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A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper [Paperback]

John Allen Paulos

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Book Description

26 Sep 2013
In this lively volume, mathematician John Allen Paulos employs his singular wit to guide us through an unlikely mathematical jungle--the pages of the daily newspaper. From the Senate and sex to celebrities and cults, Paulos takes stories that may not seem to involve math at all and demonstrates how mathematical naivete can put readers at a distinct disadvantage. Whether he's using chaos theory to puncture economic and environmental predictions, applying logic to clarify the hazards of spin doctoring and news compression, or employing arithmetic and common sense to give us a novel perspective on greed and relationships, Paulos never fails to entertain and enlighten.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Civitas Books; First Trade Paper Edition edition (26 Sep 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465089992
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465089994
  • Product Dimensions: 20.8 x 14 x 1.8 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,101,709 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"A wise and thoughtful book, which skewers much of what everyone knows to be true."--Los Angeles Times "A fun, spunky, wise little book that would be helpful to both the consumers of the news and its purveyors."--Washington Post

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Spotting BS in the newspaper- a guide to the reasoning and arithmetic that journalists should be using 10 July 2014
By Ted - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Our world is permeated by the fragrance of that which is not so, and this is the book to help you detect it from a mile away. In this entertaining volume, Paulos dissected example articles from his years of studying the newspaper, showing what the journalist reported and how the numbers in the articles were applied (usually incorrectly) in each case. Each topic includes discussions of the logic behind the newspaper articles and of the math that underlies the claims made by the writers. It seems that one could realize almost full value from the book even if the math is too hard to follow. However, I particularly enjoyed his detailed reviews of the appropriate calculations. I heartily recommend the book to anyone who wants to become a better-informed citizen and a skilled spotter of BS.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Learn to think what you read 7 Aug 2014
By Abner A. Huertas - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
How many time have you belived something you've read in the newspaper?

Not everything that a "responsable" newspaper writes its true. In this Book John Allen takes to rethink and analyze everything we read, to develop a sckeptical thinking about anything we find in the media.

It's a great book.
1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Acceptable 23 Mar 2014
By Michael Morales - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Although it introduced some new perspectives or point of view to different kind of news that you could "read" in a newspaper, I couldn't help to feel that it could have extended a little bit more in the sense that more detail or explanation on some subjects, not just a comment. It really felt like he was making a short comment as he read the newspaper, but if he is planning to deliver explanation, well, a little more detail wouldn't harm.
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