The Arithmetic of Life and Death
By George Shaffner
(Ballantine Books, Paperback, 9780345426451, 220pp.)
Publication Date: May 1, 2001
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Whether you realize it or not, numbers are everywhere--and integral to almost every facet of your life . . . from your next raise in pay to the inevitable rise of inflation, your weekly family budget to your end of the national debt. And as George Shaffner amazingly reveals, there are discerning answers (and a great measure of comfort) in numbers. In The Arithmetic of Life, he applies the basic principles of mathematics--addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division--to some of the most profound and just plain puzzling questions of our time.
Illuminated with anecdotes, humor, and insight, each chapter explains a unique part of life that can be understood only through the magic of numbers. Whether it's an unconventional theory on why more things go wrong than right, a simple calculation of how much it will cost you to smoke for a lifetime, why crime (accumulatively) doesn't pay, or a glimpse into the probability of life after death, this enlightening and lucidly reasoned book will forever change the way you think about numbers--and the world around you.
"AN APPEALING MIX OF COMMON SENSE AND SOLID REASONING . . . Written in lively style, with sly wit . . . Shines light into several interesting corners of everyday life, often with surprising results--and the numbers don't lie."
"Shaffner's writing is . . . clever and clear. . . . It's highly probable that many readers will learn from it."