ASSOCIATES (vol. 3, no. 2, November 1996) -

Table of contents

                    *Everyday Math For Dummies*

                        Charles Seiter, Ph.D.
                         RHR International
                        ISBN 0-8144-0287-9

                           Reviewed By
                         Dr. Bob Farnsworth
                   Senior Library Technical Assistant
                    University of North Florida Library

"MATH"--Does the very word send chills up and down your spine?
Do you find yourself grasping frantically in the air for a
calculator?  Well, here's a book that can help to (as the cover
tells us) "conquer math anxiety."  The author, Charles Seiter,
Ph.D. wrote (according to the biography section) his first "math
book at the age of ten.  It was a cartoon guide to calculus that
was used as part of a junior-college math course."

The first thing you will notice--right inside the front cover--is
a perforated page that you can remove--and keep handy for instant
reference.  Among the many bits of information on it are basic
rules for volumes and areas, a reference for tipping in
restaurants, and fast suggestions for everything from playing
poker to figuring out mortgage payments.  And that's only the
first page of this book!

There are five basic sections to the book--each section written
in a clear (and often humorous) manner that lets you know the
author knows what it's like to be less than skillful in Math.
Yet with each page you also get the feeling that he's encouraging
you to forget about your past problems and to look at Math in a
new and less defensive way.

There is, as in the other "Dummies" books, a wealth of cartoon
commentaries.  Plus there are more cartoons that are dropped in
to help you to relieve some of the anxiety you may feel as you
start to spend more time seeing the various ideas that Dr. Seiter
presents.  Again and again we are shown various math tricks for
things that seem almost insurmountable (Chapter One, for example,
has some great ideas on managing that super Math challenge--the

For those who have a hard time--or just get tired--reading the
printed word, there are many, many tables and illustrations that
help to clarify all the points in the book.  Things that have
always been a bit confusing are given extra space and extra
drawings to make the situation more understandable and more

Yes..I did say "more enjoyable"!  The author obviously feels that
Math isn't necessarily a punishment.  Rather, he spends a lot of
time just begging you to see his point of view--Math can be
educational and fun at the same time.  One example of this is
seen in his "Fun Facts" sections.  One such thought (in the
section on Gambling):  Did you know "You were a hundred thousand
times more likely to die this year than to win the lottery?"

If you're starting to feel just a bit more comfortable with
things mathematical, you might want to check out a section called
"Ten Fast, Silly Number Tricks".  This section also has short
games and riddles.  For example, in "The Latest from 1600 B.C."
we are given the following riddle:  "If each of seven houses has
seven cats, and the seven cats are each served by seven mice, and
each of the seven mice is hoarding seven ears of grain, and each
grain has seven kernels, how many kernels of grain do you have?"
(The answer is "823,543"--but you'll have to read the book to see
how it's determined--a very simple formula.)

So take some time to check the contests of _Everyday Math for
Dummies_.  It's one book that you can really enjoy while you're
learning or reviewing all sorts of practical applications.  To
quote the introductory section..."Even if you had your math
confidence surgically removed in high school, _Everyday Math for
Dummies_ can replace it!"