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How Not to Be Wrong
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Description
The Freakonomics of math  a mathworld 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 hardwon 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 nonEuclidean 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 atomicpowered 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.
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 Elimaes12
 02/11/2019
Good book, but boring at times
Offers some interesting insights about mathematics and statistics in particular. The dull part is about the math history, the interesting part is about stories and examples which explain some important mathematical principles. This book shows that it's possible to listen to an audiobook on mathematics!

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 Michael
 02/07/2014
Great book but better in writing
The title of this book is somewhat misleading (which the author admits). Instead it should have been "how to use math to not feel stupid when you are wrong". The author freely admits the dark truth, most people are not going to use the math they learn. Amazingly this is true even of scientists. Most of the math stuff I learned I don't need, as now I use Excel and Mathematica. Yet this book explains the part of math I do use, and many people don't realize is the important part of math, that is, to extend common sense by other means. This book includes primers of the very basics of calculus and statistics that everyone should know. The stories are humorous, interesting, and make the point that a little math can really help make good decisions.
Unfortunately, there are some parts of this book that don't translate well to audio. A table of numbers can be compared at a glance, but a bunch of spoken numbers are not easy to compare. If you wonder what good is learning math, this is a great book, but I would recommend the written version. The author's narration is quite good, with a very positive attitude that comes through.
52 sur 54 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

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 Bonny
 03/06/2014
Mathematics is the extension of common sense...
I run across a lot of books that I add to my toberead 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 prepublication 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, errorcorrecting 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 nonmathematicians, 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 audio version and am listening to it (read by the author himself!) so I 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!
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 Andrew
 13/11/2015
Good conversation fodder
I listened to this audiobook while getting my doctorate, specifically while taking a quantitative methodology and statistics class. This book had so many applications to social science research, but also to just life in general. I spoke about different topics from the book with friends on hikes, at work, on car rides, and virtually any chance I had.
10/10 recommend.
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 Jim Fuqua
 15/12/2014
Much Good Information
You must have some background with math to appreciate this book. You don't need to be a mathematician, but you need to have some concept of statistics  not details  just a basic idea of how statistics work.
The last half of the book was more interesting to me than the first half. Don't start there, start at the first so you will understand the last half.
I found his comments on multicandidate elections where no candidate gets a majority to be particularly interesting.
There are parts to this book that drag. Some may drag because you might not be interested in the subject he uses to illustrate a mathematical process or principal. When he talks about sports statistics keep in mind that he is illustrating mathematical principles and not focusing on sports.
You can and will learn a lot from this book and will enjoy most of the book. You might learn more than you want to know about some mathematical subjects, but math is a tool and each addition to our toolkit strengthens us whether we know it at the time or not.
Jim Fuqua
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 Steve
 15/12/2016
Very hard to follow  not suitable for audiobook
What could have made this a 4 or 5star listening experience for you?
Nothing  this book is simply not suitable for audiobook. It is very hard to follow the various arguments without seeing the figures and I am a mathematician.
8 sur 9 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

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 Mingcui Zhou
 10/07/2017
Very enlightening
Interesting and enlightening. It is a little bit difficult to follow the equation and numbers in the audible version though. But one can still get a general idea.
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 CarlosBadhouse
 28/12/2018
At times interesting, but...
The title does not fit the book; the subtitle perhaps more but still not quite a good match. At times, this book is interesting, however, it does jump around multiple topics and ideas in a short period of time. This book is more like a magazine with variable articles on math and statistics.
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 Ronald S Howell
 08/07/2017
Well worth the time
Compelling, and his writing makes the concepts understandable. I also bought the Kindle version and together the experience is delightful.
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 Antonio
 10/12/2016
Great story, but too many numbers for an audiobook
Very good narration! Very interesting to learn how apparently unconnected ideas are in fact connected. It would have been nice if the book had focused more on the concepts, ideas and story and had moved most of the supporting numerical data to an appendix.
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 Michael
 13/02/2015
Best book I've read in a long time
Puts into words many ideas I've had my whole life. So glad to have a mathematical basis for them now
4 sur 6 personne(s) ont trouvé cet avis utile.

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 Utilisateur anonyme
 28/06/2017
Not ideal for audiobook
I generally liked the content, but at least not being a native English speaker, found it hard at times to follow. So, if you aren't seasoned in following equations read aloud (in a foreign language) I'd suggest you pick up the book instead.
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 Quartztieger
 03/10/2019
Alright idea, insufferable and smug delivery
I can appreciate what he goes for, but he winds up a worse Lisa Simpson.

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 Nimai
 13/08/2019
Immensely creative, smart and beautiful
I loved listening through this and throughout most of the book was just mesmerized by the amazing topics presented. A great work of storytelling intertwined with genuine mathematical intuitions. Highly recommended.