Synopses & Reviews
A world-class mathematician and regular contributor to the New York Times
hosts a delightful tour of the greatest ideas of math, revealing how it connects to literature, philosophy, law, medicine, art, business, even pop culture in ways we never imagined
Did O.J. do it? How should you flip your mattress to get the maximum wear out of it? How does Google search the Internet? How many people should you date before settling down? Believe it or not, math plays a crucial role in answering all of these questions and more.
Math underpins everything in the cosmos, including us, yet too few of us understand this universal language well enough to revel in its wisdom, its beauty and#8212; and its joy. This deeply enlightening, vastly entertaining volume translates math in a way that is at once intelligible and thrilling. Each trenchant chapter of The Joy ofand#160;x offers an and#8220;aha!and#8221; moment, starting with why numbers are so helpful, and progressing through the wondrous truths implicit in and#960;, the Pythagorean theorem, irrational numbers, fat tails, even the rigors and surprising charms of calculus. Showing why he has won awards as a professor at Cornell and garnered extensive praise for his articles about math for the New York Times, Strogatz presumes of his readers only curiosity and common sense. And he rewards them with clear, ingenious, and often funny explanations of the most vital and exciting principles of his discipline.
Whether you aced integral calculus or arenand#8217;t sure what an integer is, youand#8217;ll find profound wisdom and persistent delight in The Joy of x.
"A 1954 classic that continues to dispel false beliefs and inform the
statistically naive. Huff's direct and witty style exposes how
advertisers, government and the media mislead their audiences through
the misuse of statistics. Huff then explains how the reader can see
through the smoke and mirrors to get to the real meaning if any
of what is presented."
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
"This book needed to be written, and makes its points in an entertaining, highly readable manner." Management Review
"A pleasantly subversive little book, guaranteed to undermine your faith in the almighty statistic." The Atlantic
"Illustrator and author pool their considerable talents to provide light lively reading and cartoons which will entertain, really inform, and take the wind out of many an overblown statistical sail." Library Journal
Darrell Huff runs the gamut of every popularly used type of statistic, probes such things as the sample study, the tabulation method, the interview technique, or the way the results are derived from the figures, and points up the countless number of dodges which are used to full rather than to inform.
Mr. Huff's lively, human-interest treatment of the dry-as-bones subject of statistics is a timely tonic. . . . This book needed to be written, and makes its points in an entertaining and highly readable manner.Illustrator and author pool their considerable talents to provide light lively reading and cartoon far which will entertain, really inform, and take the wind out of many an overblown statistical sail.A pleasantly subversive little book, Guaranteed to undermine your faith in the almighty statistic.
Classic text focuses on everyday applications as well as those of scientific research. Minimal mathematical background necessary. Includes lively examples from business, government, and other fields. "Fascinating." — The New York Times. 1962 edition.
Focusing on everyday applications as well as those of scientific research, this classic of modern statistical methods requires little to no mathematical background. Readers develop basic skills for evaluating and using statistical data. Lively, relevant examples include applications to business, government, social and physical sciences, genetics, medicine, and public health.
"W. Allen Wallis and Harry V. Roberts have made statistics fascinating." — The New York Times
"The authors have set out with considerable success, to write a text which would be of interest and value to the student who, not concerned primarily with statistical technics, must understand the nature and methodology of the subject in order to make proper use of its results." — American Journal of Public Health and the Nation's Health
"This book is a distinct and important contribution to the text literature in statistics for social scientists and should be given careful consideration by sociologists." — American Sociological Review.
Over Half a Million Copies Sold--an Honest-to-Goodness Bestseller
A delightful tour of the greatest ideas of math, showing how math intersects withand#160;philosophy, science, art, business, current events, and everyday life, by an acclaimed science communicator and regular contributor to the New York Times.
About the Author
Economist and statistician W. Allen Wallis (1912-98) was Dean of the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business and President and Chancellor of the University of Rochester. An advisor to four U.S. presidents, he also served as President of the American Statistical Association and as Chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.Statistician and educator Harry V. Roberts (1923-2004) was Sigmund E. Edelstone Professor Emeritus of Statistics and Quality Management at the University of Chicago Graduate School, where he was associated for more than 40 years. A pioneer in the application of Bayesian statistics to business decision making, he was involved in the development of computer methods for statistical analysis.
Table of Contents
From Fish to Infinityand#8195;3
An introduction to numbers, pointing out their upsides (theyand#8217;re efficient) as well as their downsides (theyand#8217;re ethereal)
Treating numbers concretelyand#8212;think rocksand#8212;can make calculations less baffling.
The Enemy of My Enemyand#8195;15
The disturbing concept of subtraction, and how we deal with the fact that negative numbers seem so .and#160;.and#160;. negative
When you buy jeans on sale, do you save more money if the clerk applies the discount after the tax, or before?
Division and Its Discontentsand#8195;29
Helping Verizon grasp the difference between .002 dollars and .002 cents
Location, Location, Locationand#8195;35
How the place-value system for writing numbers brought arithmetic to the masses
The Joy of xand#8195;45
Arithmetic becomes algebra when we begin working with unknowns and formulas.
Finding Your Rootsand#8195;51
Complex numbers, a hybrid of the imaginary and the real, are the pinnacle of number systems.
My Tub Runneth Overand#8195;59
Turning peril to pleasure in word problems
Working Your Quadsand#8195;67
The quadratic formula may never win any beauty contests, but the ideas behind it are ravishing.
In math, the function of functions is to transform.
Geometry, intuition, and the long road from Pythagoras to Einstein
Something from Nothingand#8195;93
Like any other creative act, constructing a proof begins with inspiration.
The Conic Conspiracyand#8195;101
The uncanny similarities between parabolas and ellipses suggest hidden forces at work.
Sine Qua Nonand#8195;113
Sine waves everywhere, from Ferris wheels to zebra stripes
Take It to the Limitand#8195;121
Archimedes recognized the power of the infinite and in the process laid the groundwork for calculus.
Change We Can Believe Inand#8195;131
Differential calculus can show you the best path from A to B, and Michael Jordanand#8217;s dunks help explain why.
It Slices, It Dicesand#8195;139
The lasting legacy of integral calculus is a Veg-O-Matic view of the universe.
All about eand#8195;147
How many people should you date before settling down? Your grandmother knowsand#8212;and so does the number e.
Loves Me, Loves Me Notand#8195;155
Differential equations made sense of planetary motion. But the course of true love? Now thatand#8217;s confusing.
Step Into the Lightand#8195;161
A light beam is a pas de deux of electric and magnetic fields, and vector calculus is its choreographer.
The New Normaland#8195;175
Bell curves are out. Fat tails are in.
The improbable thrills of probability theory
Untangling the Weband#8195;191
How Google solved the Zen riddle of Internet search using linear algebra
The Loneliest Numbersand#8195;201
Prime numbers, solitary and inscrutable, space themselves apart in mysterious ways.
Group theory, one of the most versatile parts of math, bridges art and science.
Twist and Shoutand#8195;219
Playing with Mand#246;bius strips and music boxes, and a better way to cut a bagel
Differential geometry reveals the shortest route between two points on a globe or any other curved surface.
Why calculus, once so smug and cocky, had to put itself on the couch
The Hilbert Hoteland#8195;249
An exploration of infinity as this book, not being infinite, comes to an end