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How Not To Be Wrong: The Hidden Maths of Everyday Life
 
 

How Not To Be Wrong: The Hidden Maths of Everyday Life [Kindle Edition]

Jordan Ellenberg

Kindle-Preis: EUR 13,99 Inkl. MwSt. und kostenloser drahtloser Lieferung über Amazon Whispernet

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Produktbeschreibungen

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Kirkus Reviews:
“The author avoids heavy jargon and relies on real-world anecdotes and basic equations and illustrations to communicate how even simple math is a powerful tool….[Ellenberg]writes that, at its core, math is a special thing and produces a feeling of understanding unattainable elsewhere: ‘You feel you’ve reached into the universe’s guts and put your hand on the wire.’ Math is profound, and profoundly awesome, so we should use it well—or risk being wrong….Witty and expansive, Ellenberg’s math will leave readers informed, intrigued and armed with plenty of impressive conversation starters.”

Booklist:
“Readers will indeed marvel at how often mathematics sheds unexpected light on economics (assessing the performance of investment advisors), public health (predicting the likely prevalence of obesity in 30 years), and politics (explaining why wealthy individuals vote Republican but affluent states go for Democrats). Relying on remarkably few technical formulas, Ellenberg writes with humor and verve as he repeatedly demonstrates that mathematics simply extends common sense. He manages to translate even the work of theoretical pioneers such as Cantor and Gödel into the language of intelligent amateurs. The surprises that await readers include not only a discovery of the astonishing versatility of mathematical thinking but also a realization of its very real limits. Mathematics, as it turns out, simply cannot resolve the real-world ambiguities surrounding the Bush-Gore cliff-hanger of 2000, nor can it resolve the much larger question of God’s existence. A bracing encounter with mathematics that matters.”

Steven Pinker, Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology, Harvard University; author of How the Mind Works:
“The title of this wonderful book explains what it adds to the honorable genre of popular writing on mathematics. Like Lewis Carroll, George Gamow, and Martin Gardner before him, Jordan Ellenberg shows how mathematics can delight and stimulate the mind. But he also shows that mathematical thinking should be in the toolkit of every thoughtful person—of everyone who wants to avoid fallacies, superstitions, and other ways of being wrong.”

Steven Strogatz, Schurman Professor of Applied Mathematics, Cornell University, and author, The Joy of x:
“With math as with anything else, there’s smart, and then there’s street smart. This book will help you be both. Fans of Freakonomics and The Signal and the Noise will love Ellenberg’s surprising stories, snappy writing, and brilliant lessons in numerical savvy. How Not to Be Wrong is sharp, funny, and right.”

John Allen Paulos, author of Innumeracy and A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper:
“Through a powerful mathematical lens Jordan Ellenberg engagingly examines real-world issues ranging from the fetishizing of straight lines in the reporting of obesity to the game theory of missing flights, from the relevance to digestion of regression to the mean to the counter-intuitive Berkson’s paradox, which may explain why handsome men don’t seem to be as nice as not so handsome ones. The coverage is broad, but not shallow and the exposition is non-technical and sprightly.”

Timothy Gowers:
“Jordan Ellenberg is a top mathematician and a wonderful expositor, and the theme of his book is important and timely. How Not to Be Wrong is destined to be a classic.”

Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, author of Plato at the Googleplex:
“Jordan Ellenberg promises to share ways of thinking that are both simple to grasp and profound in their implications, and he delivers in spades. These beautifully readable pages delight and enlighten in equal parts. Those who already love math will eat it up, and those who don’t yet know how lovable math is are in for a most pleasurable surprise."

Danica McKellar, actress and bestselling author of Math Doesn’t Suck and Kiss My Math:
"Brilliant and fascinating! Ellenberg shows his readers how to magnify common sense using the tools usually only accessible to those who have studied higher mathematics. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in expanding their worldly savviness—and math IQ!"

Kurzbeschreibung

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 rules, laid down by the ancients and not to be questioned. In How Not to Be Wrong, Jordan Ellenberg shows us how terribly limiting this view is: Math isn't confined to abstract incidents that never occur in real life, but rather touches everything we do--the whole world is shot through with it.

Math allows us to see the hidden structures underneath the messy and chaotic surface of our world. It's a science of not being wrong, hammered out by centuries of hard work and argument. Armed with the tools of mathematics, we can see through to the true meaning of information we take for granted: How early should you get to the airport? What does "public opinion" really represent? Why do tall parents have shorter children? Who really won Florida in 2000? And how likely are you, really, to develop cancer?

