#BookReview: Partial Truths by James C Zimring

Solid Exposition Of Its Premise. This book is pretty well exactly what its title says it is: an examination of cognitive biases, with fractions as the common access point to all of them. Thought of in this manner, the book is solid, though on its overall points – many political, including repeated attacks on the 45th President of the United States – your mileage will vary considerably. Indeed, on many of the issues Zimring examines, his overall consideration of the issue at hand is actually limited by his devotion to fraction-based thinking, at least within the confines of this text. Ultimately, this book is more a rare take on cognitive biases than anything truly mathematical, and the math here really is simplified such that pretty well anyone capable of reading the text itself can follow the math easily enough. The bibliography clocks in at around 20% of the overall text, which is close enough to the average of similar texts in my experience to be acceptable. Recommended.

This review of Partial Truths by James C Zimring was originally written on April 27, 2022.

#BookReview: Making Numbers Count by Chip Heath and Karla Starr

Useful, Engaging, And Exceedingly Well Documented. As a software engineering professional who has a mathematics-related degree (Computer Science), very nearly got two others at the same time (Mathematics, Secondary Mathematics Education), spent a year in the middle school/ high school classroom, and who has been engaged in talking about politically-oriented numbers off and on for over a decade now… this is one helluva book. While I would have preferred fewer leftist-leaning number communication examples (attacks on “the 1%” and Jeff Bezos in particular are a common refrain), overall the points raised here are truly so spot-on, to the level that I personally can’t think of any better or any way to really refute them. Further, the writing style here is very engaging and written in a style that can be read straight through, referred to as a common reference guide, or even taught in chapter form via an actual class itself. For those reading straight through, this is a very quick read due to both the book’s overall brevity – barely 250 pages – and because of its exceedingly thorough documentation – clocking in at roughly 42% of the text of this Advanced Reader Copy. Very much recommended.

This review of Making Numbers Count by Chip Heath and Karla Starr was originally written on September 19, 2021.