review of “How Not to be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking”

I just got done reading “How Not to be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking” by Jordan Ellenberg. My younger brother lent me his copy. In sentence, the book can be summed up this this phrase from the book: “Mathematics is the extension of common sense by other means.” The book does a great job of explaining how mathematics and statistics can be used understand the world around us. The book is filled many good examples such as Wald’s WWII on where to place extra armor on planes. Wald was given data of where plane got shot and asked where should extra armor be placed (answer: the places without the holes!). The book is filled with many other interesting examples as well.

The only downsides to the book are that it can become long and drawn out at times. Also, I was familiar with many of the examples and had seen them before. Finally, I would add the book is “math lite”, which is a strength for many potential readers.

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