I’m a writer and broadcaster. For nearly twenty years, I worked as a journalist at the BBC where I became a radio current-affairs presenter and producer, devising innovative (aka weird or risky) programmes.
With Andrew Dilnot, I created More or Less on Radio 4 – about numbers in public argument – and was its first producer (with Andrew the original presenter). Other original programmes included The Human Zoo – about behavioural science, and the investigative Whodunnit? – current affairs formats which I also presented.
Other work has included Analysis, The Inquiry, and two series of A History of Britain in Numbers – a blend of storytelling, data, and an early use of audio-graphs – produced and co-written with the presenter, also Andrew Dilnot. I can still be heard as an occasional presenter on BBC Radio 4 and the BBC World Service.
I’ve written a few books. The latest, The Hidden Half – How the World Conceals its Secrets(new from Atlantic Books in April 2019), is a radical challenge to our confidence in what we think we know, that places the problem outside our heads in the nature of complex causality. See the featured page on this site.
Joe, the Only Boy in the World(Profile Books, 2006) – a philosophical inquiry into my son’s profound autism, described by one generous researcher as one of the best books on autism ever written.
The Tiger that Isn’t (Profile Books, 2008), co-authored with Andrew Dilnot, a guide to numbers in the news and public argument and an Economist Book of the Year.
The Norm Chronicles – Stories and Numbers about Risk and Danger(Profile Books, 2012), co-authored with Professor David Spiegelhalter, about psychological and novel quantitative approaches to risk.
I also teach, advise and present widely to business, government, researchers and media. Here I am pretending to know things at the QED skeptics conference in Manchester.
My agent is the debonair Jonathan Pegg