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A Numerate Life: A Mathematician Explores the Vagaries of Life, His Own and Probably Yours

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by John Allen Paulos
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A Numerate Life: A Mathematician Explores the Vagaries of Life, His Own and Probably Yours by John Allen Paulos

Employing intuitive ideas from mathematics, this quirky "meta-memoir" raises questions about our lives that most of us don't think to ask, but arguably should: What part of memory is reliable fact, what part creative embellishment? Which favorite presuppositions are unfounded, which statistically biased? By conjoining two opposing mindsets--the suspension of disbelief required in storytelling and the skepticism inherent in the scientific method--bestselling mathematician John Allen Paulos has created an unusual hybrid, a composite of personal memories and mathematical approaches to re-evaluating them.

Entertaining vignettes from Paulos's biography abound--ranging from a bullying math teacher and a fabulous collection of baseball cards to romantic crushes, a grandmother's petty larceny, and his quite unintended role in getting George Bush elected president in 2000. These vignettes serve as springboards to many telling perspectives: simple arithmetic puts life-long habits in a dubious new light; higher dimensional geometry helps us see that we're all rather peculiar; nonlinear dynamics explains the narcissism of small differences cascading into very different siblings; logarithms and exponentials yield insight on why we tend to become bored and jaded as we age; and there are tricks and jokes, probability and coincidences, and much more.

For fans of Paulos or newcomers to his work, this witty commentary on his life--and yours--is fascinating reading.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Ebook Details
Size: 1.0 MB
Publisher: Prometheus Books
Date published:   2015
ISBN: 9781633881198 (DRM-EPUB)

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This product is listed in the following categories:

Nonfiction > Mathematics
Nonfiction > Biography & Autobiography > Scientists

This author has products in the following categories:

Nonfiction > Philosophy
Nonfiction > Mathematics > Probability & Statistics
Nonfiction > Mathematics > History & Philosophy
Nonfiction > Mathematics > Number Theory
Nonfiction > Mathematics
Nonfiction > Religion > Atheism
Nonfiction > Religion > Religion & Science
Nonfiction > Mathematics > Essays
Nonfiction > Biography & Autobiography > Scientists

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