By John Allen Paulos
Applying intuitive rules from arithmetic, this quirky "meta-memoir" increases questions on our lives that the majority 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 medical method--bestselling mathematician John Allen Paulos has created an strange hybrid, a composite of private stories and mathematical ways to re-evaluating them.
Entertaining vignettes from Paulos's biography abound--ranging from a bullying math instructor and a wonderful number of baseball playing cards to romantic crushes, a grandmother's petty larceny, and his really unintentional function in getting George Bush elected president in 2000. those vignettes function springboards to many telling views: simple math places life-long behavior in a doubtful new mild; better dimensional geometry is helping us see that we're all particularly bizarre; nonlinear dynamics explains the narcissism of small variations cascading into very diverse siblings; logarithms and exponentials yield perception on why we have a tendency to become tired and jaded as we age; and there are methods and jokes, likelihood and coincidences, and lots more and plenty more.
For fanatics of Paulos or beginners to his paintings, this witty remark on his life--and yours--is attention-grabbing reading.
From the alternate Paperback edition.
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Additional info for A Numerate Life: A Mathematician Explores the Vagaries of Life, His Own and Probably
In the background, never I'lTy far away, is the eternal darkness surrounding human existence, 'II',:lIlIst which the Hawksian stoicism shines; over everything, , .. Ilance of Hawks when he is at his best. 57 3: The Lure of Irresponsibility Scar/ace (1932), Bringing up Baby (1938), His Girl Friday (1940), Monkey Business (1952), I Was a Male War Bride (1949) Scar/ace It may seem perverse to approach the comedies via a gangster film of exceptional ferocity, almost the only Hawks film in which the protagonist dies.
Hawks is at his most completely personal and individual when his work is most firmly traditional: the more established the foundations, the freer he feels to be himself. Everything in Rio Bravo can be traced back to the Western tradition, yet everything in it is essential Hawks-every character, 35 every situation, every sequence expresses him as surely as every detail in an Antonioni film expresses Antonioni. List the stock types of Western convention, and your list will almost certainly include the following: Hero: strong, silent, infallible.
But Dude can be 11 :Iced back to Eddie too, and also to Bat in Only Angels Have Wings I, 'Ile would not readily have connected Bat and Eddie without this ',(,lIse that they are both partly subsumed in Dude). Stumpy is :dso related to Kid in Only Angels Have Wings-there is the same kar of growing old and no longer being of any use. Carlos has :;llmething in common with the Dutchman in Only Angels Have Wings and with Frenchy in To Have and Have Not; further, the 'responsibility' he is given of putting Feathers on the stagecoach recalls the task of putting Slim on the plane entrusted to Crickett (I Ioagy Carmichael).