Mathsemantics: Making Numbers Talk Sense

Mathsemantics: Making Numbers Talk Sense

Edward MacNeal describes the symptoms of innumeracy, and offers a revolutionary way of looking at math as a language to address the problem

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Making Numbers Talk Sense

by Edward MacNeal


MacNeal pinpoints mathematical or logical errors commonly made...that he believes may be due to the adult’s retention of the child’s tendency to confuse words with the things that words represent.

--Publishers Weekly




An interesting and helpful discussion of the common sense surrounding the fine art of calculating and estimating.

--John Allen Paulos,

Author of Innumeracy

The language of mathematics seeks precision--only one interpretation. Everyday language such as English, colorful, emotive, and artistic, allows many interpretations.

Edward MacNeal's Mathsemantics presents a whole new way of looking at math that liberates mathphobes from math anxiety, enables businesspeople to do their jobsmore effectively, entertains and informs math buffs, and provides educators with the tools to teach match without instilling fear.

This divorce between numbers and what they mean begins in childhood and pervades every aspect of life from then on.  One result is innumeracy.  LIke John Allen Paulos's bestseller of that name, this book describes the symptoms of the problem, but unlike Innumeracy, Mathsemantics offers a solution: a revolutionary way of looking at math as a language, something we've all heard but which never made sense until now.

Mathsemantics takes off from a quiz that was given to job applicants for the author's consulting firm who described themselves as "good at numbers."  Most of them, it turned out, weren't in fact good at numbers, because they couldn't draw conclusions about what the numbers meant.  The good news is that many people who think they're terrible at numbers will find after reading this book that they aren't so bad after all.  They'll learn how to one-up the number crunchers.

Mathsemantics is that rare book that will change the way readers look at the world.  It provides the most promising and entertaining answer yet to the problem of American innumeracy.

Appendices include recruitment quiz problems, answers, sources, and index.

280+ pages. 5 by 8 inches. Softcover.


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