big data | May 17, 2016

What’s on Bill Gates’s Nightstand? Jordan Ellenberg’s How Not to Be Wrong

Every year, Bill Gates releases his summer reading list—the books that influence him, and in turn, shape thought in the wider world. He’s praised books by Lavin speakers in the past (Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature, Jared Diamond’s The World Until Yesterday), and gracing the list this year is Jordan Ellenberg’s How Not to Be Wrong. Gates calls it “funny, smooth, and accessible—not what you might expect from a book about math.”

Whatever he’s describing, be it Baltimore stockbrokers, bullet holes in American planes circa WWII, or the three unlikely groups that decoded the Massachusetts lottery, Ellenberg is always perceptive and entertaining. In his books and keynotes, Ellenberg reveals the math behind your everyday actions—and how to leverage it to your advantage.

Here’s what Bill Gates had to say about How Not to Be Wrong:

“Ellenberg, a mathematician and writer, explains how math plays into our daily lives without our even knowing it. Each chapter starts with a subject that seems fairly straightforward—electoral politics, say, or the Massachusetts lottery—and then uses it as a jumping-off point to talk about the math involved. In some places the math gets quite complicated, but he always wraps things up by making sure you’re still with him. The book’s larger point is that, as Ellenberg writes, ‘to do mathematics is to be, at once, touched by fire and bound by reason’—and that there are ways in which we’re all doing math, all the time.”

For the full review, head over to Gates's website.

Math touches everything we do, and no one knows it better than Jordan Ellenberg. To hire Ellenberg for a keynote on the power of mathematical thinking, contact The Lavin Agency speakers bureau today.