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Use this simple math principle to make better decisions—it’s hiding in plain sight, says bestselling author

By | Natasha Piñon |

Want to make better decisions in your personal life and the workplace? Turn to math, says Hannah Fry.

The British mathematician, bestselling author and host of Bloomberg Media’s “The Future with Hannah Fry” writes and speaks about how simple bits of math can benefit people’s day-to-day lives. There’s a mathematical way of looking “at almost anything,” she tells CNBC Make It.

The trick is getting people to see those connections. “The math you learn in school is so, so different to what the subject actually is,” Fry says. “You leave school with the impression that math is this subject that belongs in dusty textbooks, over there in the nerd corner.” 

Fry’s mission is to change that misconception. She points to one particular mathematical concept — known as the Fermi problem — as a great way to understand how a tiny bit of math can change the way you make decisions.

Highly successful people — from CEOs to other leaders — know how to maximize the information available to them to make high-stakes decisions. Here’s how to do the same, Fry says.

The Fermi problem

The Fermi problem might sound familiar, because it’s become popular in job interviews. Here’s an example: How many piano tuners exist in Chicago?

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