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One to Nine: The Inner Life of Numbers

2.99  ·  Rating Details ·  150 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
Andrew Hodges, one of Britain’s leading biographers and mathematical writers, brings numbers to three-dimensional life in this delightful and illuminating volume, filled with illustrations, which makes even the most challenging math problems accessible to the layperson. Inspired by millennia of human attempts to figure things out, this pithy book, which tackles ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published May 17th 2008 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published September 6th 2007)
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Daniel Messer
May 09, 2009 Daniel Messer rated it it was ok
I was so bummed about this one. It looked really good and I love the history of mathematics. But it seemed so haphazardly written, like facts thrown on a page. There were times I thought I was missing something, so I'd go back and re-read a paragraph to find that no, I hadn't missed anything. There were times that the ideas were disjointed and there didn't seem to be much connectivity.

Too bad. It looked so good.
Monte
Apr 17, 2009 Monte rated it liked it
Shelves: science-math
A frank acknowledgment that anything I wrote was bound to resemble Constance Reid's seminal From Zero to Infinity doesn't stop mathematician and biographer Hodges (Alan Turing: The Enigma) from boldly launching into his own rather disjointed explanation of the place of the numbers one through nine in mathematics and (primarily Western) culture. Pop culture references and political topics such as global warming, presumably meant to make terms like quantum of existence a little less scary to the ...more
Sean Maguire
Jan 01, 2010 Sean Maguire rated it really liked it
Shelves: math
A great romp through the integers, with plenty of side trips and quizzes available for those even more mathematically inclined than I. And who knew that Queen guitarist Brian May (who even knew the name of a Queen guitarist) was an astrophysicist who interrupted his studies to play in a band and recently completed his PhD? And took over from Cherie Blaire as chancellor of some UK university. But I digress. This was a great refresher for anyone who has temporarily misplaced their regard for the ...more
Heron
Feb 14, 2009 Heron rated it it was ok
Ugh. Couldn't finish it. I love math and I love books - why would I hate a book about math? Oh yeah, cause it's not about math - it's about the pop science and pseudo-history of numbers. Leave it.


UPDATE: So I accidentally kept reading this book (it was on my bedside table) and I'm amending my review. It got a LOT more mathy as I read further. Too mathy. Like complicated imaginary number equation mathy. Still bad, but not one-star bad.
M
Jul 29, 2010 M rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
One to Nine is a stream of consciousness about everything relating to numbers: the numbers themselves, the history of their discovery, computers, algorithms, the universe, theoretical physics, science, climate change, and the relevance of mathematical thought and learning to modern society. Especially with that last point, it isn't strictly about the numbers one to nine, but it's interesting. I found a lot of misprints, even with the math problems.
Ben Babcock
This is perhaps the first time I have condemned a book for its concept but applauded it for its content. Writing a book that examines the integers 1 to 9 on a per-chapter basis is just silly. It's also impossible; the properties of these numbers are inextricably bound up in the properties of all other numbers. Andrew Hodges knows this, and indeed makes no attempt to conceal the fact that the structure of this book is a lie. In each chapter, Hodges gleefully digresses into topics that have only ...more
Aries
Aug 01, 2012 Aries rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abbandonati
Nella mia carriera di lettore c'è sempre stato un punto quasi totalmente fermo.
Per quanto potessi non gradire un libro, per quanto potesse stufarmi, non sono mai arrivato al punto di abbandonarlo, salvo forse una volta: è sempre stata una questione di principio, unita al desiderio di farmi l'idea completa del libro senza potermi domandare se magari in seguito migliorasse.
Orbene, tutte le regole hanno un'eccezione e la mia è giunta proprio in questi giorni: "Il curioso dei numeri", di Andrew Hodg
...more
Maurizio Codogno
(se vuoi una mia recensione più seria di questo libro, va' su Galileo, http://www.galileonet.it/recensioni/1... !)
Un Vero Matematico non deve necessariamente usare i numeri irrazionali, immaginali o surreali (anche se sono divertenti, una volta che uno riesce a capire come si formano). Kronecker asserì che "i numeri interi provengono da Dio, tutto il resto è opera dell'uomo": ma anche solo con i numeri da uno a nove c'è già materiale assolutamente a sufficienza, come Andrew Hodges mostra in que
...more
Sarah Sammis
Dec 10, 2010 Sarah Sammis rated it it was ok
I remember hearing about One to Nine: The Inner Life of Numbers by Andrew Hodges. I want to say I heard it on KQED, my local public radio station but I'm having trouble verifying my memory. I know it was an extended review that I heard somewhere was the reason behind me adding it to my wishlist. As I am married to a math professor and have a calculus teacher mother in law and, frankly, like math, I had to read the book.

The book has a chapter devoted to a different number, the first nine natural
...more
St Fu
Jan 24, 2015 St Fu rated it it was amazing
OK, it's unfair of me to be rating and reviewing this book which I've just started but seeing all the negative reviews on this list disturbed me and forced my hand. Yes, it's sometimes more free-associative (in the psychoanalytic sense, not some mathematical sense involving associative laws) than is typical for a non-fiction ouvre, but this isn't a negative from my perspective. I find it freeing and exciting. It doesn't talk down to the reader, bringing up deep philosophical considerations (yes, ...more
Ron
Jul 13, 2008 Ron rated it liked it
Each chapter was supposed to be about a specific number. However, it wasn't always easy to keep in mind how the number related to the subject. For example, RSA encryption is covered in chapter 8, which is dependant on Prime Numbers, and obviously eight is not prime.

