Innumeracy

By John Allen Paulos,

Book cover of Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences

Book description

Why do even well-educated people often understand so little about maths - or take a perverse pride in not being a 'numbers person'?

In his now-classic book Innumeracy, John Allen Paulos answers questions such as: Why is following the stock market exactly like flipping a coin? How big is a…

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Why read it?

2 authors picked Innumeracy as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

The author shows how our inability to deal rationally with data results in misinformed governmental policies, muddled personal decisions, and a heightened vulnerability to accepting baseless conclusions.

With examples from drug testing and sex discrimination to law and relative risk, and everything in between, the reader is shown how understanding numbers can improve society as a whole as well as better individual lives. I’ve handed out copies of this book to my students, friends, and academic associates.

This a slim but very interesting volume. As a mathematics professor Paulos sets out to explain how we can misunderstand statistics, and why this happens.

The book assumes no real serious mathematics ability on the part of the reader, but carefully guides us through the dangers and pitfalls of statistics. Myriad examples of wrong or poor use of statistics are given, and I found the book prompted me to look far more carefully at what a given statistic is telling me, or more accurately what it can’t tell me!

From Gerald's list on decisions bloody decisions.

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