With the same user-friendly, quirky, and perceptive approach that made Innumeracy a bestseller, John Allen Paulos travels though the pages of the daily newspaper showing how math and numbers are a key element in many of the articles we read every day. From the Senate, SATs, and sex, to crime, celebrities, and cults, he takes stories that may not seem to involve mathematics at all and demonstrates how a lack of mathematical knowledge can hinder our understanding of them.
Paulos (Beyond Innumeracy) examines the often overlooked mathematical angle behind news stories in this informally written, enlightening survey. He uses simple arithmetic to expose consumer fallacies, electoral tricks and sports myths; applies the concept of self-reference to puncture inflated news reporting or celebrity coverage; and assesses health risks and accounts of racial or ethnic bias using probability and other tools. The Temple University math professor also investigates whether SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test) scores are a predictor of success in college; the enormity of the cost of the savings-and-loan bailout; safety considerations in GM trucks. Loosely modeled on the format of a daily newspaper, his analysis ranges from politics to crime to lifestyles and obituaries, with discussions of futurists' attempts to spot global trends, ``man-on-the-street'' reaction stories, deceptive advertisements, meaningless precision. A timely antidote to mathematical naivete. QPB, Library of Science, Natural Science Book Club, Astronomy Book Club, Reader's Subscription and Newbridge Executive Program alternates. (Apr.)