Innumeracy : Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences, Paperback Book

Innumeracy : Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences Paperback

4.5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


Why do even well-educated people often understand so little about maths - or take a perverse pride in not being a 'numbers person'?In his now-classic book Innumeracy, John Allen Paulos answers questions such as: Why is following the stock market exactly like flipping a coin?

How big is a trillion? How fast does human hair grow in mph? Can you calculate the chances that a party includes two people who have the same birthday?

Paulos shows us that by arming yourself with some simple maths, you don't have to let numbers get the better of you.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Society & social sciences
  • ISBN: 9780140291209

Other Formats



Free Home Delivery

on all orders

Pick up orders

from local bookshops


Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

Short, easy to read and packed with examples, this is a book that the Maths-phobic need not be scared of. There is very little number crunching, just a romp through the world of the use and misuse of statistics. For those with a good level of mathematical knowledge, this book contains nothing new; it is a book for the interested layman with a recollection of school maths. I am in agreeement with Paulos' stance on the state of the nation's numeracy- read this book and soon you will see innumeracy everywhere.

Review by

A short but highly entertaining book on numeracy. However it is presented in such a way that you want to read more. I suggest it is mandatory reading for all as I am well aware that most people are hazy when statistics are quoted - and in an era where dubious figures are used to gain sales or electoral success it becomes a necessity to recognise statistical lies.Whilst I am reasonably numerate it is easy to believe that people are generally very much the same and as numerate as I. This however is not the case. Being able to manage numbers used on a day to day basis is not much use when very large numbers are concerned. This is an eye-opening start to the book and provides a glimpse of how complex life is. As an example Paulos gives the example of a human squatting down is roughly a metre in diameter. A cell is the human body is as a human body to the State of Rhode Island*. A virus within a human is as a human is to the Earth!!. I may not have understood all the fine detail however I was not trying to learn "maths" but to get an impression of what numbers can and cannot do and on that basis it is beautifully ptiched.*And as a reviewer I looked it up - it is 1,214 sq miles (3,140 km2)