science | July 27, 2014

The Power of “I Don't Know”: Math Speaker Jordan Ellenberg [VIDEO]

When it comes to problem-solving, there is power in uncertainty—in admitting that you don't know. In a new keynote, Jordan Ellenberg, the bestselling author of How Not to Be Wrong (think Freakonomics for math), looked at everything from Nate Silver's predictions to his own research to explain that making educated guesses is tough work, even when you have data and hard figures. Stepping back and saying you're not sure is just as useful for finding answers. Not being sure is an action. We should keep probing and, more importantly, keep asking the right questions. "What I learned was that the answer to a math question is not always a number,” Ellenberg told the audience. “Sometimes the answer is 'I don't know.' Not 'Yes', not 'No', but 'I don't know'. That's the answer to a lot of the most interesting and important questions." Watch the full video above.

In his keynotes, Ellenberg shows us how math affects us all, 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. To book Jordan Ellenberg as a speaker for your next event, contact The Lavin Agency.