MAKING NUMBERS COUNT
I am reading a book.
It is about numbers. Big numbers. Thousands, millions and billions of numbers.
Its premise is that when numbers grow so big it is impossible for our brains to comprehend them. The authors think they have found a way to make it easier for us to understand big numbers.
It’s by way of telling mathematical stories. That’s right stories. But, these are not fairy tales.
As an example they cite Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon. It’s estimated that he is worth $198 Billion dollars! It’s hard to imagine what $198 Billion dollars really is.
To help us, the authors suggest we imagine a staircase. Each step represents $100,000 in the bank. They contend that half of all Americans cannot even make it to the first step. They simply do not have $100,000 in the bank. 90 per cent of all the people in the WORLD could not make the first step. What happens after 4 steps, $400,000? 75 per cent of Americans drop out. By the 10th step? 90 per cent cannot get there. To reach Mr. Bezos’ $198 Billion dollars a person would have to climb nearly… 2 million steps!
That is a big staircase but this story does give us a better understanding of how much $198 Billion really is.
The book is MAKING NUMBERS COUNT, by Chip Heath and Karla Starr.
Understanding numbers. Sometimes it is not as easy as 1-2-3.