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Loading... ## Chaotic Elections! A Mathematician Looks at Voting## by Donald G. Saari
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Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book. No current Talk conversations about this book. Of the two expository books by Saari on the mathematics of voting systems, this is clearly the more mathematically oriented , although it is not exactly a mathematical text, containing no proofs of the stated theorems but only ilustrative exemples and very clear explanations. Saari also refers the reader to the most relevant contributions in the technical literature, including his very many papers and his excelent mathematical monograph Basic Geometry of Voting. Being a kind of middle of the road text between the Social Sciences and the Mathematical communities, this book can leave some people unsatisfied, not exploring in depth neither of the fields. For me, I found it very interesting and a useful stepping stone between Saari's book Decisions and Elections and his mathematical papers and monograph that every serious student of the field must sooner or later plunge into. no reviews | add a review
What does the 2000 U.S. presidential election have in common with selecting a textbook for a calculus course in your department? Was Ralph Nader's influence on the election of George W. Bush greater than the now-famous chads? In Chaotic Elections!, Don Saari analyzes these questions, placing them in the larger context of voting systems in general. His analysis shows that the fundamental problems with the 2000 presidential election are not with the courts, recounts, or defective ballots, but are caused by the very way Americans vote for president. |
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This book is easily read by the general reader, but also contains a fair amount of math. Although probably not as rigorous as a textbook might be, there are 13 theorems (all citing a more rigorous book or journal article for more detail). Due to either lack of educational background or lack of sufficient motivation, I was unable to follow some of the denser mathematical sections. However, the book is well written, so it is usually possible to understand the general idea, even when the math is somewhat glossed over. The only section where this was a problem for me was when the author claimed that the Borda Count may be an exception to Arrow's Theorem, if certain conditions are slightly relaxed. This is interesting and significant feature of the Borda Count. I trust that it is true, but would need to spend a lot more time carefully not glossing over the mathematics in order to understand the effect of the modified conditions.

My only criticism of this book is the organization is sometimes hard to follow, and chapter titles don't help very much. Topics are mentioned early, a question may be posed, and then the reader is told that it will be considered in detail later. However, I still recommended the book to anyone interested in this subject. ( )