
How Not to Be Wrong
 The Power of Mathematical Thinking
 Narrated by: Jordan Ellenberg
 Length: 13 hrs and 29 mins
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Publisher's summary
The Freakonomics of math  a mathworld superstar unveils the hidden beauty and logic of the world and puts its power in our hands.
The math we learn in school can seem like a dull set of rules, laid down by the ancients and not to be questioned. In How Not to Be Wrong, Jordan Ellenberg shows us how terribly limiting this view is: Math isn’t confined to abstract incidents that never occur in real life, but rather touches everything we do—the whole world is shot through with it.
Math allows us to see the hidden structures underneath the messy and chaotic surface of our world. It’s a science of not being wrong, hammered out by centuries of hard work and argument. Armed with the tools of mathematics, we can see through to the true meaning of information we take for granted: How early should you get to the airport? What does “public opinion” really represent? Why do tall parents have shorter children? Who really won Florida in 2000? And how likely are you, really, to develop cancer?
How Not to Be Wrong presents the surprising revelations behind all of these questions and many more, using the mathematician’s method of analyzing life and exposing the hardwon insights of the academic community to the layman—minus the jargon. Ellenberg chases mathematical threads through a vast range of time and space, from the everyday to the cosmic, encountering, among other things, baseball, Reaganomics, daring lottery schemes, Voltaire, the replicability crisis in psychology, Italian Renaissance painting, artificial languages, the development of nonEuclidean geometry, the coming obesity apocalypse, Antonin Scalia’s views on crime and punishment, the psychology of slime molds, what Facebook can and can’t figure out about you, and the existence of God.
Ellenberg pulls from history as well as from the latest theoretical developments to provide those not trained in math with the knowledge they need. Math, as Ellenberg says, is “an atomicpowered prosthesis that you attach to your common sense, vastly multiplying its reach and strength.” With the tools of mathematics in hand, you can understand the world in a deeper, more meaningful way. How Not to Be Wrong will show you how.
Critic reviews
"Brilliantly engaging...Ellenberg’s talent for finding reallife situations that enshrine mathematical principles would be the envy of any math teacher. He presents these in fluid succession, like courses in a fine restaurant, taking care to make each insight shine through, unencumbered by jargon or notation. Part of the sheer intellectual joy of the book is watching the author leap nimbly from topic to topic, comparing slime molds to the BushGore Florida vote, criminology to Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. The final effect is of one enormous mosaic unified by mathematics." (Manil Suri, The Washington Post)
"Easytofollow, humorously presented.... This book will help you to avoid the pitfalls that result from not having the right tools. It will help you realize that mathematical reasoning permeates our lives  that it can be, as Mr. Ellenberg writes, a kind of 'Xray specs that reveal hidden structures underneath the messy and chaotic surface of the world'." (Mario Livio, The Wall Street Journal)
"Witty, compelling, and just plain fun to read.... How Not to Be Wrong can help you explore your mathematical superpowers." (Evelyn Lamb, Scientific American)
What listeners say about How Not to Be Wrong
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 Michael
 070214
Great book but better in writing
The title of this book is somewhat misleading (which the author admits). Instead it should have been "how to use math to not feel stupid when you are wrong". The author freely admits the dark truth, most people are not going to use the math they learn. Amazingly this is true even of scientists. Most of the math stuff I learned I don't need, as now I use Excel and Mathematica. Yet this book explains the part of math I do use, and many people don't realize is the important part of math, that is, to extend common sense by other means. This book includes primers of the very basics of calculus and statistics that everyone should know. The stories are humorous, interesting, and make the point that a little math can really help make good decisions.
Unfortunately, there are some parts of this book that don't translate well to audio. A table of numbers can be compared at a glance, but a bunch of spoken numbers are not easy to compare. If you wonder what good is learning math, this is a great book, but I would recommend the written version. The author's narration is quite good, with a very positive attitude that comes through.
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90 people found this helpful

