Street-Fighting Mathematics: The Art of Educated Guessing and Opportunistic Problem Solving (Google eBook)

Front Cover
MIT Press, Mar 5, 2010 - Mathematics - 152 pages
5 Reviews
In problem solving, as in street fighting, rules are for fools: do whatever works--don't just stand there! Yet we often fear an unjustified leap even though it may land us on a correct result. Traditional mathematics teaching is largely about solving exactly stated problems exactly, yet life often hands us partly defined problems needing only moderately accurate solutions. This engaging book is an antidote to the rigor mortis brought on by too much mathematical rigor, teaching us how to guess answers without needing a proof or an exact calculation.In Street-Fighting Mathematics, Sanjoy Mahajan builds, sharpens, and demonstrates tools for educated guessing and down-and-dirty, opportunistic problem solving across diverse fields of knowledge--from mathematics to management. Mahajan describes six tools: dimensional analysis, easy cases, lumping, picture proofs, successive approximation, and reasoning by analogy. Illustrating each tool with numerous examples, he carefully separates the tool--the general principle--from the particular application so that the reader can most easily grasp the tool itself to use on problems of particular interest. Street-Fighting Mathematics grew out of a short course taught by the author at MIT for students ranging from first-year undergraduates to graduate students ready for careers in physics, mathematics, management, electrical engineering, computer science, and biology. They benefited from an approach that avoided rigor and taught them how to use mathematics to solve real problems.Street-Fighting Mathematics will appear in print and online under a Creative Commons Noncommercial Share Alike license.
  

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Review: Street-Fighting Mathematics: The Art of Educated Guessing and Opportunistic Problem Solving

User Review  - Daniel Wilson - Goodreads

A fantastic book which only requires some mathematical wherewithal. Covers various methods for estimation and informal proofs. I really liked the intuitive way he describes the topics, which range ... Read full review

Review: Street-Fighting Mathematics: The Art of Educated Guessing and Opportunistic Problem Solving

User Review  - Tung - Goodreads

Not to brag, but I was a math whiz in high school and college, which is why I'm a fan of pop-math books that frame real world issues through the lens of numbers. Given the title of this book (and its ... Read full review

Contents

1 Dimensions
1
2 Easy cases
13
3 Lumping
31
4 Pictorial proofs
57
5 Taking out the big part
77
6 Analogy
99
Bibliography
123
Index
127
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