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What two things could be more different than numbers and stories? Numbers are abstract, certain, and eternal, but to most of us somewhat dry and bloodless. Good stories are full of life: they engage our emotions and have subtlety and nuance, but they lack rigor and the truths they tell are elusive and subject to debate. As ways of understanding the world around us, numbers and stories seem almost completely incompatible. *Once Upon a Number* shows that stories and numbers aren’t as different as you might imagine, and in fact they have surprising and fascinating connections. The concepts of logic and probability both grew out of intuitive ideas about how certain situations would play out. Now, logicians are inventing ways to deal with real world situations by mathematical means—by acknowledging, for instance, that items that are mathematically interchangeable may not be interchangeable in a story. And complexity theory looks at both number strings and narrative strings in remarkably similar terms.Throughout, renowned author John Paulos mixes numbers and narratives in his own delightful style. Along with lucid accounts of cutting-edge information theory we get hilarious anecdotes and jokes; instructions for running a truly impressive pyramid scam; a freewheeling conversation between Groucho Marx and Bertrand Russell (while they’re stuck in an elevator together); explanations of why the statistical evidence against OJ Simpson was overwhelming beyond doubt and how the Unabomber’s thinking shows signs of mathematical training; and dozens of other treats. This is another winner from America’s favorite mathematician.

*"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.*

Mathematician John Allen Paulos bravely bridges the scientific and literary cultures with this amusing, enlightening look at numbers and stories. If you think those two things go together like a "horse and a paperclip," as Allen wryly observes, you only have to look at phenomena like the Bible codes, the stock market's ups and downs, and the Clinton sex scandal to begin to understand the hidden bonds between them. Put simply, mathematics can describe everything that happens, and everything that happens contextualizes mathematics. In demonstrating this, Paulos continues the noble numeracy crusade he began with *A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper* and *Innumeracy*. Perhaps the most compelling thought experiments in the book are those of the statistics of stereotyping and race relations. Paulos shows, mathematically, that minority status makes achieving equality extraordinarily difficult.

If you want to keep hold of your comfortable worldview, don't read *Once Upon a Number*. But you'll be missing out on an unforgettable reminder of what chance, coincidence, and odds really mean, along with several valuable life lessons that may help you understand lost socks, racism, and mistaken identity. *--Therese Littleton*

Like at least 62.212% of us, I've often felt a tension between stories and statistics and their very different logics and mind-sets. I've always been struck, for example, by how frequently people feel that they've been wronged or aggrieved and how infrequently they feel that they've wronged or aggrieved someone else. How could we all be so Lake Wobegone above average? This led me to think not only about the differences between narratives and numbers but also about those between subjective viewpoint and objective probability, between informal discourse and formal logic, between meaning and information. The book that resulted, this book, is a sort of mathematician's take on C.P. Snow's two cultures, the literary and the scientific, and is my attempt to bridge, or at least illuminate, the gap between them. The stress is on examples, vignettes, parables, stories, puzzles, and a few memoiristic segments. Topics include the Bible codes, the statistics of racism and stereotyping, twenty questions and "magical realism," the probability of Murphy's Law, the mathematics of humor, O.J. Simpson and the Unabomber, the role of common knowledge in the stock market, information theory versus literary criticism, and much more.

*"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.*

Published by
Basic Books
(1999)

ISBN 10: 0465051596
ISBN 13: 9780465051595

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**Book Description **Basic Books, 1999. Book Condition: New. Brand New, Unread Copy in Perfect Condition. A+ Customer Service! Summary: Named one of the Best Nonfiction Books of 1998 by the "Los Angeles Times, " this book takes a surprising and humorous look at the similarities between narrative and numbers. Bookseller Inventory # ABE_book_new_0465051596

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Perseus Books Group
(1999)

ISBN 10: 0465051596
ISBN 13: 9780465051595

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**Book Description **Perseus Books Group, 1999. PAP. Book Condition: New. New Book. Shipped from US within 10 to 14 business days. Established seller since 2000. Bookseller Inventory # KB-9780465051595

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The Perseus Books Group, United States
(1999)

ISBN 10: 0465051596
ISBN 13: 9780465051595

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**Book Description **The Perseus Books Group, United States, 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: New. New edition. 200 x 126 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. What two things could be more different than numbers and stories? Numbers are abstract, certain, and eternal, but to most of us somewhat dry and bloodless. Good stories are full of life: they engage our emotions and have subtlety and nuance, but they lack rigor and the truths they tell are elusive and subject to debate. As ways of understanding the world around us, numbers and stories seem almost completely incompatible. Once Upon a Number shows that stories and numbers arent as different as you might imagine, and in fact they have surprising and fascinating connections. The concepts of logic and probability both grew out of intuitive ideas about how certain situations would play out. Now, logicians are inventing ways to deal with real world situations by mathematical meansby acknowledging, for instance, that items that are mathematically interchangeable may not be interchangeable in a story. And complexity theory looks at both number strings and narrative strings in remarkably similar terms. Throughout, renowned author John Paulos mixes numbers and narratives in his own delightful style. Along with lucid accounts of cutting-edge information theory we get hilarious anecdotes and jokes; instructions for running a truly impressive pyramid scam; a freewheeling conversation between Groucho Marx and Bertrand Russell (while theyre stuck in an elevator together); explanations of why the statistical evidence against OJ Simpson was overwhelming beyond doubt and how the Unabombers thinking shows signs of mathematical training; and dozens of other treats. This is another winner from Americas favorite mathematician. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780465051595

