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Math with Bad Drawings: Illuminating the…

Math with Bad Drawings: Illuminating the Ideas That Shape Our Reality (original 2018; edition 2018)

by Ben Orlin (Author)

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792239,161 (3.93)4
The creator of the "Math With Bad Drawings" blog explains how math works in everyday life and how it can be better understood, using lighthearted cartoon illustrations, jokes, and anecdotes that demystify essential concepts."A hilarious reeducation in mathematics--full of joy, jokes, and stick figures--that sheds light on the countless practical and wonderful ways that math structures and shapes our world. In Math With Bad Drawings, Ben Orlin reveals to us what math actually is; its myriad uses, its strange symbols, and the wild leaps of logic and faith that define the usually impenetrable work of the mathematician. Truth and knowledge come in multiple forms: colorful drawings, encouraging jokes, and the stories and insights of an empathetic teacher who believes that math should belong to everyone. Orlin shows us how to think like a mathematician by teaching us a brand-new game of tic-tac-toe, how to understand an economic crises by rolling a pair of dice, and the mathematical headache that ensues when attempting to build a spherical Death Star. Every discussion in the book is illustrated with Orlin's trademark "bad drawings," which convey his message and insights with perfect pitch and clarity. With 24 chapters covering topics from the electoral college to human genetics to the reasons not to trust statistics, Math with Bad Drawings is a life-changing book for the math-estranged and math-enamored alike"--Dust jacket.… (more)
Title:Math with Bad Drawings: Illuminating the Ideas That Shape Our Reality
Authors:Ben Orlin (Author)
Info:Black Dog & Leventhal (2018), 376 pages
Collections:Your library

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Math with Bad Drawings by Ben Orlin (2018)



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Very little math is needed to enjoy this book. An interest in math is plenty enough. The book is divided in five parts: how to think like mathematician (a gentle introduction to reaccustom the mind to mathematical thinking for those of us who have been finished with school and mathematics for a long time); design: the geometry of stuff that works (about geometry, the most technical and mathematical part); probability: the mathematics of maybe (dealing among other things with the math of lottery, insurance and the economic crisis of 2008); statistics: the fine art of honest lying (with examples taken from baseball, school rankings and literature); on the cusp: the power of a step (with chapters on the value of things, income tax, the Electoral College and chaos theory).

The math concepts are presented in a very clear way, in small chunks that are easy to understand. Though the subject of math is somehow serious, the author made me giggle quite a few times, and the drawings, for which the epithet bad is indeed apt, make the reading even more entertaining. I think the author is at his best in the chapters about probability and statistics. It is the sort of math with which we are confronted in our daily lives, which makes it more interesting.

For a book about a universal subject, it is very US-centric, with its examples taken from baseball, the banking system, the Electroral College... It is not a problem in and of itself, but it becomes a problem when it seeps into facts. On page 331, it is said that a research about a snowstorm in 1961 "marked the birth of a new experimental style of mathematics, an interdisciplinary insurgency that soon became known as "chaos theory."" It should have been mentioned that it was the begining of "chaos theory" in the computer age, because the origins of chaos theory are generally attributed to 19th century French mathematician Henri Poincarré.

On the whole, I found it an entertaining read. If you parted ways with maths on bad terms, this is an excellent opportunity for reconciliation. ( )
  Montarville | Jan 1, 2019 |
Placed this into my library queue on a whim after spotting it somewhere on social media. Math's never been my strong suit so from the cover it seemed like it might be one of those things that might make the subject a little less painful for someone who really struggled with it while in school. The idea was to use drawings to explain a lot of common questions: when will I ever use this? How is it applicable in real life? Why is it so hard to learn?

Perhaps I wasn't in the mood or right frame of mind for this because I didn't find the book interesting at all. It was very difficult for me to get into and it really did not hold my interest in any way. It seemed like it may have been a lot more relevant while I was in school and perhaps it's also something that I'm not really ready for: I haven't used a lot of (any?) math that was more advanced than basic stuff (that can easily be done via a calculator) in quite awhile and haven't needed to for years.

It seems other people really liked it so maybe it was just me. For a student struggling with it, though, I could see the appeal. Maybe I'll return to it someday.

Otherwise, I borrowed this from the library and that was best. ( )
  acciolibros | Oct 13, 2018 |
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