How Not to Be Wrong
presents the surprising revelations behind all of these questions and many more, using the mathematician's method of analyzing life and exposing the hard-won insights of the academic community to the layman--minus the jargon. Ellenberg chases mathematical threads through a vast range of time and space, from the everyday to the cosmic, encountering, among other things, baseball, Reaganomics, daring lottery schemes, Voltaire, the replicability crisis in psychology, Italian Renaissance painting, artificial languages, the development of non-Euclidean geometry, the coming obesity apocalypse, Antonin Scalia's views on crime and punishment, the psychology of slime molds, what Facebook can and can't figure out about you, and the existence of God.

Ellenberg pulls from history as well as from the latest theoretical developments to provide those not trained in math with the knowledge they need. Math, as Ellenberg says, is "an atomic-powered prosthesis that you attach to your common sense, vastly multiplying its reach and strength." With the tools of mathematics in hand, you can understand the world in a deeper, more meaningful way. How Not to Be Wrong will show you how.

Produktinformation

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 2706 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 451 Seiten
  • ISBN-Quelle für Seitenzahl: 184614678X
  • Verlag: Penguin (3. Juni 2014)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ASIN: B00K8J3VC2
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Aktiviert
  • X-Ray:
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #83.426 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

  •  Ist der Verkauf dieses Produkts für Sie nicht akzeptabel?

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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 von 5 Sternen  59 Rezensionen
129 von 137 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen "Mathematics is the extension of common sense by other means." 29. Mai 2014
Von BHB - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
I run across a lot of books that I add to my to-be-read list and then forget about until after their publication dates or I stumble upon the book in the library or bookstore. How Not to Be Wrong was initially one of those books, but it sounded so good that I found myself obsessively thinking about it and started a search for a pre-publication copy. Since I'm not a librarian, didn't win a copy via First Reads, and don't have friends at Penguin Press, it took some time and effort, but having procured a copy and read it, I can say that it was well worth my time and $6.00. How Not to Be Wrong is a catchy title, but for me, this book is really about the subtitle, The Power of Mathematical Thinking.

Ellenberg deftly explains why mathematics is important, gives the reader myriad examples applicable to our own lives, and also tells us what math can't do. He writes, “Mathematics is the extension of common sense by other means”, and proceeds to expound upon an incredible number of interesting subjects and how mathematics can help us better understand these topics, such as obesity, economics, reproducibility, the lottery, error-correcting codes, and the existence (or not) of God. He writes in a compelling, explanatory way that I think anyone with an interest in mathematics and/or simply understanding things more completely will be able to grasp. Ellenberg writes “Do the Math” for Slate, and it's evident in his column and this book that he knows how to explain mathematical ideas to non-mathematicians, and even more so, seems to enjoy doing so with great enthusiasm. I won't pretend that I understood everything discussed in this book, but it's such an excellent book that I also bought the hardcover (so I have an index which my pre-pub copy does not), and reread the book so I do have a much more thorough understanding. I've wished for a book like this for a long time, and I'd like to thank Jordan Ellenberg for writing it for me!
66 von 75 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen You Simply Won't Believe How Much This Book Will Change Your Life 9. Juni 2014
Von Jeffrey W Hatley - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
I've already been recommending this book to family and friends, so I thought I'd take a few moments to recommend it to strangers on the internet, too.

This book, as anyone who is familiar with Jordan Ellenberg's writing (or speaking!) would expect, is written in an entertaining, witty, and engaging style. Each chapter of the book is framed by one or two major, motivating questions, such as:

- What parts of military aircraft should get the most armor?
- Is it ever a good idea to play the lottery?
- How should votes be counted in a democracy?

The answers that mathematical thinking asks you to accept are often surprising and unintuitive, but Jordan guides the reader through the fog of potentially-complicated arguments with a conversational style rife with clear, succinct examples and amusing historical anecdotes. In the hands of other writers, the mathematics in this book may be dull, or technical and complicated, or all of these things; but with How Not To Be Wrong, Jordan has instead created a book that you will eagerly and (mostly) effortlessly consume.

To put it another way: Steven Pinker said that "assumption of equality between writer and reader makes the reader feel like a genius, [while] bad writing makes the reader feel like a dunce." Jordan Ellenberg makes the reader feel like a genius.

