How You're Being Fooled by the Numbers
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The bestselling author of Zero shows how mathematical misinformation pervades-and shapes-our daily lives.
According to MSNBC, having a child makes you stupid. You actually lose IQ points. Good Morning America has announced that natural blondes will be extinct within two hundred years. Pundits estimated that there were more than a million demonstrators at a tea party rally in Washington, D.C., even though roughly sixty thousand were there. Numbers have peculiar powers-they can disarm skeptics, befuddle journalists, and hoodwink the public into believing almost anything.
"Proofiness," as Charles Seife explains in this eye-opening book, is the art of using pure mathematics for impure ends, and he reminds readers that bad mathematics has a dark side. It is used to bring down beloved government officials and to appoint undeserving ones (both Democratic and Republican), to convict the innocent and acquit the guilty, to ruin our economy, and to fix the outcomes of future elections. This penetrating look at the intersection of math and society will appeal to readers of Freakonomics and the books of Malcolm Gladwell.
Publishers Weekly Review
© Publishers Weekly
Awesome. Fascinating, frightening and infuriating.
Another great book by Seife. He covers the numerous ways that politicians, advertisers and other miscreants mislead and deceive us.
The examples he uses to illustrate the deceptions are fascinating. The effects on us - ordinary citizens - are frightening. And the contempt with which justice and democracy are treated is infuriating.
This book will help you - even those with no mathematical skills - understand how to read and interpret the numbers used around us.