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Mathematics: A Practical Odyssey 8th Edition

David B. Johnson | Thomas A. Mowry

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MATHEMATICS: A PRACTICAL ODYSSEY, 8th Edition demonstrates mathematics' usefulness and relevance to students' daily lives through topics such as calculating interest and understanding voting systems. Well known for its clear writing and unique variety of topics, the text emphasizes problem-solving skills, practical applications, and the history of mathematics, and unveils the relevance of mathematics and its creative human aspect to students. To offer flexibility in content, the book contains more information than might be covered in a one-term course. In addition, the chapters are independent of each other, further enabling instructors to select the ideal topics for their courses.

David B. Johnson, Diablo Valley College

David Johnson earned a Bachelor's degree in Mathematics and a Bachelor's degree in Psychology (with an emphasis on Learning Theory), from the University of California at Santa Cruz, and a Master's degree in Mathematics from the University of California at Berkeley. After several years working as an academic counselor at Berkeley, he became a Professor of Mathematics at Diablo Valley College (DVC). He has taught DVC's liberal arts math course regularly for about 25 years, using Mathematics a Practical Odyssey. Other favorite courses include Intermediate Algebra, all three semesters of Calculus, and Differential Equations.

Thomas A. Mowry, Diablo Valley College

Thomas Mowry earned a Bachelor's degree and a Master's degree in Mathematics from Michigan Technological University, in Houghton, Michigan. He began his college teaching career at City College of San Francisco and then went on to teach at San Francisco State University, Golden Gate University, and Cogswell College. He has been a professor of mathematics at Diablo Valley College, Pleasant Hill, California since 1985, where he has taught the complete gamut of courses from arithmetic to differential equations. He has served as department chair at DVC for the last seven years. Along with co-author, David Johnson, he created a college-level, transferable mathematics course (at DVC ) designed for students in the liberal arts. As no appropriate textbooks were available for this course, he and David created Mathematics: A Practical Odyssey, which was first published in 1992.

WebAssign is a flexible and fully customizable online instructional solution that puts powerful tools in the hands of teachers, enabling you to realize your teaching goals and instantly assess individual student performance to help students learn math, not just do online homework.

  • Accessible: This book has a reader-friendly style: the examples are well constructed, with easy-to-follow steps; key points are boxed for emphasis; and the discussions provided in the exposition demonstrate the utility of the content.
  • Flexible: The text offers an assortment of content to choose from. The chapters are independent of each other so instructors can select the ideal topics for their courses.
  • Biographical: The history of the subject matter is interwoven throughout most chapters, allowing students to see the human side of mathematics. In addition, "Historical Notes" give in-depth biographies of prominent people whose contributions relate to the topics at hand.
  • For Added Enrichment: Projects and Hands On activities actively engage students, providing opportunities to try something first-hand or perform open-ended research.
  • Aesthetic: The textbook is beautifully illustrated. Art, photos, and fine art have been carefully selected. Color is also carefully used to enhance the pedagogy in figures and examples, helping to convey the mathematics and elevating students' understanding of the material.
  • Meaningful: The variety of applications-oriented examples and exercises connect the material to the real world. The "Topic X. . .in the Real World" features incorporate specific chapter material into a real-world context, reinforcing the book's practical emphasis..

Mathematics: A Practical Odyssey


Deductive versus Inductive Reasoning. Symbolic Logic. Truth Tables. More on Conditionals. Analyzing Arguments. Deductive Proof of Validity.
Sets and Set Operations. Applications of Venn Diagrams. Introduction to Combinatorics. Permutations and Combinations. Infinite Sets.
History of Probability. Basic Terms of Probability. Basic Rules of Probability. Combinatorics and Probability. Expected Value. Conditional Probability. Independence; Medical Tests and Genetics.
Population, Sample, and Data. Measures of Central Tendency. Measures of Dispersion. The Normal Distribution. Polls and Margin of Error. Linear Regression.
Simple Interest. Compound Interest. Annuities. Amortized Loans. Annual Percentage Rate with a TI-Calculator's TVM Application. Payout Annuities.
Voting Systems. Methods of Apportionment. Flaws of Apportionment.
Place Systems. Addition and Subtraction in Different Bases. Multiplication and Division in Different Bases. Prime Numbers and Perfect Numbers. Fibonacci Numbers and the Golden Ratio.
Perimeter and Area. Volume and Surface Area. Egyptian Geometry. The Greeks. Right Triangle Trigonometry. Linear Perspective. Conic Sections and Analytic Geometry. Non-Euclidean Geometry. Fractal Geometry. The Perimeter and Area of a Fractal.
A Walk through Köningsberg. Graphs and Euler Trails. Hamilton Circuits. Networks. Scheduling.
Review of Exponentials and Logarithms. Review of Properties of Logarithms. Exponential Growth. Exponential Decay. Logarithmic Scales.
Review of Matrices. Review of Systems of Linear Equations. Markov Chains and Tree Diagrams. Markov Chains and Matrices. Long-Range Predictions with Markov Chains. Solving Larger Systems of Equations. More on Markov Chains.
Review of Linear Inequalities. The Geometry of Linear Programming. Introduction to the Simplex Model.[online section only] The Simplex Method: Complete Problems. [online section only]
13. THE CONCEPTS AND HISTORY OF CALCULUS. [online chapter only]
Review of Ratios, Parabolas, and Functions. The Antecedents of Calculus. Four Problems. Newton and Tangent Lines. Newton on Falling Objects and the Derivative. The Trajectory of a Cannonball. Newton and Areas. Conclusion.
A. Using a Scientific Calculator.
B. Using a Graphing Calculator.
C. Graphing with a Graphing Calculator.
D. Finding Points of Intersection with a Graphing Calculator.
E. Dimensional Analysis.
F. Body Table for the Standard Normal Distribution.
G. Answers.

"A thorough, easy reading, liberal arts text that covers the major topics in good detail; has an ample selection of exercises and examples; and includes several additional topics that can be covered if desired."

"I think that the order of the sections is very distinct. It was one of the main reasons that we initially chose the book because the first 5 chapters were our exact course. I also think that it is more cohesive than other texts. Other publishers seems to just stick in new chapters from edition to edition without making sure the notation is the same or the vocabulary is the same, one of the nicest differences about this book is that it just feels like a lot of thought was put into it."

Cengage provides a range of supplements that are updated in coordination with the main title selection. For more information about these supplements, contact your Learning Consultant.


PowerPoint® with Image Library Instructor's Web Site

ISBN: 9781305266391

Cengage Learning Testing, powered by Cognero Instant Access

ISBN: 9781305266384
: Cengage Learning Testing Powered by Cognero® is a flexible, online system that allows you to author, edit, and manage test bank content; create multiple test versions in an instant; and deliver tests from your LMS, your classroom or wherever you want. This is available online at

Student Solutions Manual

ISBN: 9781305108639
This manual contains worked-out solutions to all of the odd-numbered exercises in the text, giving you a way to check

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