If you look at my Good Reads profile, you will know that I have read lot of fiction lately. I wanted to take a break and so I picked up Why Do Buses Come in Three: The Hidden Mathematics of Everyday Life by Robert Eastaway and Jeremy Wyndham.
I came to know about this book through Good Read’s recommendation and added it to my to-read list probably a year ago. When I wanted to read a non-fiction book for a break I found it in my to-read list and immediately picked it up.
I found that alternating between fiction and non-fiction books is a nice way to read books from different genre and I have followed it up for the last couple of years.
Why Do Buses Come in Three: The Hidden Mathematics of Everyday Life tries to explain how Maths governs most of the things that we experience in everyday life. It answers some of the questions that we have everyday like why do buses come in threes (mentioned in the title), or why showers are always either too hot or too cold or why do clever people get things wrong etc using Maths.
In addition to answering these questions, the book also mentions the theory behind answers in simple terms.
Things I learned from this book
The major thing that I learned from this book is that some times common sense (or intuition) may not be correct. It is either your brain trying to do an approximation (and failing miserably) or some clever marketer who is using statistics to lie to you 🙂
Some of the famous ones include
- Why do clever people get things wrong?
- Bad luck and number 13
- Why am I always in traffic jams?
- How can a TV program claim that it was watched by x number of people?
The other thing that I learned from this book are a couple of magic tricks based on Maths that were mentioned in the last chapter.
Things I liked in this book
The main thing that I liked about this book is that it took most of the common day problems that pretty much everyone would have witnessed and then answered it using Maths. I found it very appealing since you can easily understand as you would have already experienced them.
The other thing that I liked about this book is that the answers were explained in very simple language which means you can understand most of them with very limited knowledge of Maths.
Also I liked the last chapter that had some magic tricks based on Maths that you can try with your friends 🙂
My rating for this book is 4 out of 5.
The only reason that I didn’t give 5 stars was because some of the theory that were mentioned in the book were not explained properly. I agree that this book was not about the theory, but I felt that some of it could either have been removed or explained a bit more.
My next book
After finishing the current set of fiction books that I am reading, I am planning to read No Place to Hide by Glenn Greenwald. The author is the reporter broke who broke the story about NSA surveillance scandal based on the documents released by Edward Snowden and in this book the author explores the extraordinary co-operation between private industry and the NSA, and the far-reaching consequences of the government’s surveillance program.
Sounds like an interesting read 🙂