The Math Instinct: Why You're a Mathematical Genius (along with Lobsters, Birds, Cats and Dogs)

Front Cover
Thunder's Mouth Press, 2006 - Mathematics - 279 pages
13 Reviews
There are two kinds of math: the hard kind and the easy kind. The easy kind, practiced by ants, shrimp, Welsh Corgis -- and us -- is innate. But what innate calculating skills do we humans have? Leaving aside built-in mathematics, such as the visual system, ordinary people do just fine when faced with mathematical tasks in the course of the day. Yet when they are confronted with the same tasks presented as "math," their accuracy often drops. If we have innate mathematical ability, why do we have to teach math and why do most of us find it so hard to learn? Are there tricks or strategies that the ordinary person can do to improve mathematical ability? Can we improve our math skills by learning from dogs, cats, and other creatures that "do math?" The answer to each of these questions is a qualified yes. All these examples of animal math suggest that if we want to do better in the formal kind of math, we should see how it arises from natural mathematics.
From NPR's "Math Guy," "The Math Instinct" is a real celebration of innate math sense and will provide even the most number-phobic readers with confidence in their own mathematical abilities.

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Review: The Math Instinct: Why You're a Mathematical Genius (Along with Lobsters, Birds, Cats, and Dogs)

User Review  - Mark - Goodreads

Beginning and end were good. Middle was on "math" in animals, but not really. Read full review

Review: The Math Instinct: Why You're a Mathematical Genius (Along with Lobsters, Birds, Cats, and Dogs)

User Review  - brotagonist - Goodreads

I found the first part about the mathematical abilities of animals interesting. The latter part dealt with why humans make a lot of mistakes when dealing with abstract mathematics and the benefits of ... Read full review

About the author (2006)

Dr. Keith Devlin is Executive Director of Stanford's Center for the Study of Language and Information and a Consulting Professor of Mathematics at Stanford. He is a co-founder of Stanford’s Media X network – a campuswide research network focused on the design and use of interactive technologies – and its Executive Director. He is the author of twenty-four books, one interactive book on CD-ROM and over seventy-five published research articles. Since 1994 Devlin has been a regular contributor to NPR’s "Weekend Edition," where he is known as "the Math Guy" in his on-air conversations with host Scott Simon. Devlin is a frequent contributor to other local and national radio programs. Devlin was a co-writer of the BBC Horizon/WGBH Nova television documentary "A Mathematical Mystery Tour" and has appeared on a number of television programs, including the six-part PBS series "Life by the Numbers," for which he wrote the companion book.

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