By John Allen Paulos
Utilising intuitive rules from arithmetic, this quirky "meta-memoir" increases questions about our lives that almost all folks don't imagine to invite, yet arguably should still: What a part of reminiscence is trustworthy truth, what half artistic embellishment? Which favourite presuppositions are unfounded, which statistically biased? by means of conjoining opposing mindsets--the suspension of disbelief required in storytelling and the skepticism inherent within the clinical method--bestselling mathematician John Allen Paulos has created an strange hybrid, a composite of private stories and mathematical methods to re-evaluating them.
Entertaining vignettes from Paulos's biography abound--ranging from a bullying math instructor and a wonderful selection of baseball playing cards to romantic crushes, a grandmother's petty larceny, and his really accidental function in getting George Bush elected president in 2000. those vignettes function springboards to many telling views: basic math places life-long behavior in a doubtful new mild; larger dimensional geometry is helping us see that we're all particularly atypical; nonlinear dynamics explains the narcissism of small alterations cascading into very diversified siblings; logarithms and exponentials yield perception on why we have a tendency to become tired and jaded as we age; and there are tips and jokes, likelihood and coincidences, and masses more.
For enthusiasts of Paulos or rookies to his paintings, this witty observation on his life--and yours--is attention-grabbing reading.
From the alternate Paperback edition.
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Additional resources for A Numerate Life: A Mathematician Explores the Vagaries of Life, His Own and Probably
However, the phrase ‘big beat’ had already been used: The Big Beat was, for example, a 1958 comedy-musical featuring Fats Domino. Paul himself says that it was John Lennon who dreamed up the final band name, with an A. It was certainly John who explained it best by turning the whole subject into a piece of nonsense for the début issue of Mersey Beat, published in July 1961, writing: 30 FA B Many people ask what are Beatles? Why Beatles? Ugh, Beatles, how did the name arrive? So we will tell you.
And we called it the Beatmakers: the Pacemakers and the Beats [sic],’ remembers Marsden. The musicians swapped instruments. Paul played the town hall piano, the Pacemakers’ pianist played sax. ’ THE MOP-TOP When John turned 21 in October 1961 he received £100 ($153) as a gift from a well-to-do aunt, an act of such munificence Paul never forgot it, often remarking that nobody had ever given him a hundred quid. The gift highlighted a subtle but significant class difference between the friends. ‘To us John was upper class,’ Paul commented for the Beatles’ multi-media documentary project, the Anthology.
The fact Dad had been down this road already also accounts for Paul’s extra professionalism. The next step was to make a record. In the spring of 1958, John, Paul, George, John Duff Lowe and Colin Hanton chipped in to record two songs with a local man named Percy Phillips, who had a recording studio in his Liverpool home. For seventeen shillings and sixpence (approximately £13 in today’s money, or $19 US) they could cut a 78 rpm shellac disc with a song on each side. The chosen songs were Buddy Holly’s ‘That’ll Be the Day’ and ‘In Spite of All the Danger’, credited to McCartney and Harrison, but essentially Paul’s song.
A Numerate Life: A Mathematician Explores the Vagaries of Life, His Own and Probably by John Allen Paulos