Lawrence Weinstein, Princeton University Press, Pp 359 (PB), $19.95
EVER felt like spamming the people at the table with a question like “number of stars in the night sky.” Even if your answer is no, check out Guesstimation 2.0 by Lawrence Weinstein because it might just change your mind.
In a world with bone-dry numbers that make no sense, Guesstimaton is a no nonsense approach to everything calculable. Weinstein explains the art of guesstimating comes into play in day-to-day life. The local news network may decide to spruce up their numbers for April fool’s day. The interviewer for the swanky job at the big company may decide to exorcise his demons by asking you questions from hell. At any point of time number come into play, numbers that aren’t easy to corroborate or crunch, guesstimation should come into play as smoothly as his speech came to Mark Antony.
From the get go, Weinstein, introduces a simple, idiot-proof strategy to making numbers manageable. He then proceeds to problems, some profound, some vital and others that don’t really fit any category. Guesstimation 2.0 is a book that was made to mediate between fun and useful. The language is light and sprightly, the book itself is very pocketable and it’ll sit innocuously at any corner of the house waiting for you to pick it up, open a random puzzle, set it down for a few days and then repeat the process ad nauseam.
Whether or not a fan of numbers, it’s always cool to appear smart, therefore Guesstimation 2.0 is an excellent element to add to one’s arsenal. It is like a glass of cool lemonade, the enjoyment comes in small doses. After all, not many people can compute the country’s yearly consumption of fuel, or figure out how close is “too close” to get to a neutron star. Guesstimation 2.0 makes you part of that elite club.
Weinstein is University Professor of Physics at Old Dominion University and has authored books.
(Princeton University Press, 41, William Street, Princeton, New Jersey 08540)