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Guesstimation 2.0: Solving Today's Problems on the Back of a Napkin Paperback – 30 Sep 2012

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (30 Sept. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 069115080X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691150802
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 11.4 x 19 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 107,863 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


"This follow-up to the popular Guesstimation offers more on the joy of mathematical estimation, and inspiration for the budding analyst."--Nature

"The books do a wonderful job at helping the reader to master the craft."--Cut the Knot Insights

"A delightful volume. . . . I hope to be able to use many of the tricks I learned in the future. I also hope to teach some of them to students. This would make a great secondary textbook in many classes, ranging from quantitative literacy to a science methods class for future educators. A careful study of this book would certainly improve a student's ability to take a complicated question, break it down into solvable parts, and assemble the parts to find an answer. Because this is quite close to what I want my students to do when faced with a difficult problem in pure mathematics as well, I consider this to be a very valuable book indeed."--Dominic Klyve, MAA Reviews

"Guesstimation 2.0: Solving Today's Problems on the Back of a Napkin succeeds where most popular science literature so often fails. This is because it provides its readers with a scientific tool they can use immediately in their everyday lives. . . . [Makes] an excellent addition for the casual scientist, job interviewee, or anyone hoping to impress their friends at a party."--Gabriel Thoumi,

"Readers who enjoyed Weinstein's first volume will be pleased with this instalment."--Choice

"Guesstimation 2.0 is a book that was made to mediate between fun and useful. . . . Whether or not a fan of numbers, it's always cool to appear smart, therefore Guesstimation 2.0 is an excellent element to add to one's arsenal."--Sarthak Shankar, Organiser

"Certainly a good read for any teacher who enjoys numbers and the world around us."--Mark Hughes, Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School

"Guesstimation's problems are fun and engaging in character, and the solutions are intuitive and well explained. Each problem and solution stands independently, and is about four pages long, making the book ideal for passing a quick ten minutes, and easy to pick up and put down. If, like me, you like ill-posed questions to have concrete answers then Guesstimation is definitely a good place to hone your estimation skills!"--Fionntan Roukema, Mathematical Spectrum

From the Back Cover

"This is an absolutely great book, a worthy sequel to Guesstimation. The breadth of scope of the problems is truly impressive. Weinstein's arguments are always convincing and, in many cases, very clever. His sense of humor provides a pain-free tutorial on how analysts can make real progress in understanding vaguely defined problems."--Paul J. Nahin, author of Number-Crunching: Taming Unruly Computational Problems from Mathematical Physics to Science Fiction

"Guesstimation 2.0 is an entertaining read, with the added attraction that it can be consumed in small portions by opening it on almost any page. I can easily see having this book close by and returning to it again and again."--Mark Levi, author of Why Cats Land on Their Feet: And 76 Other Physical Paradoxes and Puzzles

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By absent-minded on 19 Aug. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very good.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 12 reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
I'm hooked. 8 Nov. 2012
By Tom Russel - Published on
Format: Paperback
My review is really of both the first and second books. After reading the first "Guesstimation" by Weinstein and Adam, I was (and remain) hooked. I was thoroughly delighted by the second of what I hope will be a long series to feed my habit. There were more wonderful (albeit a few somewhat whimsical) questions, some of which I had actually thought about before reading them.

My mindset when I started was a residue of undergraduate engineering courses, where every solution had to match the "by the book" expected answer to several decimal places. We spent more time manipulating numbers and equations by sliderule [that really dates me] than in really understanding the questions from a practical perspective.

Weinstein's "Guesstimation 2:0" carries on turning that mindset upside-down. You won't pass an engineering course from it, but you will have another valuable tool to hone your "BS-detector" and understand how some of today's problems really are part of a bigger picture. And you'll have fun amazing your friends - you will not read this book without reading at least one or two questions and solutions aloud to somebody else.

After reading each book once through for fun, I went back and reread each question to look more closely at the logic of its solution. My first reaction was usually: "Hey, he can't make that assumption or simplification". Then I read the careful explanation of why the precision of each assumption had little effect on the solution. I double-checked a few (using a spreadsheet to 4 decimal places) and realized that he was exactly right - for 99% of the reasons I might ponder these weighty questions, a ball-park solution was plenty good enough.

If you're like me, you'll read this in bed straight through, staying up way too late. And your wife will poke you in the ribs and tell you to chuckle more quietly. If you know what's good for you, do what she says, but keep reading and bookmark a couple of examples to read to her in the morning.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Math books 8 July 2014
By Dr. B. W. Langer - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
All math books
Easy as Pi: The Countless Ways We Use Numbers Every Day
Guesstimation: Solving the World's Problems on the Back of a Cocktail...
Guesstimation 2.0: Solving Today's Problems on the Back of a Napkin
Street-Fighting Mathematics: The Art of Educated Guessing and Opportunistic...

Worth every penny. Stimulates the mind.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Great Book 11 April 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Like the first book, Dr. Weinstein has taken problems that at first blush seem insoluble (Fermi questions) and made them accesible to all of us. Great job.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
problem solving at the coffee shop 27 Dec. 2012
By pete - Published on
Format: Paperback
I was recently at my favorite coffee shop with this book and a mechanical pencil in hand.

Well I never would have thought that I would get so many 'interested' looks from the ladies - I would like to think that its because of the very nice cover of this book - my God its a chick magnet!!

So there you are all you nerds out there - get a copy and instant meaningfull social life, as well as a good mental work out - bodybuilders eat your hearts out!

great book!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Great Read! 19 Feb. 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Loved reading this... I found it to be one of the best books on the topic I have run across....well written and understood...
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