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The Importance of Innumeracy

Updated: Mar 27

My first post in the “Current and Competent” series is a concept definition. 

Have you made poor decisions because you did not "Do The Math?"

My guess is we all have made poor decisions because we didn't understand the math, or perhaps, because we didn't take the time to "do the math" or to "run the numbers."

What is Innumeracy?

Answer: It is to math what illiteracy is to reading.

The Importance of Innumeracy

The basic concept is that Innumeracy is mathematical illiteracy. It is to math what illiteracy is to reading.  It means you are not purposefully data-driven in your decision-making. You don't usually "do the math" or "run the numbers."

Describes the concept of Innumeracy and asks questions for reflections for the user to think about to better understand the concept.
Current and Competent Series: Innumeracy

I encountered this concept from the Innumeracy book by John Paulos, upon the recommendation of my good friend Scott Truhlar.

Innumeracy: The opposite of mathematical literacy. It's when you are not data driven.

The premise of the book is that even smart, well-educated people: 

* Often misunderstand mathematics and numbers.

* Don’t have an appreciation of the actual likelihoods or probabilities.

* Have blind spots when it comes to decisions that involve quantifying something.

The consequences are that people can:

* Make uninformed decisions

* Be susceptible to irrational fears.

* Unknowingly make irrational decisions because they don’t understand the likelihood or impact.  


At The Nexus Initiative, a core belief is to be data-driven.

In summary, understanding the importance of Innumeracy, and the consequences of a lack thereof, can help you make better decisions.

Some questions to ask yourself the next time you are about to make an important decision.

Did you "do the math?"

Do you need to?

If you want a thought partner on how to be more data-driven in your role, schedule a discovery session. I look forward to talking to you.  

About The Nexus Initiative

The Nexus Initiative is a boutique Executive Coaching and Advisory firm based on real-world operating experience. If you know someone looking for a trusted confidant with real-world operating experience to be their coach, please refer them to our website to set up a discovery call.

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