Mathematics: A Very Short Introduction, Paperback Book
4.5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


The aim of this book is to explain, carefully but not technically, the differences between advanced, research-level mathematics, and the sort of mathematics we learn at school.

The most fundamental differences are philosophical, and readers of this book will emerge with a clearer understanding of paradoxical-sounding concepts such as infinity, curved space, and imaginary numbers.

The first few chapters are about general aspects of mathematical thought.

These are followed by discussions of more specific topics, and the book closes with a chapter answering common sociological questions about the mathematical community (such as "Is it true that mathematicians burn out at the age of 25?") ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area.

These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly.

Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 160 pages, 1 halftone and numerous figures
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Mathematics
  • ISBN: 9780192853615



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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

An introduction to what mathematics is about and how mathematicians think rather than to mathematics itself. Excellent account. As follow-up Davis/Hersh: Mathematical Experience and Couturat/Robbins are recommended.

Review by

A quick and easy read. Gowers manages to navigate the complex math well enough to provide the core insights of the topics without getting bogged down in technical details that trip up less mathematically savy readers. But it never feels like he is glossing over too much material either. This makes a nice supplement to other nontechnical introductory texts on math.