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 Steve
 121516
Very hard to follow  not suitable for audiobook
What could have made this a 4 or 5star listening experience for you?
Nothing  this book is simply not suitable for audiobook. It is very hard to follow the various arguments without seeing the figures and I am a mathematician.
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35 people found this helpful

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 Bonny
 060314
Mathematics is the extension of common sense...
I run across a lot of books that I add to my toberead list and then forget about until after their publication dates or I stumble upon the book in the library or bookstore. How Not to Be Wrong was initially one of those books, but it sounded so good that I found myself obsessively thinking about it and started a search for a prepublication copy. Since I'm not a librarian, didn't win a copy via First Reads, and don't have friends at Penguin Press, it took some time and effort, but having procured a copy and read it, I can say that it was well worth my time and $6.00. How Not to Be Wrong is a catchy title, but for me, this book is really about the subtitle, The Power of Mathematical Thinking.
Ellenberg deftly explains why mathematics is important, gives the reader myriad examples applicable to our own lives, and also tells us what math can't do. He writes, “Mathematics is the extension of common sense by other means”, and proceeds to expound upon an incredible number of interesting subjects and how mathematics can help us better understand these topics, such as obesity, economics, reproducibility, the lottery, errorcorrecting codes, and the existence (or not) of God. He writes in a compelling, explanatory way that I think anyone with an interest in mathematics and/or simply understanding things more completely will be able to grasp. Ellenberg writes “Do the Math” for Slate, and it's evident in his column and this book that he knows how to explain mathematical ideas to nonmathematicians, and even more so, seems to enjoy doing so with great enthusiasm. I won't pretend that I understood everything discussed in this book, but it's such an excellent book that I also bought the audio version and am listening to it (read by the author himself!) so I have a much more thorough understanding. I've wished for a book like this for a long time, and I'd like to thank Jordan Ellenberg for writing it for me!
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 Jim Fuqua
 121514
Much Good Information
You must have some background with math to appreciate this book. You don't need to be a mathematician, but you need to have some concept of statistics  not details  just a basic idea of how statistics work.
The last half of the book was more interesting to me than the first half. Don't start there, start at the first so you will understand the last half.
I found his comments on multicandidate elections where no candidate gets a majority to be particularly interesting.
There are parts to this book that drag. Some may drag because you might not be interested in the subject he uses to illustrate a mathematical process or principal. When he talks about sports statistics keep in mind that he is illustrating mathematical principles and not focusing on sports.
You can and will learn a lot from this book and will enjoy most of the book. You might learn more than you want to know about some mathematical subjects, but math is a tool and each addition to our toolkit strengthens us whether we know it at the time or not.
Jim Fuqua
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 Amazon Customer
 080219
Unnecessary focus on religion
The author seems obsessed with trying to position his atheism are more mathematically consistent than thesis. My issue, these examples where not necessary! The content would have been better, every single chapter he talks about religion! Might as well be called 'why theistic argument for God can't be trusted'.
YOU WILL REMEMBER MORE THAT HE SPOKE ABOUT RELIGION THAN THE GOOD STORIES, about WW1, MIT, etc.
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13 people found this helpful

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 Andrew
 111315
Good conversation fodder
I listened to this audiobook while getting my doctorate, specifically while taking a quantitative methodology and statistics class. This book had so many applications to social science research, but also to just life in general. I spoke about different topics from the book with friends on hikes, at work, on car rides, and virtually any chance I had.
10/10 recommend.
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 A Customer
 080819
Not meant to be an audiobook.
This book sounds like it has an equation or list of fractions or whatever else on nearly every page. I love math, so I normally wouldn't mind it. However, it's difficult to follow when he's verbally spouting out long equations or sequences of arithmetic. I think the content of the book is good, but not delivered in audio format, despite the great voice work. I bought this after listening to Algorithms for Life and that book did what this one couldn'texplain the concepts without lengthy equations. So if you enjoy math and don't mind equations, perhaps buy the book itself instead of the audiobook.
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 Antonio
 121016
Great story, but too many numbers for an audiobook
Very good narration! Very interesting to learn how apparently unconnected ideas are in fact connected. It would have been nice if the book had focused more on the concepts, ideas and story and had moved most of the supporting numerical data to an appendix.
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7 people found this helpful

