Jordan Ellenberg

Math is the science of not being wrong. It touches everything we do.

Author of How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking

Request Booking Info
Jordan Ellenberg | Author of How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking
Lavin Exclusive Speaker

How early should you get to the airport? Why do tall parents have shorter children? What’s the best way to get rich playing the lottery? In his “refreshingly lucid” (The New York Times) bestseller How Not to Be Wrong, Jordan Ellenberg shows us how math touches everything we do, in the same way that Freakonomics brought economics into the popular discourse. He unveils the hidden beauty and logic of the world and puts math’s power in our hands—in business and in life. 

“Like Lewis Carroll, George Gamow, and Martin Gardner before him, Jordan Ellenberg shows how mathematics can delight and stimulate the mind. But he also shows that mathematical thinking should be in the toolkit of every thoughtful person—of everyone who wants to avoid fallacies, superstitions, and other ways of being wrong.”

— Steven Pinker

Math, as Jordan Ellenberg says, is “an atomic-powered prosthesis that you attach to your common sense, vastly multiplying its reach and strength.” Math helps every kind of thinker think better—it hones our intuition, sharpens our judgment, tames uncertainty, and lets us see the deeper structure and logic of our world. The Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor of Mathematics at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, Ellenberg is the author of two books: How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking, and The Grasshopper King, which was a finalist for the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award.


Ellenberg has held an NSF-CAREER grant and an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, and in 2013 he was named one of the inaugural class of Fellows of the American Mathematical Society. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, Wired, The Believer, and the Boston Globe, and he is the author of the “Do the Math” column in Slate. His Wired feature story on compressed sensing appeared in the Best Writing on Mathematics 2011 anthology.    


“Jordan Ellenberg was great, funny, warm on stage, and he was very well received. Our clients and colleagues were all very happy with him and his presentation. Hoping to do this again with him very soon. Thanks for all your help in making this booking happen.”

Drury Entertainment Group

Speech Topics

Innovation & Creativity
How Not to Be Wrong The Power of Mathematical Thinking

The math we learn in school can seem like a dull set of rules, laid down by the ancients and not to be questioned. In this talk, Jordan Ellenberg shows us how wrong this view is: Math touches everything we do, allowing us to see the hidden structures beneath the messy and chaotic surface of our daily lives. It’s a science of not being wrong, worked out through centuries of hard work and argument. Drawing from history as well as the latest theoretical developments, Ellenberg demonstrates that profound mathematical ideas are present whenever we reason, from the commonplace to the cosmic. And, he shows how to use this knowledge in our lives, whether you’re a business looking to discover the power of big data, a corporate audience out to improve logic and understanding within your organization, or a college crowd with an appetite for the latest research by one of America’s rising scholarly stars.