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Beyond Numeracy: Ruminations of a Numbers…

Beyond Numeracy: Ruminations of a Numbers Man (original 1991; edition 1991)

by John Allen Paulos

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553418,067 (3.78)5
Title:Beyond Numeracy: Ruminations of a Numbers Man
Authors:John Allen Paulos
Info:Knopf (1991), Edition: 1st ed, Hardcover, 285 pages
Collections:Your library
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Beyond Numeracy: Ruminations of a Numbers Man by John Allen Paulos (1991)

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The other day I happen to start talking to my Mother about Field Theory. We were not sure of the difference between a field and a group. We were on a picnic, but I had a copy "Beyond Numeracy" with me. Sure enough there is a chapter on group theory and it answered our questions.

This book is wonderful to travel with. The chapters are short and interesting. Great reading when you have an hour to kill in the airport. No matter how much or how little Math you know, you are sure to learn something from this book and be entertained in the process. ( )
  gam3 | Mar 10, 2009 |
I’m becoming less enamored of his writing. His books are very duplicative. It’s like I’ve paid three times for the same book.

(Full review at my blog) ( )
  KingRat | Jun 16, 2008 |
Like E.D. Hirsch, but for math. It's an interesting view about what math should be in people's lives, but Paulos strikes me as a mathematician who can write a bit, not an educator.
  labbit440 | Jul 30, 2007 |
From John Allen Paulos, author of the widely praised best-seller Innumeracy and the country's best explainer of things mathematical, a delightful -- and enriching -- exploration of the beauty and fascination of numbers.
Part dictionary, part amusement, Beyond Numeracy is nothing less than a crash course in clear thinking about mathematics. Paulos continues his efforts to whet our appetite for mathematics, curing math terror and showing us that we often know more than we think we do (many who credit their insights to "logic" or "common sense" have been thinking math all their lives without realizing it).
Beyond Numeracy presents in engrossing fashion a broad range of mathematical concepts, from the basic to the advanced, that have transformed our civilization. Topics range from algebra, coincidence, game theory, non-Euclidian geometry, calculus, and probability theory to such new areas of mathematics as chaos, fractals, recursion, and complexity. Paulos's conversational style and droll musings throughout render mathematics both less daunting and far more accessible.
"A widespread misconception about mathematics," writes the author, "is that it is completely hierarchical -- first arithmetic, then algebra, then calculus, then more abstraction, then whatever... This belief in the totem pole nature of mathematics isn't true, but it prevents many people who did poorly in seventh-grade, high school, or even college mathematics from picking up a popular book on the subject. Often very ""advanced"" mathematical ideas are more intuitive and comprehensible than are certain areas of elementary algebra.""
In demystifying the subject, Paulos examines topics chosen to both entertain and educate. For example:-
-- We learn what the mathematical basis of coincidence is in part by addressing the question of how many intermediates it takes to link two strangers sitting together on an airplane. (Ninety-nine times out of 100 they will be linked by two or fewer.)
-- We master in simple terms what chaos theory is by coming to see why the U.S Postal Service, the human circulatory system, and the local ecology are all subject to unpredictable variation.
-- We understand better the number pi when the author poses -- and discusses -- this question: If a string is tied around the equator, how much extra string would have to be added so that the extended string would be one foot about the earth's surface all around the equator. (The answer is a little more than six feet).
All these inquiries share a common purpose -- to help us understand the thinking behind the solution, to illustrate how the numerate mind operates. Mathematical literacy is now essential. Happily, Beyond Numeracy will enable all readers to achieve that goal and to see the world and everyday events in it in a fresh way.
  rajendran |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Allen Paulosprimary authorall editionscalculated
Los, BettelouTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Swernoff, ChristineIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For my parents, Helen and Peter, the source of my X's and Y's
I'd also like to thank Rafe Sagalyn, Robert Frankel, and Sheila, Leah, and Daniel Paulos.
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(Introduction): This book is in part a dictionary, in part a collection of short mathematical essays, and in part the ruminations of a numbers man.
The practical importance of studying mathematics is widely acknowledged, but relatively few will grant that the mathematics of everyday life can be an engaging topic for idle thought.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 067973807X, Paperback)

Beyond Numeracy by bestselling author John Allen Paulos is, according to the introduction, "in part a dictionary, in part a collection of short mathematical essays, and in part the ruminations of a numbers man." This book is genuinely different from other books on mathematics intended for a wide audience as the essay topics are indisputably diverse. (Titles include "Human Consciousness, Its Fractal Nature" and "Mathematics in Ethics.") Furthermore, Paulos's unique sense of humor and ability to intelligently editorialize are delightful--especially in a book on such a dry subject.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:00 -0400)

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