cover image The Ten Equations That Rule the World: And How You Can Use Them Too

The Ten Equations That Rule the World: And How You Can Use Them Too

David Sumpter. Flatiron, $28.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-250-24696-7

Mathematics professor Sumpter (Outnumbered) surveys 10 equations that “can provide the answers to questions ranging from the trivial to the profound, and about you as an individual and society as a whole” in this brain-boosting outing. Each equation gets its own chapter: “The Confidence Equation” uses “the basis for the field of statistics” to help readers decide if “you are doing the right thing... you are in the right job.... If your partner really is the love of your life,” while “The Learning Equation” draws from algorithms to show readers how to spot if their “actions increase or decrease the difference between your goals and reality.” Sumpter pulls examples from a variety of fields—sports betting, animal food foraging, film-making—and shows how his equations build on one another and can lead to surprisingly philosophical revelations. The reward equation, for example, “tells you to concentrate on the present and not dwell on the past.” While those who don’t know a phi from an alpha or are intimidated by exponents should steer clear, math-minded readers will marvel at the multitudinous ways these equations impact and can help unpack day-to-day life. (Aug.)