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How Not to be Wrong: The Hidden Maths of Everyday Life
 
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How Not to be Wrong: The Hidden Maths of Everyday Life [Format Kindle]

Jordan Ellenberg

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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

A cheery manifesto for the utility of mathematical thinking. Ellenberg's prose is a delight - informal and robust, irreverent yet serious... Full of simple yet deep insights that encourage clear thinking about many areas of modern life... How Not to Be Wrong is an impressive work of popular mathematics. It's low on formulae and numbers, and big on ideas (Alex Bellos The Guardian)

Underlying the playful stories that make this book so gloriously, surprisingly readable is a passionate argument for the core discipline of managing uncertainty in decision-making ... In short, we dismiss maths at our peril, and this book charmingly, persuasively puts us straight. If only they'd taught maths like this at school (James McConnachie Sunday Times)

There are plenty of popular maths books around, but this one strikes a particularly fine balance between rigour and accessibility. There are complex ideas here, but Ellenberg has a gift for finding real-life examples... His easy style is lucid and witty. If only all maths lessons were like this (Orlando Bird Financial Times)

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 Pinker, author of How the Mind Works)

Beautiful... Mr. Ellenberg's book is chock-full of gems. His easy-to-follow, humorously presented examples range from analyzing the wisdom of buying lottery tickets to the effects of chaos on weather forecasts, from tests on how Shakespeare used alliteration in his sonnets to the economic advantages of being late to flights (Wall Street Journal)

If you feel bamboozled by figures, you can think like a mathematician without actually being one. An engaging and clear explanation of some of the tricks of the trade, and how they help you spot errors of numerical reasoning in politics, religion, and finance. A gripping read! (Ian Stewart, author of Seventeen Equations that Changed the World)

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 (Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, author of Plato at the Googleplex)

Brilliantly engaging... Ellenberg's talent for finding real-life situations that enshrine mathematical principles would be the envy of any math teacher. He presents these in fluid succession, like courses in a fine restaurant, taking care to make each insight shine through, unencumbered by jargon or notation. Part of the sheer intellectual joy of the book is watching the author leap nimbly from topic to topic... The final effect is of one enormous mosaic unified by mathematics (Washington Post)

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 (Steven Strogatz, author of The Joy of X)

Ellenberg writes with remarkable flair and humour. His deft, witty, colloquial prose often makes one laugh... So great are Jordan Ellenberg's gifts of exposition and insight that one hopes for many more books from him as excellent and entertaining as How Not To Be Wrong (Peter Pesic Times Literary Supplement)

Présentation de l'éditeur

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.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 2706 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 451 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 184614678X
  • Editeur : Penguin (3 juin 2014)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B00K8J3VC2
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
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  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°82.384 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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Amazon.com: 4.1 étoiles sur 5  153 commentaires
163 internautes sur 174 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 "Mathematics is the extension of common sense by other means." 29 mai 2014
Par BHB - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
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!
101 internautes sur 117 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 You Simply Won't Believe How Much This Book Will Change Your Life 9 juin 2014
Par Jeffrey W Hatley - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
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.
26 internautes sur 29 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 An Acquired Taste, So Don't Give Up Too Soon! 27 juin 2014
Par Let's Compare Options Preptorial - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
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...
32 internautes sur 38 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 If there was one thing I was reminded of in reading this book its that I shouldn't have trusted the five star reviews.... 4 août 2014
Par Nom de Plume - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
Let me save you your money and give you the two best pieces of advice in this book: instead of looking for reasons why you could be right, look for reasons why you could be wrong. Humans are prone to confirmation bias--trying to confirm what we want to be true. Determine where your biases are and attempt to remove them. If you don't want to be wrong, constantly look for reasons why you could be wrong. Second, always evaluate the assumptions that you are making and determine whether or not those assumptions are true. The best part of the book was at the very beginning with the chapter on Abraham Wald, which explains this lesson beautifully. If you want to read that story, check this book out from the library and save yourself the money...the rest of the book was largely a waste of my time and money.

Unfortunately, I made both those mistakes when purchasing this book. I assumed that this would be a highly logical book with mathematical reasoning....wrong. It amazes me that an author, writing about how to not be wrong showed so many examples of biased and illogical thinking. Other reviewers have gone into the political bias but there were other claims that I found to be a bit more troubling. Everything you do either prevents or causes cancer? You've got to be kidding me.....so, which end of this false dichotomy does reading "how to not be wrong" get me? ......"The null hypothesis is almost always false".....nope, wrong again. Unfounded, illogical, and biased claims abound in this book.

The irony here is that you likely can't take my review seriously because my review is likely just as biased as all the others. In order for you to determine whether or not "how to not be wrong" is in fact a book worth your time and money is for you to buy it and evaluate it for yourself. Simply taking my word for it would be wrong. So, given this fact, I highly recommend you rent this from your local library rather than believing the 5 star reviews (wanting it to be as good as they say it is and as good as I hoped it would be) or reviews like mine that simply were unimpressed. And that, my friends, is how to not waste your money!

If you are truly interested in improving your logic and using mathematical thinking to "not be wrong" then a much much better way to invest your money is in "Your deceptive mind" by Professor Steven Novella. Yes, its more expensive but absolutely fantastic.
14 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 This is a great read for people who think they are math phobes ... 3 juillet 2014
Par Charlotte A Mac-Farland - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
I learned about the underlying mathematical principles of life! Since I am not someone who is mathematically inclined and am 68 years old, I had to read some pages twice. However, most of the book was comprehensible and fascinating. I wish my calculus professor had started with his short pages on calculus! This is a great read for people who think they are math phobes or think they aren't interest in mathematical principles.
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