|Trim Size / Pages||8.6 x 5.8 in / 416|
Forget your classroom nightmares and discover how numbers can enhance and illuminate your world!
How can math help you bet on horses or win in Vegas? What’s the foolproof way to solve Sudoku? How can probability teach you to calculate your chances of survival in Russian roulette? In this irreverent and entertaining guide to mathematics, Lawrence Potter takes the fear out of everything from long division to percentages. Using fascinating puzzles and surprising examples, from M.C. Escher to Pascal, he shows us how math is connected with the world we encounter every day, from how the VAT works to why weather forecasts are wrong, from winning at Monopoly to improving your mental arithmetic. Along the way you’ll also discover who invented numbers, whether animals can count, and what nuns have to do with multiplication.
Lawrence Potter attended Oxford University and graduated with a degree in classics before becoming an adventurous mathematics teacher in Romania and Rwanda. He is the author of This May Help You Understand the World and lives in London.
“Anyone whose memories of math class leave “the bitterest taste” will find comfort as well as insight and plenty of laughs in this informal, irreverent look at math. The first thing readers need to know is that Potter is very serious about one thing: each topic here is based on a situation one could encounter in everyday life. Wacky word problems (the answers are in the back) keep the flood of information in context. Potter provides historical anecdotes that reveal the origins of fractions (thank the Egyptians) and how religious edicts have affected interest and banking rules. He even offers sympathy for those wounded by algebra, whose etymology stems from the Arabic word for both the process of setting a broken bone and the moving of a term from one side of an equation to the other. For anyone who has ever felt defeated by “the dark forces of mathematics,” Potter’s constructive guide offers enlightenment and hope.” Publishers Weekly
“Does for numbers what Eats, Shoots & Leaves did for punctuation.” The Times Educational Supplement
“If you follow this eloquently written book you will be equipped to cope with all manner of challenges, such as splitting a restaurant bill, filling in a tax return, or understanding the compound interest on your bank statement.” The Daily Telegraph