Finally, regarding another reviewer's comments about the author's "liberal bias", I'd like to point out that I had the exact opposite impression while reading this book. Whenever politics were considered, I thought Jordan was even-handed and stuck to the mathematics at hand without wading into any political commentary. While I have liberal political ideals, and I avoid talking about politics with the more conservative members of my family, I would not feel uncomfortable recommending or gifting this book to any of them. This simply is not a book about politics, and I'm surprised that anyone would would have their political feathers ruffled when reading it.
111 von 143 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen This is perfect for people who love math 29. Mai 2014
Von CATHERINE H ONEIL - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
You guys are in for a treat. In fact I’m jealous of you.

You see, I had a little secret about my survival in grad school at Harvard, and that secret has a name, and that name is Jordan Ellenberg. We used to meet every Tuesday and Thursday to study schemes at the CallaLily Cafe a few blocks from the Science Center on Kirkland Street, and even though that sounds kind of dull, it was a blast. It was what kept me sane at Harvard.

You see, Jordan has an infectious positivity about him, which balances my rather intense suspicions, and moreover he’s hilariously funny. He’s really somewhere between a mathematician and a stand-up comedian, and to be honest I don’t know which one he’s better at, although he is a deeply talented mathematician.

The reason I’m telling you this is that he’s written a book, called How Not To Be Wrong, and available for purchase starting today, which is a delight to read and which will make you understand why I survived graduate school. In fact nobody will ever let me complain again once they’ve read this book, because it reads just like Jordan talks. In reading it, I felt like I was right back at CallaLily, singing Prince’s “Sexy MF” and watching Jordan flirt with the cashier lady again. Aaaah memories.

So what’s in the book? Well, he talks a lot about math, and about mathematicians, and the lottery, and in fact he has this long riff which starts out with lottery math, then goes to error-correcting codes and then to made-up languages and then to sphere packing and then arrives again at lotteries. And it’s brilliant and true and beautiful and also funny.

I have a theory about this book that you could essentially open it up to any page and begin to enjoy it, since it is thoroughly enjoyable and the math is cumulative but everywhere so well explained that it wouldn’t take long to follow along, and pretty soon you’d be giggling along with Jordan at every ridiculous footnote he’s inserted into his narrative.

In other words, every page is a standalone positive and ontological examination of the beauty and surprise of mathematical discovery. And so, if you are someone who shares with Jordan a love for mathematics, you will have a consistently great time with this book. In fact I’m imagining that you have an uncle or a mom who loves math or science, in which case this would be a seriously perfect gift to them, but of course you could also give that gift to yourself. I mean, this is a guy who can make nazi jokes funny, and he does.

Having said that, the magic of the book is that it’s not just a collection of wonderful mathy tidbits. Jordan also has a point about the act of scrutinizing something in a logical and mathematical fashion. That act itself is courageous and should be appreciated, and he explains why, and he tells us how much we’ve already benefited from people in the past who have had the bravery to do so. He appreciates them and we should too.

And yet, he also sends the important message that it’s not an elitist crew of the usual genius suspects, that in fact we can all do this in our own capacity. It’s a great message and, if it ends up allowing people to re-examine their need for certainty in an uncertain world, then Jordan will really end up doing good. Fingers crossed.

That’s not to say it’s a perfect book, and I wanted to argue with points on basically every other page, but mostly in a good, friendly, over-drinks kind of way, which is provocative but not annoying. One exception I might make came on page 256: no, Jordan, municipal bonds do not always get paid back, and no, stocks do not always go up, not even in expectation. In fact to the extent that both of those statements seem true to many people is the result of many cynical political acts and is damaging, mostly to people like retired civil servants. Don’t go there!

Another quibble: Jordan talks about how public policy makers make proclamations in the face of uncertainty, and he has a lot of sympathy and seems to think the should keep doing this. I’m on the other side on this one. Telling people to avoid certain foods and then changing stances seems more damaging than helpful and it happens constantly. And it’s often tied to industry and money, which also doesn’t impress.

Even so, even when I strongly disagree with Jordan, I always want to have the conversation. He forces that on the reader because he’s so darn positive and open-minded.

