A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper

John Allen Paulos, Author
John Allen Paulos, Author Basic Books $18 (224p) ISBN 978-0-465-04362-0
Reviewed on: 04/03/1995
Release date: 04/01/1995
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-0-385-48254-7
Prebound-Other - 978-0-606-20787-4
Prebound-Sewn - 978-1-4177-3799-4
Hardcover - 212 pages - 978-0-14-025181-4
Paperback - 212 pages - 978-0-465-08999-4
Ebook - 155 pages - 978-0-465-05067-3
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Paulos (Beyond Innumeracy) examines the often overlooked mathematical angle behind news stories in this informally written, enlightening survey. He uses simple arithmetic to expose consumer fallacies, electoral tricks and sports myths; applies the concept of self-reference to puncture inflated news reporting or celebrity coverage; and assesses health risks and accounts of racial or ethnic bias using probability and other tools. The Temple University math professor also investigates whether SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test) scores are a predictor of success in college; the enormity of the cost of the savings-and-loan bailout; safety considerations in GM trucks. Loosely modeled on the format of a daily newspaper, his analysis ranges from politics to crime to lifestyles and obituaries, with discussions of futurists' attempts to spot global trends, ``man-on-the-street'' reaction stories, deceptive advertisements, meaningless precision. A timely antidote to mathematical naivete. QPB, Library of Science, Natural Science Book Club, Astronomy Book Club, Reader's Subscription and Newbridge Executive Program alternates. (Apr.)
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