John Allen Paulos
A Numerate Life
A Mathematician Explores the Vagaries of Life, His Own and Probably Yours
Prometheus Books 2015
John Allen Paulos, who has accomplished the unheard-of double of writing best-sellers about mathematics and inserting a word (‘innumeracy’) into the language, has attempted another ambitious feat – bringing mathematics to bear on one of the few subjects it has yet to examine: biography and autobiography. A Numerate Life (Prometheus Books, 2015) is simultaneously a charming memoir and a highly entertaining venture into mathematics, literature, and philosophy. This is one of those rare books that, when you have finished a section, you are torn between going on to the next section and re-reading the last section to make sure that you got everything out of it. The subtitle of the book is “A Mathematician Explores the Vagaries of Life, His Own and Probably Yours”. You’ll be a little skeptical about that subtitle before you read the book, but when you finish it, you’ll realize the subtitle nails it — he’s talking, not just about himself, but about you. fascinating read.