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The Arithmetic of Life

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  49 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
George Shaffner is an entrepreneur and computer maven, so when he started writing essays on mathematics he did it in a very practical way, to help people answer questions such as "Should I stay in school?" or "Is there life after death?" Soon he expanded into a whole book, but kept his focus on the practical:

The design criteria for Arithmetic became: Use real-life exampl
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Hardcover, 224 pages
Published September 7th 1999 by Ballantine Books (first published 1999)
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Senthil Kumaran
Oct 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The author takes upon all aspects of life with a mathematical bent of mind. The book consists of a number of short anecdotes about life and mathematical calculation of the events and outcomes. I got hooked and purchased this one, when I read one such account, which involved, a teenager deciding to quit his college mid way and his father being furios at his decision. His elder brothers follows a more methodical approach and takes him to a library and both of them get the records of the labor depa ...more
Eric
Aug 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Human beings are terribly bad at numbers especially large numbers and probability. This books consists of short fictional episodes that explain many aspects of our lives in numbers such as sports, incomes, life expectancy, risks and etc. that are indeed matters of life and death. Some of data are outdated - the book was published first in early 2000s, I believe,- some of the topics are not very interesting at least to me, but the way the author explains rather hard numbers and probability with i ...more
Andrew
Jan 27, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: math-fun, 2016
This book is twenty years old, which means the statistics aren't up to date. Yet, the arguments presented still apply, one need only look up more current data.
While I vehemently disagreed with the premise's thoughts on how to fix math education (just skip the preface), the rest was very well written and reasoned. The title very accurately describes this collection of essays, and I look forward to reading it with my students.
Matthew Deforrest
The book is well done. I would have liked to have given it a half a star more (It is better than three stars but not quite a four star book.) and I would recommend it for those casually interested in the application of math to some of life or for a high school to early university aged individual needing some help with making sense of the adult world (I could have used some of this at that age.). I found the essay "Life after Death" the most interesting of the reads.
Grandma Sue
Sep 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Great book for STEM students; interesting book for anyone! Written in an easy, conversational style using ancedotes that appeal to any age. Reminds us that mathematics is the most logical tool in many common decision-making scenerios. Statistics and probability can be fascinating, even to those of us to whom math is a challenge.
Jay
Jul 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
very insightful

Brad Hensley
This book was 3 out of 5 stars. It became extremely slow at times and even hard to follow with the statistics and so forth. But good insight every now and then.
Joshua Patrao
Aug 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good read. Recommended.
NoRa
Feb 13, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book. I least enjoyed reading the middle parts, though. The ones concerning business and politics
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