Do the Math! On Growth, Greed, and Strategic Thinking (Sage, 2012)

John K. White
Softcover, 350 pages

Do the Math! is a refreshing look at mathematical concepts and moral dilemmas in the increasingly more numerate world of everyday living. Aiming to popularize and inform with a serious yet often humorous approach, Do the Math does for numbers what Eats, Shoots, and Leaves does for words.

To learn more about everyday mathematics and the number-filled world around us, check out the prologue below.

Do the Math cover

Exponential Growth: Pyramids, Bubbles, and Crashes

She told two friends and they told two friends, and they told ... Pyramids, bubbles, and crashes are all linked to exponential growth and the mathematics of doubling, from tulip selling in 17th century Holland to sub-prime mortgages in 2009 America. With the doubling game, we see how a pyramid scam works and why it ultimately can't sustain itself (and from that, the essential causes of the 1929 stock market failure and 2009 credit crisis, among other examples of such greed-fueled growth). All prey on those who dream of future fortunes, seemingly made with only a modest investment and a few friends. How many friends? Well, let's see.

(Excellent bubble photos courtesy of Richard Heeks.)

About the author

John K. White received a B.Sc. in Applied Physics from the University of Waterloo, Canada, and a Ph.D. from University College Dublin, Ireland.

He has worked around the world as a physicist, lecturer, project manager, and computational analyst over a 25-year career. He has worked as a project manager and technical writer for Sun Microsystems, The Netherlands Organization, and Berminghammer Foundation Equipment, consultant for Interactive Image Technologies, ScotiaBank, and the Ontario Government, and as a lecturer and research fellow at University College Dublin, and has analyzed game playing strategies, from professional sports teams to the stock market as well as many other thought provoking systems.

He is also active in promoting physics and numeracy in schools, and has published widely in academic journals, contributed chapters to edited volumes, and authored numerous technical publications. Born in Dublin, Ireland, he grew up in Toronto, Canada, and now lives and works in Dublin.

Do the Math! On Growth, Greed, and Strategic Thinking

John K. White
Softcover, 350 pages, Sage Publications (2012)

Better numeracy, Do-it-yourself analysis, Social inclusiveness, Foster critical and strategic thinking, Uncomplicated mathematical discussion

Our world has become more complicated, and the notion of growth at any cost has led to constant economic uncertainty, a permanently stressed-out workforce, and everyday stories of government and corporate abuse. John K. White argues that a better knowledge of basic systems is needed to understand the world we live in, from pyramid scams to government bailouts, from sports leagues to stock markets, from the everyday to the seemingly complex.

   John K White