This is a roundup post, mostly for myself so I can have a short record of where people wrote or talked about the book.
I was on NPR’s All Things Considered on Monday, talking with Robert Siegel about various pieces of How Not To Be Wrong. I liked that Siegel’s questions mostly started by reading a couple of sentences from the book. The point, after all, is to give some impression of what the book’s like, not what I’m like.
More radio: I did a half hour live on WPR’s Central Time, even getting to answer some call-in questions.
I did a live chat at io9 (the science/SF wing of Gawker) where I answered questions people posted in comments. Good questions! I think I covered them all.
Sarah Gray interviewed me in Salon. The format is unusual; it looks like they printed direct transcriptions of the recorded interview, with all my pauses and runon sentences and “like”s intact. E.G. I say
Yeah. In essence math is in the humanities, in the sense that it is a fundamental part of the human condition, it’s a fundamental part of what makes us human, always has been. Imagining people not thinking mathematically is like thinking about people not making music. We’ve been doing it since there was civilization and we always will be doing it. It’s like one of the central activities that we undertake. And obviously there are people who do it more and people who do it less. And there are people who call themselves unmusical but they’re probably not completely unmusical right? So I would obviously, I would hope that those things would not be in opposition and I don’t think they have to be.
Which is indeed what I said! But recorded more faithfully than is usual.
On Slate, I’ve got a series of blog entries going up, most of which are partly excerpted from the book. Here’s the first one, in which I defend the much-maligned term “number sentence.” Probably best that Slate didn’t like my proposed headline, “You’re Goddamn Right It’s a Number Sentence!”
Jonathan Wai, a big-time researcher on gifted kids, pushes back on my WSJ article in Psychology Today. I don’t think we actually disagree so much; in particular, he’s right that we don’t do much to nurture the many talented kids who, unlike me, grow up far away from money and universities. I thought online education might be the answer to this but now I’m not sure.
The Sunday Times (the England one, not the New York one) interviewed me and ran a short piece about the book (paywalled.) The Times wrote a bit about my treatment of George Stigler’s slogan, “If you never miss a plane, you’re spending too much time in airports.” Picking up on that, all the other British newspapers wrote stories about how an American mathematician had worked out a new formula for the optimal time to get to the airport! The Daily Mail piece is typical. Then I was denounced in the Independent for being a hyperrational efficiency expert. Eventually Andy Kiersz in Business Insider wrote something about the modest claims the book actually makes…
As I write, How Not To Be Wrong is the 49th best-selling book on Amazon!