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How Long is a Piece of String?

More hidden mathematics of everyday life

Rob Eastaway

Jeremy Wyndham



ISBN: 9781861056252

Price: £7.99

Publication date: 1 September 2008

ISBN: 9781911622260

Price: £ 9.99

Publication date: 15 April 2021

A fascinating book, from a leading maths educator and demystifier, that shows how maths is relevant to our everyday lives. 

Have you ever wondered how the meter in a taxi works? Or why a lift takes so long to respond to your call? Is there a mathematical secret to making a hit single? And how long is a piece of string? In this fascinating book you will find the answers to these and many other intriguing questions of everyday life. Discover the astonishing ‘37% rule’ for blind dates, how to avoid the gentleman’s urinal, and some extraordinary scams that people have devised to get rich quick. Here you will also find the origins of the seven-day week and the seven-note scale, an explanation of why underdogs sometimes win, some clever techniques for detecting fraud, and the reason why epidemics sweep across a nation and disappear just as quickly.

How Long is a Piece of String? is the perfect book for anyone who is curious about the way in which maths underlies so much in our everyday lives. Whatever your mathematical ability level, you will find this book informative, thought-provoking and, most of all, fun.

Word count: 35,000


Rob Eastaway is a writer, speaker and consultant. His books include the bestselling What is a Googly? (9781861056290) and Why Do Buses Come In Threes? (9781861058621). He jointly devised the system now used to officially rank international cricketers and lives in London, where he is a keen weekend cricketer and occasional golfer.



Jeremy Wyndham is the managing director of a leading market research company. He lives in London.