Who would have thought that all those years you spent in school taking math classes could lead to more than just learning about the Pythagorean theorem? Yes, math provides the ways of thinking and reasoning that can be applied in many situations of everyday life.
Jordan discusses with PNM’s Dennis Shaffer how mathematics embraces the luck involved in gambling games like Texas Hold’em. Players need to understand the probabilities of the game, but not so literally that the decisions are made for you. One message from the book is that the improbable happens a lot.
Also, Jordan discusses how small sample sizes in polls can be just as accurate as large ones, as long as there’s plenty of variation in the sample. The math modeling of Nate Silver has been extraordinarily accurate because he includes uncertainty in the numbers.
Of the many lessons from the book, mathematical thinking involves asking the right questions, but also understanding the opposite side. For every positive number (right answer), there’s also the possibility of a null!
You can listen to the entire interview here: