A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper
Press Comment and a Brief Resume of John Allen Paulos

Brief Resume
John Allen Paulos was born in Denver, raised in Chicago and Milwaukee, and received his Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Wisconsin. Professor of mathematics at Temple University, he is married and the father of two children. Dr. Paulos is the author of a number of scholarly papers on mathematical logic, probability, and the philosophy of science. He is also the author of

Mathematics and Humor (1980)

I Think, Therefore I Laugh (1985)

Innumeracy - Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences (1989)

Beyond Numeracy - Ruminations of a Numbers Man (1991)

A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper (1995)

The first two books were published by university presses and were quite well-received. Innumeracy was on the New York Times bestseller list for five months in 1989 and was very favorably reviewed and extensively discussed in the national media - on television (the MacNeil/Lehrer Show, the Today Show, the David Letterman Show), on radio (more than 100 interviews including the Larry King Show and NPR's Fresh Air), and in newspapers (NY Times, LA Times, Washington Post), and periodicals (Business Week, Time Magazine, Newsweek, The Chronicle of Higher Education, People Magazine). Innumeracy was a selection of Book-of-the-Month Club and other book clubs and was translated into eleven foreign languages. Beyond Numeracy was published in 1991 by Knopf/Random House. It too was widely and favorably reviewed (Washington Post, London Times Literary Supplement, Wall Street Journal), led to many media appearances, was selected by Book-of-the-Month Club, and was translated into half a dozen languages.

Writings and recognition this past year (1995) have included columns in Discover magazine (including the Folio Ovation award- winning "Dyscalculia"), a discussion of his work in the American Math Monthly, a long article on education for the NY Times Book Review, the lead essay in the Washington Post's BookWorld, National Public Radio appearances on Talk of the Nation and Science Friday (twice), full feature interviews in Worth and Omni magazines, pieces in the Washington Post and Christian Science Monitor, numerous appearances on public radio, C-Span, and the like, many positive reviews of A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper in newspapers from coast to coast, and an invitation to deliver the Commencement Address at the University of Wisconsin in Madison in May.

An active public speaker, he has spoken to audiences from the Smithsonian (this July for the second time) to West Point, from the National Academy of Sciences to local colleges and library associations, from Berkeley to Boston. He has also written scores of OpEds, book reviews, and articles for such publications as Newsweek, the London Review of Books, Nature, Discover, Business Week, and, most frequently, the NY Times. Beginning in October, 1995, he will write a regular column on the mathematical aspects of stories in the news for The Economist.

Press Comment on A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper by John Allen Paulos

NEW YORK TIMES, Max Frankel But the dirty secret about the media's contribution to American "Innumeracy," first examined in a delightful book by that title by John Allen Paulos, is about to be revealed in his sequel, "A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper."

LOS ANGELES TIMES, Lee Dembart This is press criticism, but not of the usual kind .... This is press criticism of the sort that George Orwell had in mind when he observed that what's important isn't news, and what's news isn't important. ..... This is a subversive book. Paulos argues that the world is so complex that it cannot be accurately described, much less manipulated. ...... a wise and thoughtful book, which skewers much of what everyone knows to be true.

PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, Charles Seife Even better, Paulos' wit and humor - admirably displayed in Innumeracy - are in top form. His irreverent and pointed comments entertain as well as educate. Though Paulos writes about a bewildering number of topics, he has something fresh and interesting to say about each.

WASHINGTON POST, Joel Achenbach It would be great to have John Allen Paulos living next door. Every morning when you read the paper and came across some story that didn't seem quite right - that had the faint odor of illogic hovering about it - you could just lean out the window and shout, "Jack! Get the hell over here!"..... Paulos, who wrote the bestseller Innumeracy (the mathematical equivalent of illiteracy), has now written a fun, spunky, wise little book that would be helpful to both the consumers of the news and its purveyors.

USA TODAY, Best Bet Although the combination of math and newspapers sounds uniquely unappetizing, John Allen Paulos creates a truly thought- provoking book from that mixture.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE, Jon Van As intriguing as these examples may be, Paulos' book is much more than an assortment of helpful hints for news readers. As a lifelong fan of newspapers, Paulos provides a wide-ranging collection of musings on mathematics, the media and life itself.

NEW YORK TIMES, Richard Bernstein In his new book, the mathematician John Allen Paulos continues his witty crusade against mathematical illiteracy ...... Mr. Paulos's little essay explaining the Banzhaf power index and how it relates to Lani Guinier's ideas about empowering minorities is itself worth the price of the book.

THE NEW SCIENTIST, Robert Matthews ... this book should be mandatory reading for every journalist - as well as the readers, viewers and former tutors they supposedly serve.

SYNDICATED COLUMNIST, Molly Ivins To the rescue comes our hero John Allen Paulos, that mysterious masked mathematician on a white horse, with his new book, "A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper." ...If paranoia could be cured by math, Paulos would be the Jonas Salk of the disease. His dissection of conspiracy theories is delicious.

SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, Rudy Rucker A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper is irresistible.

AMERICAN MATHEMATICS MONTHLY, Peter Hilton This book will bring a great deal of pleasure to many - as it did to the reviewer. It is full of fun, full of information, full of insights.

Cover of A Mathematician Reads The Newspaper

To reach Prof. Paulos via electronic mail try paulos@euclid.temple.edu