Traditional mathematics teaching is largely about solving exactly stated problems exactly, yet life often hands us partly defined problems needing only moderately accurate solutions. This engaging book is an antidote to the rigor mortis brought on by too much mathematical rigor, teaching us how to guess answers without needing a proof or an exact calculation.
Street-Fighting Mathematics, builds, sharpens, and demonstrates tools for educated guessing and opportunistic problem solving across diverse fields of knowledge—from mathematics to management. The author describes six tools: dimensional analysis, easy cases, lumping, picture proofs, successive approximation, and reasoning by analogy. Illustrating each tool with numerous examples, he carefully separates the tool—the general principle—from the particular application so that the reader can most easily grasp the tool itself to use on problems of particular interest.
“Many everyday problems require quick, approximate answers. Street-Fighting Mathematics teaches a crucial skill that the traditional science curriculum fails to develop: how to obtain order-of-magnitude estimates for a broad variety of problems. This book will be invaluable to anyone wishing to become a better informed professional.”
Table of Contents
2. Easy cases
4. Pictorial proofs
5. Taking Out the Big Part