An entertaining exploration of the misuse of mathematics in our everyday lives that shows how we can combat the rising tide of misinformation.
Like it or not, our lives are dominated by mathematics. Our daily diet of news regales us with statistical forecasts, opinion polls, risk assessments, inflation figures, weather and climate predictions and all sorts of political decisions and advice backed up by supposedly accurate numbers.
Most of us do not even pause and question such figures even to ask what they really mean and whether they raise more questions than they answer. We let the figures wash over us with no more than a glance. In this simple guide for anyone numbed by numbers, William Hartston explains with clarity and humour how to steer a safe path through the minefield of mathematics that surrounds us.
William Hartston is a Cambridge-educated mathematician and industrial psychologist. Between 1962 and 1987 he played chess competitively, becoming an international master and winning the British chess championship in 1973 and 1975. He runs competitions in creative thinking at the annual Mind Sports Olympiad, writes the off-beat Beachcomber column for the Daily Express, where he is also the opera critic, and is the author of several books on chess, numbers, humour and trivia, including The Things That Nobody Knows and Even More Things That Nobody Knows.