Thinking In Numbers: How Maths Illuminates Our Lives
- Hodder & Stoughton General Division
- Publication Date:
- 16 August 2012
- Popular Science
Showing 1-2 out of 2 reviews.
Between the author's and the abridger's attempts to make a dry abstract subject interesting for the lay reader, I found the concentration on surface details frustrating.<br>In the end it does convey the mystery and awe of mathematics, a little of what mathematicians do and why men and women feel passionate about abstractions like numbers.<br><br>I'm listening to a spoken audio adaptation abridged by Kirsteen Cameron.<br>In contrast to the author, I can think of English special-purpose names for small numbers e.g. pair, couple, triplets.<br><br>I'm not sure that the question <i>how many number words does a language possess?</i> is well posed. It may be difficult or impossible to decompose expressions into semantic units (words) in a language you are unfamiliar with.<br><br>If language is creative (so any new concept can be given a new name) what does it mean to say "<i>This language has no word(s) for concept X</i>."? Is the author merely indexing the size or curiosity of speaker populations?<br><br>The essay on teaching sounds more earnest.<br><br>An argument can be made top-down with the conclusion followed by the premises which are supposed to provide necessary and sufficient support for that conclusion, or vice-versa: premises followed by the conclusion.<br><br>A top-down argument is easier to understand (if the premises are simple enough) because the conclusion, read before the premises, provides context - making it easy to interpret each premise.<br><br>Perhaps the abridged essay presents a conclusion at the end, I found the stories aimless and wasn't sure why there were anecdotes about individuals until then. This essay conveyed the author's discovery that different people use numbers for different purposes.<br><br>
This was, without let or hindrance, without qualification or hint of doubt, the most fatuous book that I have read all year.marketed as an analysis of the ways in which mathematics affects all our lives, this is in fact a series of mindless essays based around contrived and extremely tenuous connections. Tammet seems to find huge significance in the fact that he is one of nine children in his family, there are nine months in the years whose names do not start with a J and that, until Pluto's recent demotion, there were nine planets in our solar system. Scarcely Trismegistian in its cosmological impact, and i hope you will forgive me for being entirely underwhelmed!I was also struck by how poorly written this book was, to the extent that i was amazed that any publisher would countenance having it on their lists. Indeed, I would have been surprised to see any of these essays making it into the average school magazine. I have been trying to find something positive to say about it but am really rather stumped. ... Oh, yes, the cover was a nice shade of blue. That's really all I can manage!
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