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# A Mathematician Reads The Newspaper

John Allen Paulos is a master at shedding mathematical lights on our everyday world:What exactly did Lani Guinier say about quotas?What is the probability of identifying a murderer through DNA testing?Which are the real risks to our health and which the phony ones?Employing the same fun-filled, user-friendly, and quirkily insightful approach that put

*Innumeracy*on best-sel ...moreHardcover, 224 pages

Published
April 6th 1995
by Basic Books

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## Community Reviews

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I appreciate why it isn't especially math-y, but that limits some of his arguments. Had he dropped a ...more

*Innumeracy*. He turns phrases beautifully and explains not-so-obvious mathematical phenomena very clearly. (For example, if you go up against a tennis player with whom you win 40 percent of your points, your chances of winning a match are only a paltry .05 percent - yes, one-twentieth of one percent. Sound crazy? The proof is on page 176 of the paperback edition.) My only complaint is that some of Paulos' ideas just ...more

**51 percent of the vote results in 100 percent of the power**

so, first off: paulos is not reading a specific newspaper or debunking specific articles. it's more like he's reading the general theory of newspapers, or is recalling a lifetime of said readership, and then tying those hazy memories and basic journalistic practices to some math concepts he's got right there in front of him.

in other words, the math is all very present. but if u want explicitly named errors in recent stories, ur gonna h ...more

Overall, a good reminder that the news is, for the most part, first about entertainment, and then about disseminating info ...more

Alcune parti del libro sono un po' noiose, vuoi perché troppo discorsive o perché riferite al contesto degli USA. Ma alcuni esempi sono molto azzeccati e alcuni concetti davvero illuminanti. Un ottimo modo di spiegare perché dobbiamo diffidare dei giornali e leggerli con molta, moltissima attenzione. L'informazione rischia a vo ...more

*This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.*

Aug 27, 2014
Justin Tapp
rated it
it was ok
·
review of another edition

Shelves:
mathematics,
education

The book is about 200 pages but has over 50 chapters. So, each chapter reads sort of like a blog entry. It was published in 1994, before blogs, so it made him more money than simply blogging his thoughts now would. Each chapter are his thoughts after reading particular articles in the newspaper and introduce various mathematical theories and statistical concepts that would add some much-needed info to the articles.

The author loves the newspaper but is also critical of journalists and publishers. ...more

The author loves the newspaper but is also critical of journalists and publishers. ...more

I would be curious ...more

My only gripe is that, at times, he makes the typical mathematician's error of using a heavily oversimplified ...more

Oct 03, 2011
Brian Sison
rated it
liked it
·
review of another edition

Shelves:
non-fiction,
math-science

I loved Innumeracy and liked Beyond Numeracy, so I had high hopes for this book.

It was OK, but not spectacular. There was too much wordiness and not enough math. I was hoping for a more detailed analysis with various examples of how math, statistics, graphs, etc are used to mislead or misinform newspaper readers. Instead, this is a very cursory touch on various slightly math-related political and economic concerns.

It was OK, but not spectacular. There was too much wordiness and not enough math. I was hoping for a more detailed analysis with various examples of how math, statistics, graphs, etc are used to mislead or misinform newspaper readers. Instead, this is a very cursory touch on various slightly math-related political and economic concerns.

May 11, 2014
Kate
rated it
liked it
·
review of another edition

Recommends it for:
Unmil

Recommended to Kate by:
LH

"You can only predict things after they've happened."

"Things to stay the same until change."

"No More Slogans."

"What remains if I subtract my arm's going up from my raising it?"

"The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing."

"Things to stay the same until change."

"No More Slogans."

"What remains if I subtract my arm's going up from my raising it?"

"The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing."

- "...every section of a typical 'big city' newspaper is dissected from a mathematicians's perspective

- politics, crime, environmental stories, as well as arts & leisure, celebrity, and sports...even the book review section and obituaries

- a "user-friendly, and quirkily insightful approach"

- "demonstrates how mathematical naivete can put readers at a distinct disadvantage

- you can cer ...more

En este libro John Paulos nos reta a pensar en todo aquello que leemos y a evitar las trampas que muchas veces nos tiende nuestra mente. Preguntar es la clave principal para realmente llegar a conocer la verdad.

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