If the feel of sand between your toes gets you thinking about Zeno’s Paradox or Pascal’s Wager, Ellenberg’s book is ideal beach reading. But even if your interests lie elsewhere, you may find it a challenging but welcome companion.
at NewCity Lit:
To the mathematician, math is a curious process of assumption and provocation. “How Not To Be Wrong” is part exposé—concepts most of us are never privy to are explained along with obvious surprises we just need to hear over again.
Ellenberg, an academic and Slate‘s ‘Do the Math’ columnist, explains key principles with erudite gusto
and at Canada’s The Globe and Mail.
For audio fans, here’s an interview at the New Books podcast.
But actually, most of the publicity this week came from the WSJ “Hawking Index” article, which got covered all over the place. I like this Washington Post followup, which applies the methodology (such as it is!) to political memoirs. More good coverage from the National Post, featuring obligatory CanLit content. And here’s how it looks in Indonesian.
Christopher D. Long decided to see what happened if you tried to model “quotability” using a more serious dataset, scraped from Goodreads, instead of just screwing around like I did. His top 10 included some expected entries and some surprises. Any ranking where Eleanor Roosevelt and Groucho Marx place first and second is obviously doing something right.