A few more goodies that I wanted to adore without giving too much away. Jordan does a great job with something he calls “The Great Square of Men” and Berkson’s Fallacy: it will explain to many many women why they are not finding the man they’re looking for. He also throws out a bone to nerds like me when he almost proves that every pig is yellow, and he absolutely kills it, stand-up comedian style, when comparing Ross Perot to a small dark pile of oats. Holy crap he was on a roll there.

So here’s one thing I’ve started doing since reading the book. When I give my 5-year-old son his dessert, it’s in the form of Hershey Drops, which are kind of like fat M&M’s. I give him 15 and I ask him to count them to make sure I got it right. Sometimes I give him 14 to make sure he’s paying attention. But that’s not the new part. The new part is something I stole from Jordan’s book.

The new part is that some days I ask him, “do you want me to give you 3 rows of 5 drops?” And I wait for him to figure out that’s enough and say “yes!” And the other days I ask him “do you want me to give you 5 rows of 3 drops?” and I again wait. And in either case I put the drops out in a rectangle.

And last night, for the first time, he explained to me in a slightly patronizing voice that it doesn’t matter which way I do it because it ends up being the same, because of the rectangle formation and how you look at it. And just to check I asked him which would be more, 10 rows of 7 drops or 7 rows of 10 drops, and he told me, “duh, it would be the same because it couldn’t be any different.”

And that, my friends, is how not to be wrong.
10 von 11 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Misleading Title on A Good Book 6. Juli 2014
Von Book Fanatic - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
I hate the title (are you kidding??) and the subtitle "The Power of Mathematical Thinking" should have been the actual title. Regardless that doesn't change the content and if you stick with this book you are going to enjoy it. It does move a little slowly at times and I read it in fairly small segments. I wish authors would stop using political examples and they simply alienate people who might otherwise benefit but like the title you can simply ignore the political potshots taken and enjoy the idea of mathematical thinking. We need more mathematical thinking because so much of our intuitive thinking is simply wrong.

This is not a great book but it is still quite good. You don't have to be great at math to get something out of this book but I think you need to at least not fear it. Recommended.
10 von 12 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen An Acquired Taste, So Don't Give Up Too Soon! 27. Juni 2014
Von Let's Compare Options - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
You'll start reading this book thinking there will be a lot of juicy math on odds vs. utility functions in decision theory, then toss it out in disgust when you find you're reading a snail-paced "lives of the Saints in Probability..."

BUT IF you toss it, you'd be WRONG just like the book's title! Ok, I'm with George Box that all models are wrong but some are useful, so in all humility, even if our thinking is n-dimensional and nonlinear, our headlights still don't go out centuries, and the law of unintended consequences will inevitably rear it's fearsome head. So yes, I know I'm gunna be wrong more than right even reading this gem of a book.

It gets FUN! As you read on, Jord gets into deeper and deeper math, and most significantly, starts to COMBINE stats, geometry, differential equations, etc. in eclectic, multi-disciplinary fields, which are much more like real life than academic exercises. It is not only math that has a new twist every hour these days, it is the combinations of fields (as in vocations and disciplines, not quantum fields) that is making math more and more relevant.

I'm not one to discount the gut, heart, tradition or even intuition, but it really is enlightening to take a little more quant view at our normal evaluations of everyday spin. Yes, the author does have a bit of a left bent, but heck, those are just examples, and you'd have to be pretty emotion driven not to see how easily his logic applies to ANY "position." I see a LOT of tongue in cheek in this book and a LOT of both wonder and just plain great story telling-- please don't pass on this book if you're bright but not necessarily a policy wonk!

I've been in school board meetings where one group or another wants to add social justice at the expense of STEM and math, and I just scratch my head. I've seen left proposals to take out intelligent design while adding Islam (??) and right proposals to remove Islam, Darwin and Linear Algebra to add family social values. Hmmm. The folks that criticize this author for being a little too green might consider that he is clearly for adding back a LOT more math in the curricula! Hey, I'm a geek, and only anti-geeks can argue with that! I guarantee that even if you are way right, but smart, you'll thoroughly enjoy this book, and it applies just as clearly to one cause or position as another, and tries to avoid being "dumb" about ANY linear thinking.

I'm more into enjoying what you buy here than getting into politics, but because of some of Jordan's controversy, just thought I'd add my 2c that this is well worth reading regardless of your politics, as it is fun and smart. Just give it a chance, it gets better and better faster and faster-- second derivative + -- jounce, jolt, surge etc. stuff.

;=) Enjoy...
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