How Not to Be Wrong

By Jordan Ellenberg,

Book cover of How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking

Book description

"Witty, compelling, and just plain fun to read . . ." -Evelyn Lamb, Scientific American

The Freakonomics of math-a math-world superstar unveils the hidden beauty and logic of the world and puts its power in our hands

The math we learn in school can seem like a dull set of…

Shepherd is reader supported. We may earn an affiliate commission when you buy through links on our website. (learn more)

Why read it?

3 authors picked How Not to Be Wrong as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

This book is not about computing, but it is relevant in an indirect way. I love this book, since it is written in such an engaging style and illustrates with many examples that math is not a dry subject to be practiced only by mathematicians but helps everyone to solve real-world problems. The book shows how important it is to be precise in describing problems and that applying a little mathematical rigor goes a long way in solving them. Ellenberg describes mathematics as the “extension of common sense by other means.” In a similar way, I view computer science as…

From Martin's list on computer science without coding.

The world is a complicated place, and it is often difficult to see it clearly. Mathematical tools like logic and proofs let us understand it better. This popular book is a more modern and less technical primer in thinking about the world through a mathematical lens. 

For many readers, it will open the eyes as to why much of that math you learned in school was there in the first place, and refresh your thinking about it. Statistical reasoning is particularly important in today’s data-driven world, and this book will help you realize when someone is lying to you through…

From Steven's list on mathematical and algorithmic thinking.

This is the only book about math that has ever caused me to laugh out loud. For Ellenberg, a mathematician at the University of Wisconsin, math is not a set of techniques we learn in school but a commonsensical way of looking at the world. And since we all do it anyway, we might as well learn to do it right, or we will end up very very wrong.

Ever looked at a regular pattern and assumed that it will continue that way indefinitely? Ellenberg suggests you pay attention to that missile, which for the first part of its flight…

Want books like How Not to Be Wrong?

Our community of 6,000+ authors has personally recommended 10 books like How Not to Be Wrong.

Browse books like How Not to Be Wrong

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in math, computer science, and mathematicians?

6,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about math, computer science, and mathematicians.

Math Explore 104 books about math
Computer Science Explore 19 books about computer science
Mathematicians Explore 30 books about mathematicians