#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.

#BookReview: The Janus Point by Julian Barbour

Intriguing Theoretical Astrophysics. If it wasn’t clear from the description of this book, this book is *all about* theoretical astrophysics and the author’s new theory of the origins and nature of time. If words like Newtonian and General Relativity and Leibniz and thermodynamics are part of your every day lexicon, you’ll probably enjoy reading this. For the rest of us… at least there isn’t much math involved in the actual text here? Specifically of the Calculus variety, which gives even many math-oriented people the heebie jeebies? Truly an intriguing work, but I’ll be the first to say that I didn’t fully follow or comprehend all of it – it is simply that high level. Even though Barbour tries to use narrative examples and structures designed to allow most anyone to have some idea of what is going on, at the end of the day this is still advanced theoretical astrophysics, of the kind that even Stephen Hawking wrestled with. While others more learned in the actual science may find fault here, for what it is I could find none. Very much recommended.

This review of The Janus Point by Julian Barbour was originally written on August 19, 2020.