by. John Allen Paulos. · Rating details · 3, ratings · reviews. Dozens of examples in innumeracy show us how it affects not only personal economics. A review, and links to other information about and reviews of Innumeracy by John Allen Paulos. Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences. Front Cover. John Allen Paulos. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, – Mathematics – pages.

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That’s all well and good, but it c In “Innumeracy”, John Allen Paulos argues that the level of mathematical illiteracy in the United States is shocking and unacceptable, that innumeracy has real and paulls negative effects, and that it is promoted by poor teaching. Individual decisions and broader policy decisions are far too often made on the basis of badly understood statistics, data, and mathematical principles.

The author, it is eventually revealed, was a mathematical prodigy as a child, and still takes immense pleasure in doing things like deftly computing the volume of all the blood in the world in terms of how deep innumerscy would fill Central Park, or how fast human hair grows in miles innumerac hour. There”s nothing very tricky about it: The maths are fun for those that can follow Paulos, but in his mad rush he covers a great deal of ground one imagines the innumerate might have some difficulty in keeping up.

Highly unlikely events become highly likely — given enough chances. And as computers take over more and more of the calculations needed during our lives, I don’t see where this lack is going to be dealt with in the near future.

To cite some happier illustrations for smaller numbers, the standard I use for the lowly thousand is a section of Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia which I know contains 1, seats and which is easy to picture. Overall a very readable book that could have a big impact if only the right people would read it.

Anyway, reasonable people often believe total crap too. I sometimes ask them as an exercise to innumerac how fast human hair grows in miles per hour, or approximately how many people die on earth each day, or how many cigarettes are smoked annually in this country.

Paulos speaks of “statistically meaningless”, forgetting that this terminology is already enough to throw off most of his innumerate readers. Similarly, the first two chapters could have been condensed into an introduction. The focus on Core could be more productive. He also does a great job pointing out the negative impact of innumeracy on society in imnumeracy – how misunderstandings about things like coincidence and cause and effect can lead to harmful beliefs and behaviors about things like the pseudosciences, gambling, and healthcare.


Jul 31, TheF7Pawn rated it it was ok. The author engaged in dry parlor tricks like estimating the number of grains of sand on earth.

Innumeracy (book) – Wikipedia

Retrieved 3 September Look at the popularity of polls on TV, in newspapers and magazines, and now on the Internet, and look how feeble the presentation of these usually is almost none would stand up to much Paulos-scrutiny, for example. The north wall of a garage near my house contains almost exactly ten thousand narrow bricks. For example, one of the sections focuses on normal fluctuations, like how one shooter in a basketball game may have a good streak and then a bad streak without either having a lot of significance.

Paulos provides a valuable example of the stock market promoter who sends out a newsletter to 32, potential customers, predicting a specific upward or downward movement in a stock. I had never thought of it quite like that. It barely scratches the surface. If player 1 has the best average score in both halves of a season, is it possible for player 2 to have a higher average overall?

The understatement, however, is symptomatic of a pervasive innumeracy which ill suits a technologically based society. So if I do poorly today I’m likely to do better tomorrow; and if I do well today I’m likely to do worse tomorrow. There’s a occasional air of smug superiority, and the author suggests outright that the innumerate students of today are just too lazy to learn about math.

Innumeracy, an inability to deal comfortably with the fundamental notions of number and chance, plagues far too many otherwise knowledgeable citizens. Despite an occasional dose of dated references gotta do something about that Strategic Defense Initiative and One of countless books written for those who struggle dealing with numbers in any form. And Paulos shows how the largely innumerate population so readily allows itself to be duped, to its own detriment.

Given the fact that so many doctors seem to believe that there must be at least eleven people in the waiting room if they”re to avoid being idle, I”m not surprised at this new evidence of their innumeracy. Expressed in scientific notation, the answers to the questions posed earlier are: In “Innumeracy”, John Allen Paulos argues that the level of mathematical illiteracy in the United States is shocking and unacceptable, that innumeracy has real and pernicious negative effects, and that it is promoted by poor teaching.

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Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences

I have a few relatively minor complaints, which keep it from being 5 stars, but don’t keep it from being an amazing, must read book. By the way, it would be great if there was a tick box that let me request emails when my comments are answered. An easy little read about mathematical illiteracy. I once had a conversation with a doctor who, within approximately twenty minutes, stated that a certain procedure he was contemplating a had a one-chance-in-a-million risk associated with it; b was 99 percent safe; and c usually went quite well.

If an initial large absolute difference arises due to chance, it’s not likely to go away.

It is the smallest number expressible as the sum of two cubes in two different ways. Despite some initial reluctance one student maintained that hair just doesn”t grow in miles per hour ,they often improve their feeling for numbers dramatically.

But that title, Innumeracy, is about as sexy as an algebraic formula.

Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences by John Allen Paulos

Still as relevant in as it was in The TNT equivalent of all the nuclear weapons in the allsn amounts to 25, megatons, alen 50 trillion pounds, or 10, pounds ihnumeracy every man, woman, and child on earth.

That’s all well and good, but it can lead to being condescending and dismissive, to grumpy ranting instead of a full and detailed argument. Innumeracy is a fairly fun, fairly quick read, addressing an important issue. Paulos did get himself a gig at ABCNews. And each area is liberally doses with some bizarre examples – how to figure how many miles per hour does human hair grow?

He also does a great job pointing out the negative impact of innumeracy on society in general – h I already believe that numbers are beautiful and just make sense but it’s always nice to read a book that agrees with you.

Why not last it out?

But I must admit I was looking for a bit more on what causes innumeracy and what could be done to stem this continual loss because these lacks are a drain on society. Innumeracy made the New York Times best seller the year it came out in Do they feel kind of the same jlhn you? The answers are surprising.

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