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The Power of Logical Thinking: Easy Lessons in the Art of Reasoning...and Hard Facts About Its Absence in Our Lives
America has become a society devoid of understanding of the power of logic and numbers. All too often, we rely on our intuition or on empty statistics to formulate opinions about ourselves and our world. As a result of inadequate schooling in the art of reasoning, we have become a people unable to make truly logical decisions, intimidated by numbers, and too passive to reverse this disturbing trend. The Power of Logical Thinking addresses these concerns, illustrating how you can reason better, how numbers are used against you, and how your vote may be affected. Marilyn vos Savant writes, "We can't trust out intuitions, our statisticians, or our politicians. The 1992 presidential campaign is a case in point. Numbers were used, abused, and misused by the candidates as never before in the history of our country. Voters were easily manipulated, setting a precedent for years to come. Will it happen again? Or will we be more prepared for future elections?" Part One of The Power of Logical Thinking explains the most provocative of the counterintuitive problems that Marilyn vos Savant has encountered in recent years, such as the now classic "Monty Hall Dilemma," the improbability of winning the lottery, and much more. Part Two shows how statistics have quietly become a tool of persuasion instead of education. In addition to exploring puzzles and paradoxes, these sections explains the underlying reasoning to help you answer questions such as which surgery should you choose? what are your odds of having breast cancer? do drug-testing and AIDS-testing give you yes/no answers? In Part Three, vos Savant illustrates how our votes are affected, with examples of selective logic, specious reasoning, and outright sophistry collected from the campaigns of Bill Clinton, George Bush, and Ross Perot.
the lady with the high IQ
By Michael R. Chernick "statman31147"
- January 23, 2008
Marilyn Vos Savant is known for her provocative articles in Parade Magazine and also gets publicity for her high IQ (a little too much publicity). But what really made her world famous was the reaction to her solution to a reader's question about a probability problem. Her answer was simple and direct but received the wrath and scorn of many mathematicians that thought she had blundered. This problem is now called the Monty Hall problem and discussion of it can be found in statistical journals and introductory textbooks. I use it in my elementary statistics classes to arouse the interest of my students.
This book is about the way that most people make decisions in their daily lives without logical thinking. Counterintuitive problems like the Monty Hall problem bring this home. Marilyn had confidence in her answer and stuck to her guns when many argued against her using only their degree credentials as support of their position.
Personally, I participated in the debate... read more
Enjoyable read and introduction to logic and fallacies
By Harold McFarland
- December 15, 2001
After a basic introduction to some logical fallacies such as the statistical implications of some drug tests, this book moves to the now famous Monty Hall problem. This seemed like a simple problem on the surface. On a game show you are given the choice of three doors behind one of which is a fabulous prize. You pick one and afterwards the host turns around one of the wrong door. Then he offers you to keep the door you originally chose or to change doors. Do you stay or change? This simple problem caused a great deal of controversy and numerous letters after Marilyn Vos Savant stated that it would be better to switch. Her explanation is here as well and letters from various scholars as to why she was wrong. Turns out, she was right.
With that background to catch your interest (and it does so very well) she then moves on to other topics and how statistics can be used to support just about any position. Of particular fascination are the ways in which our intuition leads us... read more
Excellent, although not cohesive, intro to statistics
By Robert L. Miller "avid reader"
- August 10, 1998
This is really two books, one about the "Monty Hall" problem, and another one all about politics, campaign promises, and other ways the popular press gets it wrong. Is there a tie between the two? Yes. This could have been an excellent tome on how our emotions and our "wants" and our intuition often leads us astray, and how advertising, entertainment, and politics capitalizes on that. But somehow there is little connection between the two. I didn't find Vos Savant's ego to be the main theme of this book, in fact, she downplays herself many times. But other books, by authors like Sagan, Randi, Shick, Dawkins, and Shermer, cover this ground better.
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