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 Mingcui Zhou
 071017
Very enlightening
Interesting and enlightening. It is a little bit difficult to follow the equation and numbers in the audible version though. But one can still get a general idea.
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 Michael
 021315
Best book I've read in a long time
Puts into words many ideas I've had my whole life. So glad to have a mathematical basis for them now
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Performance

Story
From batting averages and political polls to game shows and medical research, the realworld application of statistics continues to grow by leaps and bounds. How can we catch schools that cheat on standardized tests? How does Netflix know which movies you'll like? What is causing the rising incidence of autism? As bestselling author Charles Wheelan shows us in Naked Statistics, the right data and a few wellchosen statistical tools can help us answer these questions and more.


Starts well then becomes nonAudible
 By Michael on 090713
By: Charles Wheelan

Shape
 The Hidden Geometry of Information, Biology, Strategy, Democracy, and Everything Else
 By: Jordan Ellenberg
 Narrated by: Jordan Ellenberg
 Length: 14 hrs and 23 mins
 Unabridged

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If you're like most people, geometry is a dimly remembered exercise you gladly left behind in the dust of ninth grade. It's plodding through a series of miniscule steps only to prove some fact about triangles that was obvious to you in the first place. That's not geometry. Okay, it is geometry, but only a tiny part, which has as much to do with geometry in all its flush modern richness as conjugating a verb has to do with a great novel. Shape reveals the geometry underneath some of the most important scientific, political, and philosophical problems we face.


Excellent, but not suited for an audiobook
 By Fred271 on 062121
By: Jordan Ellenberg

The Signal and the Noise
 Why So Many Predictions Fail  but Some Don't
 By: Nate Silver
 Narrated by: Mike Chamberlain
 Length: 16 hrs and 21 mins
 Unabridged

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Nate Silver built an innovative system for predicting baseball performance, predicted the 2008 election within a hair’s breadth, and became a national sensation as a blogger  all by the time he was 30. He solidified his standing as the nation's foremost political forecaster with his near perfect prediction of the 2012 election. Silver is the founder and editor in chief of the website FiveThirtyEight. Drawing on his own groundbreaking work, Silver examines the world of prediction, investigating how we can distinguish a true signal from a universe of noisy data.


Learn About Statistics Without All The Math
 By Scott Fabel on 030913
By: Nate Silver

A Mind for Numbers
 How to Excel at Math and Science (Even If You Flunked Algebra)
 By: Barbara Oakley
 Narrated by: Grover Gardner
 Length: 7 hrs and 4 mins
 Unabridged

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In A Mind for Numbers, Dr. Oakley lets us in on the secrets to learning effectively  secrets that even dedicated and successful students wish they’d known earlier. Contrary to popular belief, math requires creative, as well as analytical, thinking. Most people think that there’s only one way to do a problem, when in actuality, there are often a number of different solutions  you just need the creativity to see them.


Not quite what you expect
 By Sean P Ruggier on 072022
By: Barbara Oakley

The Art of Statistics
 How to Learn from Data
 By: David Spiegelhalter
 Narrated by: Jonathan Davis
 Length: 9 hrs and 1 min
 Unabridged

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Statistics are everywhere, as integral to science as they are to business, and in the popular media hundreds of times a day. In this age of big data, a basic grasp of statistical literacy is more important than ever if we want to separate the fact from the fiction, the ostentatious embellishments from the raw evidence  and even more so if we hope to participate in the future, rather than being simple bystanders.


