How Not To Be Wrong
May 29, 2014 10:33 AM   Subscribe

How Not To Be Wrong
After three years of work, my book HOW NOT TO BE WRONG: THE POWER OF MATHEMATICAL THINKING comes out today from Penguin Press! It's about math. Also: baseball, Reaganomics, daring lottery schemes, Voltaire, the replicability crisis in psychology, Italian Renaissance painting, artificial languages, the development of non-Euclidean geometry, the coming obesity apocalypse, Antonin Scalia’s views on crime and punishment, the psychology of slime molds, packing 24-dimensional spheres, what Facebook can and can’t figure out about you, the invention of calculus, and the existence of God. The book is available at Amazon, Indiebound, Waterstones, and (I hope!) your local bookstore. MetaFilter has been a fantastically useful resource for me in putting this together; partly because I can use Ask for my questions about statistical significance in different languages and stockpicking scams, but more importantly because I've learned so much about how to write about math for non-mathematicians from writing about math on MetaFilter!
Role: Author
posted by escabeche (13 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

Sounds excellent!

I'm surprised there is no "Look Inside" on Amazon, or a Kindle version though.
posted by philipy at 10:52 AM on May 29, 2014

Never fear, there's a Kindle version!

And it looks like Google Books already has a previewable version up if you want to have a look inside. Also, Penguin has put up the opening section of the book on their blog.
posted by escabeche at 1:04 PM on May 29, 2014

The Kindle Edition does have a "Look inside!" and very enjoyable reading it is too.

However, strangely, the Kindle Edition is not available for purchase yet, which I guess is why there is no mention of its existence on the hardcover edition's page.

You would think that Amazon would have figured out that having-a-preview and being-able-to-be-purchased should preferably not be mutually exclusive properties of the various editions.

I guess we can wait a few days.
posted by philipy at 3:29 PM on May 29, 2014

Hmm -- for me, the Kindle edition has both a Look Inside and a purchase button, and there's a link to it on the hardcover page. Are you looking at this in the US, or elsewhere?
posted by escabeche at 4:05 PM on May 29, 2014

I'm in the UK.

I looked at and I could have bought the hardcover from, but neither hardcover nor ebook are released on the UK site.
posted by philipy at 7:01 PM on May 29, 2014

Aha, yeah -- I believe the UK release date is June 3.
posted by escabeche at 8:56 PM on May 29, 2014

✓ Purchased.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 4:50 AM on June 1, 2014

I heard you on NPR last night and thought, "Hey, this sounds interesting!" Very cool.
posted by mogget at 10:29 AM on June 3, 2014

posted by MonkeyToes at 3:20 PM on June 3, 2014

Looking forward to reading.

BTW, I mention the stockpicking scam in my upcoming book and trace it back as far as a 1957 episode of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents."

I have memories of what I think were attempts to put this scam into play ca 1994-1995 -- I recall getting some stock-touting e-mails bragging about prior picks that they got right (and had e-mailed me about), but would disappear after 2 or 3 picks. But since these were only vague memories (and I couldn't chase down the original e-mails), I wasn't able to work it into the book.
posted by cgs06 at 6:40 AM on June 9, 2014

I finished this book last month and really enjoyed it! Chapter 13 was my favorite. There were a lot of surprising moves and connections made there.

I've taught a critical thinking course in the past. I don't have any immediate plans to teach it again, but when I do I'll strongly consider having the students read selections from this book.
posted by painquale at 6:07 PM on September 8, 2014

I bought this for the kindle and loved it. Especially chapter eleven and the powerball story, aka how to win at the lottery. I wish I could travel back in time and tell that story to past me who was bored out of his mind in stats class.
posted by selenized at 9:50 PM on November 4, 2014

Ooh this sounds like a great one. Thanks for the heads up Johnny Wallflower.
posted by TravellingCari at 10:30 AM on January 6, 2015

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