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'Guesstimation' Book by Weinstein and Adam Continues To Get Good Reviews

The sophisticated puzzle book by Old Dominion University professors Lawrence Weinstein and John Adam, "Guesstimation: Solving the World's Problems on the Back of a Cocktail Napkin," continues to get media attention several months past its publication date of April.

Science magazine gave the book a positive review in its Aug. 29 issue. "Working out questions like 'How many people are airborne over the U.S. at any given moment?' or "How long a hot dog can be made from a typical cow?' is both entertaining and enlightening-especially if you do so along with friends or your children," wrote Stephen Mertens, a German physicist who was the reviewer.

Other supportive reviews appeared in the August issue of Nature Physics and the September issue of Games magazine.

The paperback book from Princeton University Press costs $19.95 and is available at ODU's University Bookstore and many other book outlets. In 12 chapters and more than 70 "guesstimation" examples, the authors explain how to make useful ballpark estimates by breaking complex problems into more manageable ones. For example, for the problem, "How many circus clowns can fit into a Volkswagen Beetle?" they establish a low bound for the answer (1 clown) and high bound (100 clowns), and then find the approximate geometric mean of those two numbers, 10, which is their guesstimate.

Weinstein is University Professor of physics and Adam is University Professor of mathematics at ODU.

This article was posted on: September 5, 2008

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