very good statistics overview
 By Tom on 112919

How Not to Be Wrong
 The Art of Changing Your Mind
 By: James O'Brien
 Narrated by: James O'Brien
 Length: 5 hrs and 21 mins
 Unabridged

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In his bestselling How to Be Right, James provided an invigorating guide to how to talk to people with bad opinions. And yet the question he always gets asked is: 'if you're so sure about everything, haven't you ever changed your mind?' In an age of us vs them, tribal loyalties and bitter divisions, the ability to change our minds may be the most important power we have. In this intimate, personal new book, James' focus shifts from talking to other people to how you talk to yourself about what you really think.


Life changing
 By Mr. Chris on 110422
By: James O'Brien

Naked Statistics
 Stripping the Dread from the Data
 By: Charles Wheelan
 Narrated by: Jonathan Davis
 Length: 10 hrs and 48 mins
 Unabridged

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Performance

Story
From batting averages and political polls to game shows and medical research, the realworld application of statistics continues to grow by leaps and bounds. How can we catch schools that cheat on standardized tests? How does Netflix know which movies you'll like? What is causing the rising incidence of autism? As bestselling author Charles Wheelan shows us in Naked Statistics, the right data and a few wellchosen statistical tools can help us answer these questions and more.


Starts well then becomes nonAudible
 By Michael on 090713
By: Charles Wheelan

Bernoulli's Fallacy
 Statistical Illogic and the Crisis of Modern Science
 By: Aubrey Clayton
 Narrated by: Tim H. Dixon
 Length: 15 hrs and 14 mins
 Unabridged

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Aubrey Clayton traces the history of how statistics went astray, beginning with the groundbreaking work of the 17thcentury mathematician Jacob Bernoulli and winding through gambling, astronomy, and genetics. Clayton recounts the feuds among rival schools of statistics, exploring the surprisingly human problems that gave rise to the discipline and the alltoohuman shortcomings that derailed it.


Rigorously Bayesian
 By Anonymous User on 012522
By: Aubrey Clayton

How to Lie with Statistics
 By: Darrell Huff
 Narrated by: Bryan DePuy
 Length: 3 hrs
 Unabridged

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Darrell Huff's celebrated classic How to Lie With Statistics is a straightforward and engaging guide to understanding the manipulation and misrepresentation of information that could be lurking behind every graph, chart, and infographic. Originally published in 1954, it remains as relevant and necessary as ever in our digital world, where information is king  and as easy to distort and manipulate as it is to access.


No longer deceived
 By Richard on 061416
By: Darrell Huff

The Innovators
 How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution
 By: Walter Isaacson
 Narrated by: Dennis Boutsikaris
 Length: 17 hrs and 28 mins
 Unabridged

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Following his blockbuster biography of Steve Jobs, The Innovators is Walter Isaacson’s revealing story of the people who created the computer and the Internet. It is destined to be the standard history of the digital revolution and an indispensable guide to how innovation really happens. What were the talents that allowed certain inventors and entrepreneurs to turn their visionary ideas into disruptive realities? What led to their creative leaps? Why did some succeed and others fail?


A History of the Ancient Geeks
 By Mark on 102114
By: Walter Isaacson

The Data Detective
 Ten Easy Rules to Make Sense of Statistics
 By: Tim Harford
 Narrated by: Tim Harford
 Length: 10 hrs and 24 mins
 Unabridged

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Today we think statistics are the enemy, numbers used to mislead and confuse us. That’s a mistake, Tim Harford says in The Data Detective. We shouldn’t be suspicious of statistics  we need to understand what they mean and how they can improve our lives: they are, at heart, human behavior seen through the prism of numbers and are often “the only way of grasping much of what is going on around us”.


I expected more
 By A. Visserman on 030921
By: Tim Harford

A Tour of the Calculus
 By: David Berlinski
 Narrated by: Dennis Holland
 Length: 10 hrs and 3 mins
 Unabridged

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