How Not to Be Wrong The Power of Mathematical Thinking By: Jordan Ellenberg

18693884How Not to Be Wrong
The Power of Mathematical Thinking
By: Jordan Ellenberg
Narrated by: Jordan Ellenberg
Length: 13 hrs and 28 mins
Release date: 05-30-14
Publisher: Penguin Audio

Throughout life folks who don’t enjoy math will ask the question, “When will I ever use this?” Once the basics are down people don’t realize how much their thoughts and problem solving rely on math. In fact, most of the time we use algebra and advanced math without realizing we’ve done so. That’s because it is learned and part of everyday life. Jordan Ellenberg takes that one step further and shows how we can become more adept at solving problems by training your brain to think mathematically.

First off I have to point out that the energy and enthusiasm the author delivers this audiobook makes it so that no other person could have even halfway given this book it’s due as narrator. It was the only way this could have been an audiobook. That being said, it would have been nice to have some of the material actually written down so I could refer back to some of the examples, but I got what I wanted out of the audiobook.

Now I also have to admit I was a bit deceived by the title. I expected to be able to be right all the time, trust me I’m not, just ask my wife. But the way of training the brain, so to speak, allows you to be on the right path the right way.

If you love math you’ll love how this provides you with many answers to, “When will I ever use this?” Plus, the book is a great way to fine tune some of those skills we’ve learned along the way. If you are not a fan of math you should give this book a chance, it will open your eyes to the world around you and how everything is basically one big math problem.

This book also shows how you can mathematically win the lottery. I’m not lying, a group of MIT students did just that, it took some work, but they did it. No matter what your math ability, you will find some satisfaction in this book.

Publisher’s Summary
The Freakonomics of math – a math-world superstar unveils the hidden beauty and logic of the world and puts its power in our hands.

The math we learn in school can seem like a dull set of rules, laid down by the ancients and not to be questioned. In How Not to Be Wrong, Jordan Ellenberg shows us how terribly limiting this view is: Math isn’t confined to abstract incidents that never occur in real life, but rather touches everything we do—the whole world is shot through with it.

Math allows us to see the hidden structures underneath the messy and chaotic surface of our world. It’s a science of not being wrong, hammered out by centuries of hard work and argument. Armed with the tools of mathematics, we can see through to the true meaning of information we take for granted: How early should you get to the airport? What does “public opinion” really represent? Why do tall parents have shorter children? Who really won Florida in 2000? And how likely are you, really, to develop cancer?

How Not to Be Wrong presents the surprising revelations behind all of these questions and many more, using the mathematician’s method of analyzing life and exposing the hard-won insights of the academic community to the layman—minus the jargon. Ellenberg chases mathematical threads through a vast range of time and space, from the everyday to the cosmic, encountering, among other things, baseball, Reaganomics, daring lottery schemes, Voltaire, the replicability crisis in psychology, Italian Renaissance painting, artificial languages, the development of non-Euclidean geometry, the coming obesity apocalypse, Antonin Scalia’s views on crime and punishment, the psychology of slime molds, what Facebook can and can’t figure out about you, and the existence of God.

Ellenberg pulls from history as well as from the latest theoretical developments to provide those not trained in math with the knowledge they need. Math, as Ellenberg says, is “an atomic-powered prosthesis that you attach to your common sense, vastly multiplying its reach and strength.” With the tools of mathematics in hand, you can understand the world in a deeper, more meaningful way. How Not to Be Wrong will show you how.

©2014 Jordan Ellenberg (P)2014 Penguin Audio