How to Read Numbers

We review the second of this year’s nominees for the Book of the Year


Tom Chivers is a science writer. David Chivers is an assistant professor of economics at the University of Durham. How to Read Numbers (Amazon UK, Waterstones) is their book about common statistical misconceptions and mistakes and how to avoid them.


How to Read Numbers is made up of lots of short chapters, each focusing on a different important thing to consider when interpreting data. Each chapter is very readable and enjoyable, and I often found myself thinking “ooh, just one more then” as I reached the end of a chapter.


The concepts in this book are very clearly explained, and related to real examples.


There are quite a few books about topics similar the this one (as there should be, it’s an important topic), but this is a well written and readable one. The conciseness of the explanation of each statistical nugget makes this book particularly suitable for non-mathematicians reading it. But there’s still plenty in there for mathematicians to enjoy.


I’d recommend this book to anyone who wants to improve their confidence when interpreting statistics. Even if your statistical confidence is high, it’s probably worth reading just to be sure: in any case, you’ll at least enjoy it.


You can vote for your favourite book on the Book of the Year shortlist below. The winning book will be crowned the Chalkdust Readers’ Choice. Voting closes at 5pm (BST) on Saturday 16 April.

What is your favourite book on the 2021 Book of the Year shortlist?

  • Maths Tricks to Blow Your Mind by Kyle D Evans (50%, 11 Votes)
  • How To Think About Abstract Algebra by Lara Alcock (23%, 5 Votes)
  • Math Without Numbers by Milo Beckman (9%, 2 Votes)
  • Danny Chung Does Not Do Maths by Maisie Chan (9%, 2 Votes)
  • How to Read Numbers by Tom Chivers & David Chivers (5%, 1 Votes)
  • Weirdest Maths by David Darling and Agnijo Banerjee (5%, 1 Votes)
  • At Sixes and Sevens by Rachel Riley (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 22

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