John Allen Paulos

Dec 18, 2022

Who's Counting?

Uniting Numbers and Narratives with Stories from Pop Culture, Puzzles, Politics, and More

Prometheus Books 2022

Innumeracy, by John Allen Paulos, was first published in 1988. In it the author brilliantly highlighted many of the sorry truths those of us who teach math and science know – not only can’t most people do algebra or geometry, they can’t estimate size, they don’t understand simple probability and statistics, and they believe in things that make no sense. In Who’s Counting? (Prometheus, 2022), Paulos investigates topics which – like Innumeracy – connect with the age in which we live.

Who's Counting? features dozens of his insightful essays-original writings on contemporary issues like the COVID-19 pandemic, online conspiracy theories, "fake news," and climate change, as well as a selection of enduring columns from his popular ABC News column of the same name. With an abiding respect for reason, a penchant for puzzles with societal implications, and a disarming sense of humor, Paulos does in this collection what he's famous for: clarifies mathematical ideas for everyone and shows how they play a role in government, media, popular culture, and life. He argues that if we can't critically interpret numbers and statistics, we lose one of our most basic and reliable guides to reality.

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