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With a sound grasp of statistics, we can dramatically improve our understanding of everything from the weather forecast to our chances at poker. The world then becomes a far less random and fearful place. John Allen Paulos brings together many intriguing and practical examples to reveal the inherent beauty and power of mathematics - and to put the fun back into facts and figures.
John Allen Paulos cleverly scrutinizes the mathematical structures
of jokes, puns, paradoxes, spoonerisms, riddles, and other forms of
humor, drawing examples from such sources as Rabelais, Shakespeare,
James Beattie, Rene Thom, Lewis Carroll, Arthur Koestler, W. C.
Fields, and Woody Allen.
"[An] elegant ... Survival Manual ... Brief, witty and full of practical applications." - Stefan Kanfer, Time
The preeminent explicator of mathematical logic to non-mathematicians, John Allen Paulos is familiar to general readers not only from his bestselling books but also from his media appearances, including The David Letterman Show and National Public Radio's "Talk of the Nation" and "Science Friday," as well as articles in "Newsweek, Nature, Discover, Business Week, the New York Times Book Review, The Nation, New York Review of Books, " and "The London Review of Books."
Paulos originally wrote this charming little book on analytic logic, its mathematics, and its puzzles in 1985. And as in his later books, he uses jokes, stories, parables, and anecdotes to elucidate difficult concepts, in this case, some of the fundamental problems in modern philosophy.
Are there any logical reasons to believe in God? The mathematician and bestselling author John Allen Paulos thinks not. In "Irreligion" he presents the case for his own world view, organizing his book into twelve chapters that refute the twelve arguments most often put forward for believing in God's existence. Interspersed among these counterarguments are remarks on a variety of irreligious themes, ranging from the nature of miracles and creationist probability to cognitive illusions and prudential wagers. Special attention is paid to topics, arguments, and questions that spring from his incredulity 'not only about religion but also about others' credulity'. Despite the strong influence of his day job, Paulos says, there isn't a single mathematical formula in the book.
Employing intuitive ideas from mathematics, this quirky "meta-memoir" raises questions about our lives that most of us don't think to ask, but arguably should: What part of memory is reliable fact, what part creative embellishment? Which favorite presuppositions are unfounded, which statistically biased? By conjoining two opposing mindsets--the suspension of disbelief required in storytelling and the skepticism inherent in the scientific method--bestselling mathematician John Allen Paulos has created an unusual hybrid, a composite of personal memories and mathematical approaches to re-evaluating them. Entertaining vignettes from Paulos's biography abound--ranging from a bullying math teacher and a fabulous collection of baseball cards to romantic crushes, a grandmother's petty larceny, and his quite unintended role in getting George Bush elected president in 2000. These vignettes serve as springboards to many telling perspectives: simple arithmetic puts life-long habits in a dubious new light; higher dimensional geometry helps us see that we're all rather peculiar; nonlinear dynamics explains the narcissism of small differences cascading into very different siblings; logarithms and exponentials yield insight on why we tend to become bored and jaded as we age; and there are tricks and jokes, probability and coincidences, and much more. For fans of Paulos or newcomers to his work, this witty commentary on his life--and yours--is fascinating reading.
Can a renowned mathematician successfully outwit the stock market? Not when his biggest investment is WorldCom. This text tells the story of how John Allen Paulos gambled - and lost - in his calamitous attempts to make a fortune on the stock market.
From crime figures to health scares, election polls to stock market forecasts, numbers make the news all the time. But are they accurate? John Allen Paulos, travels through the pages of an average newspaper, revealing how mathematics is at the heart of the articles we read every day - even horoscopes and the sports pages - and how often they mislead us. By understanding simple concepts such as probability, chaos theory and game theory, you'll be able to see through faulty statistics, stock market forecasters and conspiracy theorists - and make the figures truly add up.
From the author of the national bestseller Innumeracy, a delightful exploration and explanation of mathematical concepts from algebra to zero in easily accessible alphabetical entries. "Paulos . . . does for mathematics what The Joy of Sex did for the boudoir. . . ."--Washington Post Book World. First time in paperback.
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