#BookReview: The Math Of Life And Death by Kit Yates

No Formulas. Just Numb3rs. In this book about how math shapes our lives, British math professor Yates doesn’t take us into the algebra, geometry, and even trigonometry that we all use daily – whether we realize it or not. Instead, he takes an approach similar to the now decade old US television show Numb3rs, starring David Krumholtz and Rob Morrow, wherein he shows applications of higher level mathematics in fields such as epidemiology, medicine, law, journalism, elections, and several others. Yates cites real world examples including unjust convictions and Ebola outbreaks and many others to show how math was used incorrectly and what the math actually showed in that situation, to help the reader begin to get an overall sense of math without getting bogged down in the technical calculations. Truly an excellent book for even the more arithmophobic among us, as it shows the numbers all around us and explains how we can have a better sense of them.

Disclaimers: 1) I LOVED Numb3rs back in the day and would still be watching it if it were still on the air. 2) I have a computer science degree and very nearly got secondary mathematics education and mathematics bachelors degrees at the same time as my CS one – so obviously I’m a bit more attuned to math than others.

This review of The Math Of Life And Death by Kit Yates was originally written on September 29, 2019.