Ten equations that rule the world - could they work for you?

David Sumpter's The Ten Equations That Rule the World explains the maths that informs IT-driven finance, betting and social media companies. Could we all adopt these principles in our lives too?

shutterstock 385573399 09.10.20 ten equations that rule the world could they work for you nick booth

Algorithms help the rich get richer through automated trading, and make the poor get poorer through online betting. Meanwhile self-esteem is stripped from our children, one Snapchat at a time, by social media publishers who take great pains to shield their own kids from such cynical exploitation. All this might make you rage at the calculating minds driving society’s race to the bottom.

It doesn’t have to be like that, says Maths Professor David Sumpter in a new book, The Ten Equations That Rule The World. By examining these cunning calculations Sumpter aims to let daylight in on these dark arts and empower us. Understanding the equations probably won’t make us rich or influential, but it might bring us the most elusive human resources of all: confidence, health and wellbeing. Or so he claims.

Can a self-help maths book really ‘increase your chance of success’ and help you see through scaremongering?

It did whet my appetite for more knowledge on this subject. I read some chapters several times and I’m no closer to achieving my ambition to command an army of machines. However, I am less nervous about the automated class system that’s developing now. But only slightly.

Each chapter sets the scene for the equation under discussion with an anecdote. So, in that vein, here is my anecdote. I once worked in a betting shop and was horrified at seeing the poor stripped of their money by the rich.

So Chapter 1, The Betting Equation, makes a horrible introduction. But it gets better.  

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