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Geekspeak: Why Life + Mathematics = Happiness

3.09  ·  Rating Details  ·  116 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
The quirky offspring of 'QI' and 'Freakonomics', 'Geekspeak' melds ingenious statistical analysis with edifying trivia to explain away some curious facts of life.
Unknown Binding, 270 pages
Published October 15th 2007 by Not Avail
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Aug 29, 2010 Joe rated it really liked it
Shelves: physics
I'm a little jealous because this is exactly the book I wanted to write.

It's not exactly the most useful collections of calculations, but it's interesting as hell... if you're interested in that kind of stuff. Actually, all but one individual that I recommended the book to (you better be reading it, dude waiting for the R at Atlantic Ave!) asked me why I would want to read something like that. Answer: Because it's awesome.

I think my brain is one neuron richer now that I know (approximately) how
May 10, 2009 Catherine rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: very few, maybe someone who just likes to makeup stuff.
Shelves: 2009
I was really disappointed with this book. With a title, cover pic and well written front and back covers, I was expecting something much better than what was delivered. I was expecting this book to be about how incorporating numbers into your life can help your standard of living, whether it's through making better decisions or balancing your budget. In the end, it was a book about making up numbers based on really dumb assumptions. Like how many times around the planet will your toilet paper go ...more
Eric Sullenberger
Dec 29, 2014 Eric Sullenberger rated it really liked it
It has been almost a year since I have posted anything here, or written a book review and a lot of that has to do with a lack of time and a lot of bad luck with MP3 players. I had one die right before Christmas and held off purchasing a new one until after the holidays. And when I didn't get one, I ended up waiting until the summer to replace it. I did have my wife's for a while of the summer, so I did listen to some books, but this one hear is one I actually read the old fashioned way, literall ...more
Todd Stockslager
Jun 08, 2015 Todd Stockslager rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: other
Mildly amusing Britwit Dr. Tattersall is the gentle reader's gentle guide to using estimating techniques to understand quantities, volumes, and rates in the everyday things around us. Its all very Bill Nye Science Guy in its "Did you know . . " approach, starting with a few common facts and roll-up-your-sleeves estimating techniques to resolve uncommon sense questions like how the "six degrees of Kevin Bacon" (or the Queen, in Tattersall's version) game works, how much two bodies really are attr ...more
Michael Hall
Jun 13, 2012 Michael Hall rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
A vaguely entertaining and humorous look at the mathematics of everyday life. I would call the humor somewhat juvenile and by the end of the book it was downright tedious. This could be an eye opener though for those who don't already see the patterns, equations, and numbers that are always around us.
Feb 04, 2016 Martha rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: math, non-fiction
A fun look at the many ways that math surrounds us. Believing that insufficient numeracy is like living in a foreign country without being able to speak the language, Tattersall explains with humor how to use math to analyze and understand the world. Sample problems include estimating the size of your vocabulary, determining the number of piano tuners in Boston, and calculating the number of flies it would take to pull a car. Despite being a bit of a math geek myself, I found it difficult to rea ...more
Mar 19, 2013 Chris rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I expected more out of this book, but it turned out to center around making estimates. I think this book is great if you're trying to teach someone about how to estimate, but it terms of other math concepts, this is lacking.
Sep 25, 2009 Clarice rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is like the Math version of Freakonomics. I learned a lot of interesting facts, and admire the genius and humor of the author. Anyone that can make me think Math is cool has got to be pretty good!
Jun 30, 2009 Colleen rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: James
Even more fun than Freakonomics... because you get to play along!
Sep 25, 2015 Jinnie rated it liked it
I really want to give this book four stars, because I really loved all the parts I understood. And there's the rub: I hardly understood any of the math, my eyes glazed over for those parts. The stories and posits that strung the math together were both interesting food for thought, and reminiscent of what a math book written by Monty Python might be like.
May 26, 2011 Nick rated it it was ok
Given by a friend at work; so far, it seems like a better title should be "The Explaining Man's Guide to Armchair Estimates of All Sorts of Random Crap". Mixed feelings, but it's a quick enough read that I'll probably finish it.
Update: Had to give up halfway through. The writer is that particular kind of geek you hope never to meet at a party - the kind that knows everything better than everyone else, not because they actually know it, but because they have utter faith in their ability to
Heather Larcombe
Mar 19, 2015 Heather Larcombe rated it really liked it
A fun read, although he has a lot more information ready to hand than I do. Like the average weight of rocks or how to accurately estimate distance.
Kathy Nealen
Mar 30, 2015 Kathy Nealen rated it liked it
How to estimate anything with what appear to me to be questionable assumptions and approximations
Matt Comstock
Mar 15, 2012 Matt Comstock rated it really liked it
While full of interesting facts, the book is more of a how-to guide, teaching you how to approach estimation of everyday calculations. But more than that, the book is encourages you to ask the questions in the first place. How large would angels wings have to be to support flight? How many windmills would you need to power a city or a country? How soon will the ice caps melt? Etc. Ask the questions and try to figure things out. You will understand your world more completely.
Nov 16, 2009 Miriam rated it it was ok
It should be entitled "How to estimate and do mental math." It is interesting to follow his train of though to figure out how many piano tuners are in Boston, but the same tools of logic and estimation are used throughout the book. It gets dull after awhile.
May 06, 2009 Heather rated it liked it
Not being a true geek (my kids may disagree with this), I occasionally got lost in the math, but I loved his message to consider what "the experts" say about any given topic, rather than just accepting it at face value.
Jun 12, 2013 Micah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very enlightening and helpful book for the geek at heart. There is a lot of environmental nuances expressed throughout the book, which got a little old by the end. Otherwise, an easy and enjoyable read.
Barb Schaarschmidt
It was amusing. It's fun to look at average things in a different way, even if it is not exactly practical or useful information.
Mar 21, 2009 Adam rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2008
author thinks he is a geek, but he just poorly estimates boring everyday things in far from a scientific method
Jul 29, 2008 kvon rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-sf
A math-is-fun! book. Unfortunately there is no theme here, just random how-to-estimate problems and solutions.
Dec 13, 2008 Tess rated it liked it
surprisingly non-geeky and easy to read chapters about using maths to suss out everyday situations.
Feb 10, 2009 Casey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would have probably given it five stars but I didn't finish it and had to return it to the library.
Nov 18, 2013 Marie rated it it was ok
For a guy who lives in Britain, he sure spends a lot of time at the beach.
Interesting although a little eye-crossing at times.
Jan 09, 2009 Carrie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
My estimated vocabulary is around 46,000 words!
Jan 21, 2009 Emily rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: did-not-finish
Interesting, but too much math
Michael marked it as to-read
May 06, 2016
Menna is currently reading it
Apr 27, 2016
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