However, I did enjoy the breadth and depth of this book in covering the math and physics and computer science details covered in the book. But I would have preferred more common history for each number, like the brief sentance in chap
...more
Antonio Plastini
Che dire... troppa carne al fuoco.
Mi aspettavo qualcosa di più "semplice", anche perché ritrovarsi
al centro della teoria dei twistori è un po' sentirsi naufraghi in un mare in tempesta.
Spicca ogni tanto qualche stilettata al sistema scolastico inglese (vedesse
quello italiano!) per non parlare delle ridicolaggini dei media che, in Inghilterra
come in Italia, hanno il simpatico vizio di parlare di cose che non comprendono.
In definitiva il libro lo si può definire "godibile", anche se ogni tanto
...more
Caitlin
Mar 18, 2014 Caitlin rated it did not like it
The author knows a little about a lot. This clever-esque book devotes a chapter to each number 1- 9, but I didn't learn a thing about anything. Other than, that is, how smug the author was about dropping references to some obscure mathematical/physics/philosophical topic with every new sentence.

This book would be a lot of fun if you had the exact same knowledge base as the author. But, for everyone else, the references aren't explained for the most part, and the book quickly becomes a non-illum
...more
Aaron Humphrey
I was expecting a bit of a light-hearted romp through the numbers. While it does wander a bit, and makes a bizarre number of Pet Shop Boys references (and mentions of climate change), it does settle down once a chapter or so for a not-completely-superficial examination of a topic free-associated to by the number of that chapter. Which topics include particle physics, probability theory, number theory (overlapping with, and even referencing, the Marcus du Sautoy book I read the week before), and ...more
Riccardo
Dec 11, 2014 Riccardo rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Adori un libro quando, a venti pagine dalla fine, decidi che non ne puoi proprio pi e lo butti nel cestino.

In realt non spazzatura perch contiene alcuni spunti interessanti. Tipo, cinque frasi in tutto il libro. Per per il resto il classico libro divulgativo scritto da chi invece non sa divulgare: capitoli che dovrebbero essere dedicati a un numero (e di roba da dire ce n' un sacco) che invece divagano sul nulla, perch quando si cita qualcosa senza spiegarlo di nulla si tratta, solamente perch
...more
John
Feb 17, 2009 John added it
This book never seemed to know its audience. There were countless references to Desperate Housewives, and Pet Shop Boys, which seemed to be a nod to the average layperson who doesn't know much about math, but then a lot of the math was completely over my head. Which is understandable because I don't know much about math, but often times the mathematics was not clearly explained.
Also, there were more than a few typos and such, which makes me wonder about the accuracy of the math. Not that I'd kno
...more
Liz De Coster
Oct 26, 2013 Liz De Coster marked it as abandoned
Shelves: nonfiction
I stuck with this book for a while, but into the Third section I realized that the constant use of Sudoku as a mathematical comparison was not going to fade with the book, and I bailed. I just didn't find the book interesting - most sections (within the chapter) lasted a page or two at most, so it was hard to keep track of what was going on. There wasn't really anything that pulled me in or grabbed me, nor did I find what I read very informative.
Lane Wilkinson
Sep 18, 2009 Lane Wilkinson rated it liked it
Shelves: mathematics
A fairly interesting meditation on the integers 1 through 9. Though, by 'meditation' I mean an unstructured, free-association between many disparate thoughts rather than a concerted effort. For those who are interested in the trivia, oddities, and bizarre connections among the numbers, the various Wikipedia pages are more informative. But, for a reasonably entertaining read, One to Nine is all right.
Steven Feeney
Nov 07, 2010 Steven Feeney rated it did not like it
A rambling collection of chapters which refers to constant in-jokes about random subject matter barely related to numbers or maths.

The style of prose can border on condescending but it smashes together haphazard references to Chess, Pet Shop Boys, Bach and countless other items.

Poorly written, poorly executed but a good concept.
Dave Guia
Mar 11, 2014 Dave Guia rated it it was ok
I like mathematics, but not enough to be swooped up into the laborious formulas and theories that the author puts us through. Way too advanced for a guy like me. On a scale of one to nine...I'd give it a 22/7...
Jennifer
Dec 12, 2012 Jennifer rated it it was ok
Shelves: gave-up-on
This book has some very interesting parts, but is so disjointed that I'm finding it really difficult to get through. Not at all what I expected from a book about math. If it were called "A Whole Bunch of Observations about Math and the World," I might have gotten past the first chapter.
Kelley Jones
Nov 24, 2013 Kelley Jones rated it did not like it
Had trouble getting into and finishing this book. Some of what he had to say was interesting, but the writing style was disjointed and distracted from the material. He also spent a disproportionate amount of time referencing other books of the same subject. Too bad, a nice concept.
Konrad
Getallen beheersen ons leven. Ze verwijzen naar verschillende dingen. Maar wat zijn ze eigenlijk? En wat vertellen ze over ons en over ons wereld?



Ik ben net begonnen te proberen te ontdekken wat ik tot nu toe op moeilijke wijze begrepen heb.
Ivanwiranata
Ivanwiranata rated it really liked it
Nov 24, 2015
Sean Hodgins
Sean Hodgins rated it it was amazing
Apr 05, 2014
Vorbis
Vorbis rated it did not like it
Jun 07, 2012
Tim
Tim rated it liked it
Apr 28, 2013
Jason
Jason rated it it was ok
Dec 13, 2009
Bahrun Nur
Bahrun Nur rated it really liked it
Oct 12, 2015
Michael
Michael rated it did not like it
Jul 10, 2011
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A mathematician, an author and an activist in the gay liberation movement of the 1970s.
Since the early 1970s, Hodges has worked on twistor theory which is the approach to the problems of fundamental physics pioneered by Roger Penrose.
He is a Tutorial Fellow in mathematics at Wadham College, Oxford University.[3] Having taught at Wadham since 1986, Hodges was elected a Fellow in 2007, and was appoi
...more
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