Thursday, December 17, 2015

Book Beginning: Numbers and Nerves


Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author’s name.

EARLY BIRDS & SLOWPOKES: This weekly post goes up Thursday evening for those who like to get their posts up and linked early on. But feel free to add a link all week.

FACEBOOK: Rose City Reader has a Facebook page where I post about new and favorite books, book events, and other bookish tidbits, as well as link to blog posts. I'd love a "Like" on the page! You can go to the page here to Like it. I am happy to Like you back if you have a blog or professional Facebook page, so please leave a comment with a link and I will find you.

TWITTER, ETC: If you are on Twitter, Google+, or other social media, please post using the hash tag #BookBeginnings. I try to follow all Book  Beginnings participants on whatever interweb sites you are on, so please let me know if I have missed any and I will catch up.

TIE IN: The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice is a natural tie in with this event and there is a lot of cross over, so many people combine the two. The idea is to post a teaser from page 56 of the book you are reading and share a link to your post. Find details and the Linky for your Friday 56 post on Freda’s Voice.



You have in your hands a book that glides gracefully between two standpoints, logical and emotional, illuminating as it does the broad and murky territory in between.

-- from the Foreword, "Headbone and Horemone: Adventures in the Arithmetic Life" by Robert Michael Pyle to Numbers and Nerves: Information, Emotion, and Meaning in a World of Data, essays edited by Scott Slovic and Paul Slovic, published by OSU Press.

As we enter the twenty-first century, many of the important issues that occupy news headlines and capture the attention of world leaders and ordinary citizens require us to use the best available statistical information -- gallons of oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico, numbers of fishermen put out of work by the disaster, billions of dollars made available in an effort to stem the economic damage and compensate the local residents -- to assess various situations and mitigate problems. 

-- from the editors' Introduction "The Psychophysics of Brightness and the Value of a Life."

Information presented in the form of numbers can be overwhelming, especially when we face a daily barrage of statistics, data, models, and projections.

In Numbers and Nerves, journalists, literary critics, psychologists, naturalists, activists, and others explore our cognitive response to quantitative information and offer strategies for overcoming the insensitivity to the meaning of such information.

It's a book to make you think, with a mix of essays that vary in tone between scientific to more contemplative.  Great gift idea for the big thinkers or professorial types on your holiday gift list!

8 Days to Christmas!

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