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Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its…
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Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences (original 1988; edition 2001)

by John Allen Paulos (Author)

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1,814326,200 (3.8)35
Why do even well-educated people understand so little about mathematics? And what are the costs of our innumeracy? John Allen Paulos, in his celebrated bestseller first published in 1988, argues that our inability to deal rationally with very large numbers and the probabilities associated with them results in misinformed governmental policies, confused personal decisions, and an increased susceptibility to pseudoscience of all kinds. Innumeracy lets us know what we're missing, and how we cando something about it. Sprinkling his discussion of numbers and probabilities with quirky stories and anecdotes, Paulos ranges freely over many aspects of modern life, from contested elections to sports stats, from stock scams and newspaper psychics to diet and medical claims, sex discrimination, insurance, lotteries, and drug testing. Readers ofInnumeracywill be rewarded with scores of astonishing facts, a fistful of powerful ideas, and, most important, a clearer, more quantitative way of looking at their world.… (more)
Member:NormanV
Title:Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences
Authors:John Allen Paulos (Author)
Info:HOLT MCDOUGAL (2001), Edition: First, 180 pages
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Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences by John Allen Paulos (1988)

Recently added byjoanmam, gothamgrrl, aecath, reg_lt, Robleclerc, jfwsem, private library
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» See also 35 mentions

English (29)  Dutch (1)  Italian (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (32)
Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
Liked: a couple of salient points. interesting ways to understand coincidence and frequency of occurance.. Disliked: condescending, arrogant, frequently ignorant. the author relies upon statistics and facts which are never cited. oops!. all about numerical-illiteracy. ( )
  reg_lt | Feb 7, 2020 |
The author writes of his concern for the innumerate society in which we live. People that can't balance a checkbook and don't find a problem with that are rather scary, since they have to make decisions that sometimes require mathematical proficiency.

All the while he cites numerous examples and ideas in probability and other things that people believe for stupid misinformed reasons. Mostly astrology and numerology and other things that make no sense.

All in all this book is shorter than I thought it would be. It is also very 80s, but the concerns apply even more now then they did 30 years ago. So many things we do require a passing knowledge of math, but sadly, many people are lacking in this department. ( )
  Floyd3345 | Jun 15, 2019 |
Mathematics
  stevholt | Nov 19, 2017 |
[Update on 9/20/15 Reread: upgrading to five stars and changing "Good" to "Excellent"] Excellent, brief intro to probability, common fallacies of statistical correlation, absurdities of astrology, numerology, and other pseudosciences. ( )
  Razinha | May 23, 2017 |
OK, maybe 1 1/2 stars. I didn't hate it. It just didn't do much for me.

Actually, I finished it, but it was just because the book was so short. I'm not going to count this one towards my goal for this year.

I might have liked this book better if I had read it when it was new. A lot of references and examples were dated 1988/1991.

But the real problem, to me, was that the author was trying to accomplish 2 incompatible purposes, while keeping the mathematics easy enough for the general reader.
1. Keeping things light and pleasant.
2. Arguing his view on various social (and sometimes political) issues.
Even when I agreed with his views, it just didn't come across as light and pleasant.

It didn't help that I was already aware of most of the pitfalls he discussed. I had encountered them in other contexts. So I wasn't learning much of anything.

I may toss the book in the trash. Or see if Half Price Books wants it. ( )
  CarolJMO | Dec 12, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 29 (next | show all)
Mr. Paulos is the sort of person who, when he hears that something or other is selling at a fraction of its normal cost, is likely to remark ''that the fraction is probably 4/3.'' He writes that this is often greeted by ''a blank stare.'' He takes it to be one of incomprehension, but a reader of ''Innumeracy'' may suspect behind the look an impulse to throttle Mr. Paulos. Still, there is so much of value in his book that one can easily restrain such an urge. He takes us a couple of steps closer to numeracy, and it is all in all an enlightening place to be.
 

» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Allen Paulosprimary authorall editionscalculated
Kousbroek, RudyAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Los, BettelouTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prinsen, ErikCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vala, KlausTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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