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Numbers Rule:
The Vexing Mathematics of Democracy, from Plato to the Present
George G. Szpiro

Book Description | Table of Contents
Chapter 1 [in PDF format]


"In Numbers Rule, mathematician and journalist Szpiro presents a refreshingly different presentation of the mathematics of voting and apportionment. . . . The mathematical content is not trivial, and it is well written, very clear, and should be accessible to readers with an understanding of arithmetic and a willingness to play with numbers."--Choice

"Highly entertaining. . . . Anybody who has ever decried election results will be fascinated in Szpiro's accessible explanations of the paradoxes and enigmas that occur in all methods of election, from electing a pope in Rome, to apportionment of seats in the Congress by our founding fathers to ensure justice for all, even the minority."--Phil Semler, Sacramento Book Review>

"The author skillfully placed the development and evolution of the Social Choice theories in a broad historical context. The book shines in weaving the emergent math theories with historical circumstances. . . . [E]njoyable and informative."--Alexander Bogomolny, Cut the Knot

"Szpiro's book is a highly recommended good read on the history of the problems, which could illuminate a seminar series on the issues."--Ron Johnston, Environment and Planning

"It is an excellent addition to a growing body of literature that aims to convey ideas from the mathematical sciences to general audiences. Moreover, Szpiro's book is unique among other offerings in the mathematical social sciences in that it focuses on the historical development of the field. The narrative is engaging, witty, and easy to read."--Jonathan K. Hodge, Notices of the AMS

"George Szpiro's Numbers Rule does not break any new ground in the field of social choice theory, but it is probably the most entertaining book one is likely to find on the subject. . . . [A]ll social choice theorists should read this book. . . .Szpiro's book is ideally suited to be a supplementary reading for graduate classes in social choice theory."--Justin Buchler, Public Choice


"'Which candidate is the people's choice?' It's a simple question, and the answer is anything but. In Numbers Rule, George Szpiro tells the amazing story of the search for the fairest way of voting, deftly blending history, biography, and political skullduggery. Everyone interested in our too-fallible elections should read this book."--William Poundstone, author of Gaming the Vote: Why Elections Aren't Fair (and What We Can Do about It)

"Writing a book for a general audience on voting and electoral systems is a daunting task, but Szpiro succeeds admirably. He completely avoids technical jargon and focuses on the most important scholars and results in the field. This book fills a gap in the existing literature."--Hannu Nurmi, author of Voting Procedures under Uncertainty

"Numbers Rule focuses on key figures in the development of democracy and on the mathematics of voting, elections, and apportionment that they developed. Szpiro pays particular attention to the paradoxes that arise, and discusses them through examples."--Steven J. Brams, New York University

"Numbers Rule is very thoroughly researched and quite well written. The story Szpiro tells is both important and interesting. The most significant contribution this book makes is in the detailed history that it presents. It will have broad appeal."--Alan D. Taylor, coauthor of Mathematics and Politics

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File created: 4/21/2017

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