Some people fear and mistrust numbers. Others want to use them for everything. After a long career as a statistician, Paul Goodwin has learned the hard way that the ones who want to use them for everything are a very good reason for the rest of us to fear and mistrust them. Something Doesn’t Add Up is a tour of the stupidest, self-defeating, self-blinding ways supposedly clever people use maths in everyday life.
Wry, witty and humane, Goodwin explains mathematical subtleties so painlessly that you hardly need to think about numbers at all. He demonstrates how statistics that are meant to make life simpler often make it simpler than it actually is, but also reveals some of the ways we can use maths to make better decisions. Along the way we learn about fitness tracking, the history of IQ testing, China’s social credit system, Effective
Altruism, and how someone should have noticed that Harold Shipman was killing his patients years before they actually did. In the right hands, maths is a useful tool. It’s just a pity there are so many of the wrong hands about.