Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Innumeracy

A while back I read an interesting book.
Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy And Its Consequences.
The author is John Allen Paulos.

Well, I am not a mathematician, nor even mathematically inclined, [I dropped out of algebra and took core-math in high school...] so mine won't be the review of a fanatic, nor even one based on comparison with other books that deal with the subject.
Reading this book was a serious diversion for me, but perhaps the fact that I actually enjoyed it is tantamount to suggesting that the author's method will appeal to a large readership.
He made the topic very interesting, and now I know what an algorithm is!
I will also be able to think critically about the next statistic I am persuaded to swallow, hook, line and integer!

The book presents a very convincing case for the author's conclusion that "probability, like logic, is not just for mathematicians anymore. It permeates our lives."
I found it fascinating how Paulos explained the complexities involved in the flipping of coins, or the rolling of dice... ho
w that even asking someone out on a date is a foray into the world of probability. [Especially if I am the one asking for the date, since nine times out of ten, I will chicken out!]
Even my rating of this book as being 4 out of a possible 5 stars is an example of how much we knowingly or unknowingly rely on numerical criteria in our daily lives. I guess I'm saying that, all things being EQUAL, and given a RANDOM sampling, I'm ESTIMATING that CHANCES are that PROBABLY four out of five people will benefit greatly from this book.
Give or take a star, 1/5th of the time.

4 comments:

Beth said...

Oh, you are good - you got that probability thing down pat.
I'll add this one to my list but only because you recommend it.
What are the odds I actually read it?
I do not like Math.

Matt said...

After all, life is about taking chances, whether we like it or not. Again, it's probability.

cipriano said...

CHANCES are, I should PROBABLY be sleeping, but I am visiting a friend, and have the next couple days off from work [which is a real rarity] and so I am being extra-truant!
Thanks for reading, friends.

May said...

Good choice, Cip, I am proud of you! I can recommend other titles or you could always go back to university for another degree...

I love probability and spent about ten hours in the past two days on a problem.