• Humble Pi

  • When Math Goes Wrong in the Real World
  • By: Matt Parker
  • Narrated by: Matt Parker
  • Length: 9 hrs and 33 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (2,118 ratings)

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Humble Pi  By  cover art

Humble Pi

By: Matt Parker
Narrated by: Matt Parker
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Publisher's summary

Number one international best seller

An Adam Savage Book Club Pick

The book-length answer to anyone who ever put their hand up in math class and asked, "When am I ever going to use this in the real world?"

"Fun, informative, and relentlessly entertaining, Humble Pi is a charming and very readable guide to some of humanity's all-time greatest miscalculations - that also gives you permission to feel a little better about some of your own mistakes." (Ryan North, author of How to Invent Everything)

Our whole world is built on math, from the code running a website to the equations enabling the design of skyscrapers and bridges. Most of the time, this math works quietly behind the scenes...until it doesn’t. All sorts of seemingly innocuous mathematical mistakes can have significant consequences.

Math is easy to ignore until a misplaced decimal point upends the stock market, a unit conversion error causes a plane to crash, or someone divides by zero and stalls a battleship in the middle of the ocean.

Exploring and explaining a litany of glitches, near misses, and mathematical mishaps involving the internet, big data, elections, street signs, lotteries, the Roman Empire, and an Olympic team, Matt Parker uncovers the bizarre ways math trips us up, and what this reveals about its essential place in our world. Getting it wrong has never been more fun.

©2020 Matt Parker (P)2020 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

"Parker is consistently very funny...highly entertaining." (The Guardian)

"Parker has a sly wit.... A clever, amusing book about some of life’s more serious problems; highly recommended." (Library Journal)

"A fascinating and deeply surprising journey into the hilarious and sometimes tragic realm of mathematical error. Brilliant." (Tim Harford, author of The Undercover Economist and Messy)

Editor's Pick

Perfect for the math nerd AND the math-phobe
"Let’s set the record straight: I am embarrassingly bad at math. But I think that’s part of the reason I was so engrossed by this audiobook. Matt Parker takes us through some of the more hilarious—or in some cases, disastrous—examples of what can happen when real-world applications of math go wrong. Parker’s performance of his own work brings out a delightful, almost conversational tone that can, at times, feel like a mathematics-themed standup act. And while some of the mistakes that engineers and mathematicians make don’t excuse my inability to perform simple mental math, it definitely made me feel at least a little bit better about it. Perfect for both the math-lovers and the math-haters out there, Parker presents a new side to what I used to consider my least favorite subject."—Michael C., Audible Editor

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