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Comment: This book has already been loved by someone else. It MIGHT have some wear and tear on the edges, have some markings in it, or be an ex-library book. Over-all itâ€TMs still a good book at a great price! (if it is supposed to contain a CD or access code, that may be missing)
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The Arithmetic of Life and Death Paperback – May 1, 2001

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"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."
--Kirkus Reviews

"Shaffner's writing is . . . clever and clear. . . . It's highly probable that many readers will learn from it."
--Publishers Weekly

From the Inside Flap

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.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 220 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (May 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345426452
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345426451
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.4 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #437,676 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By J. Haley on February 10, 2004
Format: Paperback
This excellent book answers several questions that I have always wondered about - but never knew how to approach them. It also provideds support for issues I feel strongly about but did not understand why. It clarifies why some counter intuitive actions may be so effective. Finally it provides support to those of us working with young adults on how and why to take the proper long term actions. He hints at why rapidly finishing high school and college will provide much more income over the long run.
Math is really only a small building block in this book. No advanced math is required, just addition and averaging. The math is a tool - a simple effective one at that- and nothing more. The main focus is providing solutions to issues one feels strongly about but does not have a clue on how to attack them.
This book has also reminded me of a few ways I better improve myself. I stick to the speed limit and no longer tailgate!!!!!
I just wish Mr. Shaffner would write another book!!!!!
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By John M on August 20, 2001
Format: Paperback
While books on arithmetic certainly aren't for everyone, I found this one to be interesting, and at times fascinating. My favorite chapter, and one that I plan to use at my daughter's school is on how 8th graders can get a job that pays $45/hour. "What kind of job is that," I'm sure you ask... The answer, of course, is "Stay in School". Since high school graduates on average make significantly more than dropouts, you can assign that difference an hourly rate for the hours that remain till graduation day. Sometimes interesting, sometimes fascinating, sometimes a bit of a stretch, but for an engineer, math fan, statistician, etc., definitely worth the buy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lisa Shea HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 5, 2013
Format: Paperback
The Arithmetic of Life and Death by George Shaffner is a collection of essays. Each essay highlights how simple math can be used to evaluate one of life's important questions. This isn't a puzzle or riddle book. You don't have to know advanced calculus to examine the questions. They are straightforward - like, how much more income will I earn in a lifetime if I stay in high school?

Many of these essays are great to use as "instructional notes" to people you care for who are making less than wise decisions. If you know someone who speeds a lot, one of the essays talks about how this increases your chance of getting ticketed and fined. If you're in an environment where a group is trying to develop a consensus, you learn some tricks on getting that to work (and what to avoid). There are essays in here for a wide variety of situations - family, professional, and personal.

On one hand this chapter-based layout is great. If you know someone who smokes, you leap to "A Case for Smoking", read that, and share it. However, many of the titles here are in the "cutesy" category. What is "Figures Don't Lie ..." about? It could be anything. How about "The Duke of Pork"? Or "MB(U)O"? Cutesy titles are great for magazine articles when you're turning the page anyway, but for a reference book like this it would have been far better if the titles each had clear meaning.

Still, once you make yourself a cross-key, so you know what goes with what, you're all set. This is the type of book you lend out to family and friends - and then maybe don't get back because they are then busy foisting it on their kids and parents. So be ready to buy yourself another copy. You'll want to. This is the kind of the book you like to have around.

Well recommended.
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Format: Paperback
The Arithmetic of Life and Death by George Shaffner is a collection of essays. Each essay highlights how simple math can be used to evaluate one of life's important questions. This isn't a puzzle or riddle book. You don't have to know advanced calculus to examine the questions. They are straightforward - like, how much more income will I earn in a lifetime if I stay in high school?

Many of these essays are great to use as "instructional notes" to people you care for who are making less than wise decisions. If you know someone who speeds a lot, one of the essays talks about how this increases your chance of getting ticketed and fined. If you're in an environment where a group is trying to develop a consensus, you learn some tricks on getting that to work (and what to avoid). There are essays in here for a wide variety of situations - family, professional, and personal.

On one hand this chapter-based layout is great. If you know someone who smokes, you leap to "A Case for Smoking", read that, and share it. However, many of the titles here are in the "cutesy" category. What is "Figures Don't Lie ..." about? It could be anything. How about "The Duke of Pork"? Or "MB(U)O"? Cutesy titles are great for magazine articles when you're turning the page anyway, but for a reference book like this it would have been far better if the titles each had clear meaning.

Still, once you make yourself a cross-key, so you know what goes with what, you're all set. This is the type of book you lend out to family and friends - and then maybe don't get back because they are then busy foisting it on their kids and parents. So be ready to buy yourself another copy. You'll want to. This is the kind of the book you like to have around.

Well recommended.
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