam: An Engineering Guide to Commercial, Industrial, and Utility Systems

Published in 1986, this was my first book and is, now, woefully out of date. But it was a wonderful experience and definitely made me want to keep writing.