He is a writer and speaker on mathematics and the importance of mathematical literacy. He argues for scientific notation being a clearer way to work with larger numbers. The ability to put numbers large and small in the correct context is key to understanding them in an intelligent way. Probability and Coincidence. Underestimates of the frequency of coincidences is an example of innumeracy.
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He is a writer and speaker on mathematics and the importance of mathematical literacy. He argues for scientific notation being a clearer way to work with larger numbers. The ability to put numbers large and small in the correct context is key to understanding them in an intelligent way.
Probability and Coincidence. Underestimates of the frequency of coincidences is an example of innumeracy. People underestimate that an unlikely event is likely, given a large population sample. He gives examples in stock market newsletter scams, choosing a spouse, coincidence and the law, coin toss and the Hot-hand fallacy in sports.
Here the author takes on how non-falsifiable statements play in with pseudoscience. For example Whatever God wills happens  can not be proven false so is not part of science. He touches examples in Freud , Marx , parapsychology , dream prediction, astrology , UFOs , fraudulent medical treatments, Conditional probability , blackjack , drug testing and numerology.
What is Innumeracy? Here the author critiques public math education, the need for estimation in the math curriculum, math and humor Paulos suggests that mathematicians have a particular sense of humor ,  innumeracy and the tendency to personalize excessively versus a statistical analysis, selective filtering of data to draw incorrect conclusions, decisions and framing of questions, various misconceptions about math being cold, impersonal or constraining and public safety risks.
Statistics, Trade-Offs, and Society. This chapter addresses trade-offs in public policy, the prisoners dilemma , type I and type II errors in statistics, when a true hypothesis is thought to be untrue or when a false hypothesis is thought to be true.
Polling confidence interval is addressed, along with the law of large numbers , Correlation does not imply causation and other statistical mistakes. Analysis[ edit ] Innumeracy made the New York Times best seller the year it came out in It serves as an excellent antidote to tedious classroom lectures on the difference between inverse and direct proportions.
Should you read it if you think you hate math and are turned off by math problems? Yes, you may even get turned on.
John Allen Paulos
I hoped the book would be an in-depth look at where innumeracy stems from and how to prevent it. He mentions standard things like poor math education, psychological blocks like "math anxiety", and popular misconceptions that math is just cold spiritless arithmetic. He does propose a few solutions here and there, like getting more non-mathematicians writing about math and highlighting the warmth and passion of the subject to get rid of negative stereotypes But I do really like his idea of placing more emphasis on estimation in schools, and especially that people should build personal mental libraries of collections of things for every power of 10 up to at least a trillion.
Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences
In an interview he described himself as lifelong skeptic. He was also part of the Peace Corps in the seventies. John Allen Paulos, Innumeracy The most amazing coincidence of all would be the complete absence of all coincidences. John Allen Paulos, "Irreligion" His academic work is mainly in mathematical logic and probability theory. His book Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and its Consequences was a bestseller and A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper extended the critique.