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Published by
The Perseus Books Group, United States
(1999)

ISBN 10: 0465051596
ISBN 13: 9780465051595

New
Paperback
Quantity Available: 1

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**Book Description **The Perseus Books Group, United States, 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: New. New edition. 200 x 126 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. What two things could be more different than numbers and stories? Numbers are abstract, certain, and eternal, but to most of us somewhat dry and bloodless. Good stories are full of life: they engage our emotions and have subtlety and nuance, but they lack rigor and the truths they tell are elusive and subject to debate. As ways of understanding the world around us, numbers and stories seem almost completely incompatible. Once Upon a Number shows that stories and numbers arent as different as you might imagine, and in fact they have surprising and fascinating connections. The concepts of logic and probability both grew out of intuitive ideas about how certain situations would play out. Now, logicians are inventing ways to deal with real world situations by mathematical meansby acknowledging, for instance, that items that are mathematically interchangeable may not be interchangeable in a story. And complexity theory looks at both number strings and narrative strings in remarkably similar terms. Throughout, renowned author John Paulos mixes numbers and narratives in his own delightful style. Along with lucid accounts of cutting-edge information theory we get hilarious anecdotes and jokes; instructions for running a truly impressive pyramid scam; a freewheeling conversation between Groucho Marx and Bertrand Russell (while theyre stuck in an elevator together); explanations of why the statistical evidence against OJ Simpson was overwhelming beyond doubt and how the Unabombers thinking shows signs of mathematical training; and dozens of other treats. This is another winner from Americas favorite mathematician. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780465051595

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ISBN 10: 0465051596
ISBN 13: 9780465051595

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**Book Description **Paperback. Book Condition: New. This item is printed on demand. Item doesn't include CD/DVD. Bookseller Inventory # 2094759

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Published by
Basic Books 1999-09-17
(1999)

ISBN 10: 0465051596
ISBN 13: 9780465051595

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**Book Description **Basic Books 1999-09-17, 1999. Book Condition: New. Brand new book, sourced directly from publisher. Dispatch time is 24-48 hours from our warehouse. Book will be sent in robust, secure packaging to ensure it reaches you securely. Bookseller Inventory # NU-ING-18102947

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Published by
Basic Books

ISBN 10: 0465051596
ISBN 13: 9780465051595

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**Book Description **Basic Books. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Paperback. 224 pages. Dimensions: 7.9in. x 5.0in. x 0.6in.What two things could be more different than numbers and stories Numbers are abstract, certain, and eternal, but to most of us somewhat dry and bloodless. Good stories are full of life: they engage our emotions and have subtlety and nuance, but they lack rigor and the truths they tell are elusive and subject to debate. As ways of understanding the world around us, numbers and stories seem almost completely incompatible. Once Upon a Number shows that stories and numbers arent as different as you might imagine, and in fact they have surprising and fascinating connections. The concepts of logic and probability both grew out of intuitive ideas about how certain situations would play out. Now, logicians are inventing ways to deal with real world situations by mathematical meansby acknowledging, for instance, that items that are mathematically interchangeable may not be interchangeable in a story. And complexity theory looks at both number strings and narrative strings in remarkably similar terms. Throughout, renowned author John Paulos mixes numbers and narratives in his own delightful style. Along with lucid accounts of cutting-edge information theory we get hilarious anecdotes and jokes; instructions for running a truly impressive pyramid scam; a freewheeling conversation between Groucho Marx and Bertrand Russell (while theyre stuck in an elevator together); explanations of why the statistical evidence against OJ Simpson was overwhelming beyond doubt and how the Unabombers thinking shows signs of mathematical training; and dozens of other treats. This is another winner from Americas favorite mathematician. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Bookseller Inventory # 9780465051595

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ISBN 10: 0465051596
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**Book Description **Book Condition: Brand New. Book Condition: Brand New. Bookseller Inventory # 97804650515951.0

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Published by
Basic Books
(1999)

ISBN 10: 0465051596
ISBN 13: 9780465051595

New
Paperback
Quantity Available: 1

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**Book Description **Basic Books, 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0465051596

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Published by
Basic Books
(1999)

ISBN 10: 0465051596
ISBN 13: 9780465051595

New
Paperback
Quantity Available: 1

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**Book Description **Basic Books, 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: New. New edition. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0465051596

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